Bilal Lashari’s “The Legend of Maula Jat,” starring Pakistani superstars Fawad Khan and Mahira Khan, is now officially the highest-grossing Pakistani film of all time.
Produced by Ammara Hikmat’s Encyclomedia and Lashari Films, the film was released on October 13, 2022 and collected $10 million worldwide, including $4.2 million in Pakistan. It surpassed the $3.2 million earned worldwide by the previous record holder “Jawaani Phir Na Ani 2” in 2018.
After Pakistan, the most successful territory for the film is the UK, where it is distributed by Pranab Kapadia of Moviegoers Entertainment. It collected £1.43 million ($1.7 million) in the territory, surpassing 2018’s “Sanju” which took in $1.6 million, making it the highest-grossing South Asian film since “Padmaavat”, which also grossed $2.5 million in 2018. The next highest 2022 earner from South Asia in the UK is “Ponyin Selvan-1” with $1.5 million.
Punjabi-language “The Legend of Maula Jat” is a reboot of Yunus Malik’s 1979 cult classic “Maula Jat”. The cast of this biggest budget film in the history of Pakistani cinema also includes Hamza Ali Abbasi, Humaima Malik, Faris Shafi and Gohar Rashid. The film focuses on the legendary rivalry between local hero Maula Jat (Fawad Khan) and a brutal gang leader Noori Naat (Hamza Ali Abbasir). Mahira Khan plays Mukho, a fiery village woman who is Maula Jat’s romantic interest.
Mahira Khan, who was previously a VJ on MTV Pakistan and starred in the hit series “Humsafar” (2011), has hit several Pakistani films including “Bole” (2011), “Bin Rai” (2015), “Ho Mon” Jahan” (2015), “7 Days in Mohabbat” (2018), “Superstar” (2019) and “Quaid-e-Azam Zindabad” (2022).
“The greatest thing about Mukhor was that she was an empowered woman – she loved fearlessly, her moral compass was so intact, she had integrity and she was fierce,” Khan said. diversity. “It was a huge thing that in today’s ‘Maula Jaat’ its women are very empowered. And I think that’s something that a lot of people asked me before the release, ‘Are we going to see representation of women from the 1970s?’ I said, No, you’re going to see Bilal Lashari’s representation of women.’ I’m glad to be a part of it.”
Khan said that the global positive response to the film was unexpected and was a “typical response” to a good film. The actor’s sentiments were shared by his producer and director.
“What a great journey our film has had since its release. The love and appreciation from the audience has made this 10-year ride worth every moment. It’s great to see people all over the world embracing regional cinema. I hope the success of ‘The Legend of Mawla Jat’ paves the way for Pakistani stories to reach a global audience,” Lashari said. diversity.
Hikmat added: “It is notable for the film to look beyond the sphere of influence of Punjabi cinema. It would be an understatement if I said that the attention the film received, came as a surprise. Yet it felt quite surreal when it received the acclaim and box office success that everyone involved with the film had always dreamed of.”
“The Legend of Mawla Jat” is now awaiting release in Turkey and China. Its global success comes at a time when another Pakistani film, Saim Saeed’s “Joyland,” was acclaimed, made the Oscars’ international feature shortlist with an award-winning debut at Cannes and, after some hiccups, was released in the country. Pakistan.
“Be it ‘Joyland’, ‘Maula Jaat’, the people helming these projects are passionate. They have stories to tell and they are visionaries,” Khan said. “We need more directors, more storytellers, who are telling stories from the heart. The other is The thing we really need is I want to see our government supporting our industry. And this year, we’ve seen that happen.” Earlier this year, the Pakistani government recognized film as an industry, announcing a film fund and major tax breaks.
“Cinemas will open and movies like ‘Maula Jaat’ have doubled, tripled, quadrupled, which are not coming. These may be small, small steps, but they’re going to be really, really big steps eventually,” Khan said. “Netflix and Amazon. – I believe they need to come now because we have amazing content. But before that happens, we can actually release as many short films as possible. We don’t have a digital outlet yet. So we can still do that business and we can still release those short films. can reveal.”
Khan produced with Neena Kashif through their Soul Fry Films “Ek Hai Nigar”, a TV movie based on Pakistan Army General Nigar, South Asia’s first Muslim woman army general; and the cricket-themed series “Barwan Khiladi.”
Next up for Khan as an actor is “Neelofar”, a love story in which he plays a blind woman, which reunites him with his “The Legend of Maula Jat” co-star Fawad Khan, who also produces.
Like Fawad Khan, who had a successful career across the border in India, in Bollywood, Mahira Khan also tasted success with “Raees” (2017) opposite superstar Shah Rukh Khan. However, due to the growing political tension between India and Pakistan, Pakistani actors and musicians were banned from working in India.
“I had the most amazing time working in India. I’m still in touch with a lot of people and there’s a lot of love. Unfortunately, we are easy targets, soft targets, whether we are in Pakistan or India,” said Mahira Khan. “Because we’re artists, and we’re connected by that thread of art, we actually find each other. So we’re trying to look out for each other, more than anything. Even now, we are very careful about what we write on social media. It’s not that we don’t talk to each other. Not that we don’t wish each other a happy birthday. Not that we don’t meet each other in different countries. It’s not – it’s just that we’re actually not just protecting ourselves but protecting each other.”
“Unfortunately, this is politics, this is not a personal matter. At both ends, as long as scapegoats are needed, we will always be there,” Khan added. “But let’s say it gets better. Let’s say there is someone in power who doesn’t use us as easy targets. That must be delightful. Can you just imagine the collaboration? That would be nice.”