The release of the trailer of Bachaana, Nasir Khan's romantic thriller starring Sanam Saeed and Mohib Mirza, brings a new flavour to the film offerings of 2016.
There's romance, comedy and a dash of action in the film that follows an Indian woman, Aalia (Sanam), and a Pakistani taxi driver, Vicky (Mohib), as their paths cross in Mauritius. They eventually fall in love, we know – but not before shots are fired, punches are thrown and several high-speed chases through various picturesque landscapes ensue. Message received: Bachaana is not just any flick that shows a Pakistani falling for an Indian.
However, the most memorable part of the trailer was the ending dialogue: "Larki Pakistani ho ya Indian, larki larki hoti hai (A girl is a girl whether she is Indian or Pakistani)".
Many couldn't help but draw comparisons with its similarity with the theme of Bajrangi Bhaijaan.
A Pakistani, Indian and an island
The director Nasir Khan elaborated on the film's Pakistan-India angle: "The girl is an Indian Muslim and just like it happens [in real life] as well, the assumption is that when an Indian and Pakistani meet, there are some complications, some preconceived notions — then there is the process of clearing them out and the idea of falling in love. It's a light and entertaining take on this."
The director later on joked that the film was shot in Mauritius not only because of its scenic beauty, but to bind the actors to an island so the project could be finished quickly.
The trailer also hints at the shared culture of the Pak-India region, as Aalia and Vicky mention Afridi and Dhoni, but the film is no Bajrangi Bhaijaan.
Mohib stressed that the film was in the works much before Bajrangi, so the resemblance is an uncanny coincidence. Nasir Khan went on to quip, "Hum larki bari karke wapis karahe hain."
While Mohib Mirza stepped into cinema some years ago with Inshallah (2009), the film will mark the film debut of both Sanam Saeed and Adeel Hashmi.
No longer the funny guy? Adeel Hashmi has a new look
We know Sanam's role is that of a chirpy woman, but it's too early to assume that Adeel will also be tickling our funny bone. Adeel said he was flabbergasted when he read the script.
Speaking about his return to the entertainment industry after being away for some time, Adeel sure is glad to be back:
"Like most of us, I too started with television. I stayed in TV for many years [because] the dynamics of those times [prevented] many actors from stepping into cinema. But in the last three to five years, I have seen a revolutionary shift in cinema and the most positive aspect is the change in our audience. Despite the availability of Indian and Hollywood films, they're opting to go for Pakistani films. This encouraged me to do something too," he shares.
"It was an amazing experience, I had fun but I was scared as well and now I am even more frightened because we're waiting for the verdict. That said, I am sure that the audience will support us just like it has catapulted other films to newer heights," he adds.
But does Adeel ever plan to step into the shoes of a director?
"I think in a year or two, I shall embark on the journey of committing this mistake as well," he laughs.
Films over dramas? Not for Sanam Saeed
While Adeel dips his toes into the film pool, Sanam has signed on to several. Does this mean we won't be seeing her on TV?
"It's good to see films highlighting Pakistan on the map again although dramas did it much earlier. I can't leave TV and I will continue working on projects in television," she said.
She added that most women watched dramas to gain inspiration from the roles written for women and that she wanted to remain a part of that. She explained that the break was much needed because she had done several repetitive roles on TV and might be running the risk of being known as the women "who wears loose clothes, has her braid on the side and wears no makeup.''