Expats react to Pakistani action thriller ‘Waar’ after UAE release
The highest-grossing film in Pakistan’s history landed in UAE cinemas over the weekend and has had a mixed reaction from movie fans in the Emirates.
Since the release of ‘Waar’, the film has attracted both money and controversy. It premiered in Pakistan on October 16 and has earned an estimated $2 million to date at the Pakistani box office.
Directed by Bilal Lashari, the action-packed film – which is mostly shot in English – illustrates Pakistan’s rocky relationship with neighbouring India and depicts the message that external aid is being provided to terrorist activities across nuclear-armed Pakistan.
One of the scenes from the movie shows Indian villains partnering with extremists to carry out attacks across Pakistan, but then Pakistani security forces save the day.
Pakistani business analyst Zaid Ahmed, 23, who lives in Dubai, said: “The movie is a bit biased against India. But I’m proud of Pakistan for reviving its film industry. I really enjoyed the movie.
But Indian Dubai resident Viraj Mehta, 24, said: “Movies like this will not be understood by southeastern Asians in the UAE because Pakistanis and Indians grow up here together in a friendly manner.”
Indian filmmaker Ram Gopal Varma praised the film and confessed on Twitter that he watched the movie on a pirated DVD, as the film has not yet been released in India. He also tweeted: “Director Bilal Lashari should do a favour and send copies of ‘Waar’ to all us Indian filmmakers.”
Dubai resident Khadija Syed, from Pakistan, said: “It is the best movie Pakistan has ever shot, but movies like this create difficulties in maintaining peace between the countries. Bollywood has also made controversial films about India and Pakistan, but I don’t think it helps to resolve anything.”
The official facebook page of ‘Waar’, which means “strike”, has more than 200,000 likes and says the film is inspired by true events. Pakistani Dubai resident Farhan Chaudhry commented on the page: “Thanks Bilal Lashari for showing the reality behind some of the terrorist attacks in Pakistan and that the government is still reluctant to take the issue to UN.”
Dubai-based Pakistani expat Farhat Us Saba said the relationship between India and Pakistan is saddening.
“The governments are to blame. If you look at the Indians and Pakistanis living abroad, they are friendly with each other.
“I’m happy that the Pakistani film industry is improving, but I also hope the relations between these two countries improve too.”
‘Waar’ is screening now in UAE cinemas.