Shaan’s Zill e Shah V/S SRK’s Billu

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afridi_hasnat

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Film Fight
Shaan's Zill e Shah takes on the might of Shah Rukh Khan's Billu

By Usman Ghafoor
Lahore

Last year's much touted Shaan-Saima-Noor-starrer Zill e Shah is on its way to creating a record of sorts. It has become the first film in the history of Lollywood to be re-released in cinema houses across the country, within only a few weeks of it completing a (fair-to-middling) run at the ticket windows. What's more, the film's (re)release date - February 13 (today) - has pitched it famously against the Bollywood giant, named Billu starring SRK, Irrfan Khan and Lara Dutta.

Producer Fayyaz Khan (earlier credits include blockbusters like the 1970s' Dubai Chalo and the 80s' Sahib Jee) has the gumption to take on the might of a Shah Rukh Khan biggie, and why not. "Look at what happened to the horde of (Indian) films we screened here amid a great hoo-ha! Just how many of them made money? Only two!" he declared, talking exclusively to Instep Today, on the eve of Zill e Shah's second release.

"Our film was highly appreciated by the audiences as well as the critics, and it collected a sum of Rs 25 lac in its opening week from one mainstream cinema in Lahore alone."

When asked as to why he took the film off theatres in the first place, Fayyaz Khan said, "It was basically because of a dispute with the exhibitors of Gulistan, our main cinema house in Lahore.

"But ever since we took it off, I'd been getting requests from people wanting to watch the film. I didn't expect the word of mouth (about Zill e Shah) to be so great. I just had to screen the film again."

Made on a budget of around two crore rupees, unheard-of for a Punjabi film, Zill e Shah attracted popular attention not much because of its print ads but its promotional videos that ran on the various local TV channels. Shot aesthetically, thanks to actor cum director Shaan, the film instantly generated box office heat. For one thing, the songs are a visual delight, and surely Noor and Saima have never looked better.

Fayyaz is not content with just rave reviews and a local re-release. He has already planned an international premiere for the film. "We're releasing the film in UK on March 6, with six prints. Before that, we're going to have a grand premiere in Manchester for which we'll be flying our lead actors with us."

The excited producer also spoke of a Dubai release sometime later. Plans were underway for Zill e Shah's premiere in Indian Punjab too, but Fayyaz said, it might have to wait.

"The entire post of Zill e Shah was done in Mumbai's famous Adlabs, also one of the world's most expensive production houses. Whoever had a chance to watch the rushes simply loved the film. I was hoping for a grand premiere in India, but I don't know if that will be possible now, given the current political situation between the two countries."

Till the relations between India and Pakistan thaw, Fayyaz is going to be on his toes   traveling abroad and back, fishing for opportunities to create hype for what could be called his magnum opus.

Source:Daily Instep,The News.
Posted 13 Feb 2009

Funny isn't
Posted 14 Feb 2009

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