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Busan: Pakistan’s Sarmad Sultan Khoosat Starts ‘Kamli’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Pakistani actor/director Sarmad Sultan Khoosat’s next film will be “Kamli.” Principal photography commences this week at locations across Pakistan. Pakistani superstar Saba Qamar (“Hindi Medium”), Sania Saeed (“Manto”) and Hamza Khwaja, star.

“A tragic love story at heart, the film is going to be a fresh mix of a rustic setting captured in a contemporary, universal sensibility,” Khoosat told Variety. “Unlike other films of the genre, ‘Kamli’ is not only going to depict the vibrancy and humour of rural Punjab, but also its poetic lyricism and love-lore in an international film aesthetic.”

A tentative release is set for Summer, 2020. Khoosat Films is producing.

Khoosat’s “Circus of Life” (“Zindagi Tamasha”) had its world premiere at the Busan International Film Festival where it is also nominated for the prestigious Kim Ji-seok award.

Set in Lahore, the film chronicles the chaos that ensues in the life of a staid, devout elderly man when a video featuring him gets uploaded onto social media.

”What was most important to me was exploring the idea of tolerance. Tolerance not just to others (to allow people to exist the way they are) but also tolerance to self – and this is where the concept of shame, need for approval etc. come in to play,” said Khoosat. “I have been in situations where I have felt I should have been more tolerant of others and more accepting of my own self.”

“Circus” will release in Pakistan in January 2020 after its festival run. Speaking about the current state of the Pakistani film industry, Khoosat says, “The misfortune with our industry in the 1980s and 1990s was that it did not cater to a wider audience. But the last two decades have seen a nice variety of films come out, and the revival of Pakistani cinema.

“The mainstream is governed by commerce, but very interesting parallel cinema has also made its space – films like “Moor” (which was screened at Busan as well), “Cake,” “Laal Kabootar,” and even my first film “Manto.” The challenge remains financial support for genres beyond comedy or romance.

Ongoing political tensions with neighbouring India have resulted in the ban of the hugely popular Bollywood films in Pakistan, which has had a knock on effect on the country’s theatrical exhibition industry. “The absence of Indian films has highlighted just how nascent the Pakistani industry still is,” said Khoosat.

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