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‘All mad people came together’ for Pakistan’s The Legend of Maula Jatt—the talk of town

Bad weather, security threats, copyright issues, lawsuits, and finally, Covid—the movie has been a long coming.

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New Delhi: Pakistani film director Younas Malik’s 1979 classic Maula Jatt now has a remake. But it did not come easy. The reboot, called The Legend of Maula Jatt, starring Fawad Khan and Mahira Khan and directed by Bilal Lashari, faced one challenge after another. Bad weather, security threats, copyright issues, lawsuits, and finally, Covid—the movie has been a long coming. And it’s not just Fawad Khan who is the talk of the town. Co-star Hamza Abbasi is also getting his share of the spotlight.

It’s the most hotly anticipated film dominating headlines in Karachi in the countdown to Thursday’s release. “The eventual success of The Legend of Maula Jatt may be a story on its own,” said a headline in Dawn. “[The film] has been in production since January 2017,” the report noted.

Expectations soared after the powerful trailer was released in August 2022.

“He (Fawad Khan) has been an actor who has heightened his exclusivity and stardom by being so selective in his projects, making his fans yearn to see him more on screen,” wrote film critic Ghazala Sulaiman about the actor who has been a charmer in romantic movies.

In an interview with journalist Hamid Mir, Khan revealed that his initial reaction to the aggressive role of Maula Jatt was: “Tum pagal ho! (You are mad).” Lashari further said: “All mad people came together to make this film.”

But Sulaiman was quick to draw the spotlight on Hamza Abbasi, “a powerful actor” who has “sidelined himself from the world of entertainment.”

The Legend of Maula Jatt is surely amongst his last projects that will be unveiled this month,” he writes.

Pakistan-based ASFE World TV, which claims to have watched the film already, was also drawn to Abbasi’s performance. “What kept me captivated throughout the movie was the portrayal of Hamza Ali Abbasi who plays Noori Natt in the movie. He is a scary heartless villain yet the audience would clap during his scenes,” the reporter has said.


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Bad weather, gas explosion

With a team of nearly 500 people, The Legend of Maula Jatt was largely shot between 2017 and 2019.

“Bad weather ruined a big sequence that required every trained horse in the region; then, more bad weather ruined scenes between Fawad Khan and Hamza Ali Abbasi…after they spent hours in make up; and then later still, bad weather delayed a good number of Mahira Khan’s scenes,” according to Dawn. In fact, co-actor Mahira Khan said that one of her most difficult days was shooting in extreme weather.

Next in line were security issues for the stunt team that wasn’t based in Pakistan. In the middle of the shoot, they had to leave Pakistan after a gas explosion. And then came the lawsuit by the producers of the original Maula Jatt.

(Edited by Humra Laeeq)

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