Movies Review

Pakistan to See its First Serious Animated Film Shehr-e-Tabassum

After the run of successful children animated films like 3 Bahadur and Legend of Allahyar and Markhor, it looks like the local industry is gearing up in the segment that still holds quite a room for development. Coming up with first-ever serious and rather complicated subject, portrayed through animation, is Arafat Mazhar with his film Shehr-e-Tabassum or City of Smiles.

Based in Pakistan of 2071, Shehr-e-Tabassum is based on the idea of misuse of Islam and future technology by a state that has evil intentions. The film set to release online in February 2020, is looking forward to addressing sensitive issues like freedom of speech, privacy, and surveillance in the upcoming era with the state being the main character.

“Dystopian storytelling is often a device to hold a mirror to society. It helps a filmmaker explore an issue by exaggerating extremes to prove that there are dangerous consequences if a society does not address issues,” said Arafat while talking to Samaa Digital.

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The director added that while animation gave him quite a room to experiment with creativity, the subject might not go down well in the country that still holds uptight views about social issues. Thus the film will be released online in the UK and Pakistan to reach its desired audiences.

“Social media removes many barriers to access that your audience may have,” Arafat added.

Shehr-e-Tabassum is inspired by cyberpunk films like Blade Runner, Akira and George Orwell’s 1984 and will be an extension of Arafat’s previous animated projects in which he touched down upon subjects like legal literacy, governance, and citizenship issues.

Aisha Arshad

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