This Upcoming Pakistani Film Gives A Pretty Scary Look Into The Future

By Arslan Athar | 31 Jan, 2019

Most Pakistani movies follow a particular path. There’s almost always a love story and a struggle between families, eventually resulting in a ‘happily ever after’ ending. It has been very rare to see films in Pakistan go beyond that narrative, however, recently the Pakistani entertainment space has become more adventurous.  We’ve made good strides in female-lead movies and now we’re making our first step in the futuristic, and dystopian line.

Shehr e Tabassum’ is an animated movie that depicts a dystopian future for Pakistan. 

The trailer definitely caught our attention. It shows a Pakistani city, in the future, with massive neon signs and flying rickshaws. 

Source: Shehri Pakistan / Pakistan


The trailer opens with a voiceover telling us that a new law has banned all facial expressions other than smiling. This voice goes on to take pride in this law and how it created such a safe and happy country.

Source: Shehri Pakistan / Pakistan


The trailer ends with a single shot of a watchful, law enforcing robot that we see throughout the trailer, following people almost watching them.

Source: Shehri Pakistan / Pakistan


To find out more, we spoke to the man behind this film, Arafat Mazhar.

Speaking to MangoBaaz, Arafat revealed that the film is a dystopian showing of Pakistan’s future. 

According to Arafat, this movie is to educate the people of Pakistan about the policing nature of the Pakistani state. The Pakistani state has gotten away with a lot of interfering in people’s private lives in the name of national security. The claim often made is that the State says it gives protection, but at what costs? A lot of political thinkers, and the people behind this film see the cost as being the liberties and freedom of an average Pakistani citizen,

Arafat says that a lot of people buy into that idea, the idea that everything the State does, is for the good of the nation. The logical conclusion of such thinking is a government that totally controls the lives of the citizens of the country.

The film aims to raise awareness about the actions of the state and to learn to question these ‘intentions’. 

The film will show how the state’s control affects different people in the country; it will follow their lives, show their feelings and inner thoughts as they’re forced to live in an artificially ‘happy and safe’ Pakistan.

Source: Shehri Pakistan / Pakistan


There are also some interesting things to note in the trailer. 

Arafat pointed out to how a lot of the signage shown in the trailer is made to look similar to Chinese text, representing the influence of Chinese culture in our society that is slowly starting out currently.

Source: Shehri Pakistan / Pakistan


The trailer also features shops that we’re all familiar with, like a naan shop, pharmacy, and a mithai wala too.

Source: Shehri Pakistan / Pakistan

In terms of releasing this film; that’s been planned in two stages. The first being the traditional, premiere and film festival route. 

The second is through Facebook and social media. ‘Shehr e Tabassum’ is a project by ‘Shehri Pakistan’, which aims to teach people about their civil rights and civic duties. According to Arafat, their Facebook page has a dynamic and wide-ranging audience, made up of people from different ends to the political spectrum. By releasing this movie on social media, they hope to engage a large audience, who will interact with the film, and each other and gain a better understanding of the State of Pakistan and what it’s doing.

You can watch the entire trailer here:

Shehr e Tabassum (شہر تبسم) Teaser

It is the year 2071. There have been no reported instances of terrorism or violent crime in over 3 decades in Pakistan. The cost – the systematic subjugation of human emotion.Welcome to Shehr e Tabassum.Inspired by cyberpunk classics like Blade Runner – 1982 and AKIRA as well as classic novels such as 1984 – George Orwell, Shehr e Tabassum is the first of its kind animated Urdu short film set in a dystopian future.This is a teaser for the short film "Shehr e Tabassum" coming soon to your screens.Watch in HD: Director: Isma Gul HasanLead Character Animator: Haseeb RehmanAnimation Team: Zahra Aamer; Arafat Mazhar; Isma Gul HasanBackground Design: Isma Gul HasanMotion Work: Mustafa Kamal; Waleed ZaidiSignage and Typography: Shumyle Haider Inking and Colouring: Ahsan Iftikhar; Momin Masood; Zahra AamerSound: Shahrukh Aslam; Arafat MazharScript: Muhammad Rafay; Rasti FarooqConcept: Ayesha IftikharDirected by: Arafat Mazharfor queries and press:© 2019 Shehr e Tabassum All Rights Reservedہم سال 2071 میں ہیں۔ پچھلے تین عشروں سے دہشت گردی اور تشدد کا کوئی واقعہ رونما نہیں ہوا ہے۔قیمت- انسانی جذبات کی منظم محکومیتشہر تبسم میں خوش آمدید یہ شارٹ فلم سائبرپنک کلاسیکی فلمز جیسا کہ بلیڈ رنر، آکیرا اور ناولز جیسا کہ 1984 سے متاثر ہوکر تیار کی گئی ہے۔ یہ شارٹ فلم اردو کی اپنی نوعیت کی پہلی ایسی فلم ہے جو ایک بدترین اور کڑوے مستقبل کے پس منظر میں بنائی گئی ہے۔

Gepostet von Shehr e Tabassum am Dienstag, 29. Januar 2019


This isn’t your average Pakistani movie. It will force you to think about a lot of things, and promises to make you aware of what is REALLY going on from the side of the State.

What do you think of the ‘Shehr E Tabassum’ trailer?

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Cover Photo Courtesy: Shehri Pakistan / Facebook

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