Malala Loves Janaan

Nobel Peace Prize winner praises the Pakistani hit film for positive message

Malala Yousafzai with Ali Rehman Khan and Bilal Ashraf

Monday 19th September 2016, Birmingham, UK – The world’s youngest Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Malala Yousafzai, was full of praise for Pakistani film, Janaan, after seeing it at a special screening in Birmingham attended by the film’s lead actors, Bilal Ashraf and Ali Rehman Khan.

Speaking after the screening, Malala said, “I’m really excited that I saw this beautiful film, Janaan, and I ask all of you to see this film; it has a huge message about girls’ education, about women’s rights, about our Pashtun culture and I’m really proud of it, and it is amazing.”

Honouring Pakistan’s rich heritage in film, the arts and storytelling, Janaan (‘Beloved’ in Pashto) presents a colourful and emotional observation of contemporary Pakistan. Filmed in the breathtaking Swat region among other locations, the film is helmed by a team of young creatives, directed by Azfar Jafri and written by Osman Khalid Butt. Rising stars of Pakistani cinema, Bilal Ashraf, Armeena Rana Khan and Ali Rehman Khan, feature in the lead roles in a film that is emblematic of a burgeoning Pakistani film industry, consistently making waves internationally. The soundtrack by Ahmed Ali, Taha Malik and Bollywood composers, Salim Sulaiman has been dominating the airwaves since release, most notably the title track rendered by Bollywood singing sensation, Armaan Malik, with an unplugged version performed by popular female vocalist, Shreya Ghosal.

Janaan has also set a new precedent for Pakistani cinema in the UK and overseas, breaking previous Box Office records. The film reached number 8 in the UK Box Office Top 10 after its opening weekend – the first time ever that a Pakistani film has reached the UK Box Office Top 10.

In cinemas now, Janaan is presented by IRK Films, Munir Hussain Films – UK (Pepe’s Piri Group) and ARY Films.

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Film synopsis:

Janaan is a romantic comedy that tells the story of Meena (Armeena Rana Khan) who, having lived in Canada for 11 years following the death of her mother, returns to her homeland in Swat, Pakistan for her cousin’s wedding. Meena is initially apprehensive about the trip but simultaneously finds herself missing the family dynamics and unbridled love she had left behind. On reaching Swat, trying to adapt to her ethnic roots leads her into often-hilarious situations.

Meena soon realises that her family is secretly setting her up to marry either one of her cousins: Daniyal (Ali Rehman Khan), a cool Islamabadi boy and mischievous but irresistible charmer; or Asfandyar (Bilal Ashraf), an arrogant Pathan with whom she shares a love-hate relationship. Meena’s family further comprises an assortment of entertaining and colorful characters.

Daniyal flirts with Meena every chance he gets but, despite the bravado, he is innocent at heart, with gentle and subtle character shades revealed as the story progresses. Asfandyar is reserved, blunt and boorish, consistently caught in crossfire of words with Meena. Though they initially appear to be polar opposites, it transpires that the two share much in common. Meena wants to become a teacher, while Asfandyar has set up a school in Swat for underprivileged children. Animosity turns to respect, which, in turn paves the way for love between the two of them. In the months preparing for cousin Palwashay’s wedding, Meena discovers a lot about her family and herself. The journey entrenched in dichotomies that Meena takes forms the crux of Janaan.


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