Pakistani short, Rani, heads to Hulu
Pakistani films, still very much at a young stage, compared to other film industries, are now at least being produced at a regular interval, which is a good thing. But, because we seem to be still in early years since the revival, a lot of those big films leave a lot to be desired – even if some of them do make money at the box office.
However, it’s the outliers, who seem to be offering the best in terms of ideas, originality, content and execution.
Last year, it was Asim Abbasi’s Cake that had us stumped, in a good way, from its music to its visual treatment, the acting, cinematography, narrative and direction. It went on to become Pakistan’s official selection for the Oscars 2019.
This year looks even more promising in that sense, with Kamal Khan’s Laal Kabootar – the crime thriller set in the sprawling city of Karachi – starring Ahmed Ali Akbar and Mansha Pasha in lead roles, getting a theatrical release.
While Laal Kabootar makes its appearance later this year, last year’s Pakistani short, Rani, starring transgender actor and LGBTQ activist Kami Sid, is still making waves internationally, even as it prepares for its Pakistan premiere at Karachi Literature Festival, 2019, in March.
The latest accomplishment for Rani is that it is heading to Hulu, one of the big three streaming giants presently in contention to be the best.
The news of Rani heading to Hulu was shared by the film’s director/writer Hammad Rizvi, who wrote on his Facebook page that the film is available in the US territory before thanking NBCU Short Film Festival, NBCUniversal Talent, Infusion Programs, and NBC “for making it happen”.
Rani, jointly produced by GrayScale and Rizvilia Productions, tells the story of the heartbreaking struggles of an underprivileged transgender, essayed by Kami Sid, who makes children’s toys for a living and what happens when she adopts an abandoned baby.
“NBC has a deal with Hulu and the award-winning film from their festival goes to a special section of Hulu website,” said one source close to the film.
Hulu is of course, best-known for its original series, the award-winning dystopian drama, The Handmaid’s Tale.
Speaking to Instep, CEO of GrayScale, Akbar Allana confirmed that the film is indeed heading to Hulu and will be available in the US territory.
As for the future of Rani in Pakistan, Akbar told Instep that while KLF 2019 will host the film’s Pakistan premiere, there is a plan to take the film inside the country. “Yes, we plan to take it to universities and colleges and perhaps cultural centres. We’re, at the moment, in discussion with a few universities but nothing is finalised. What we will do is screen it at four or five universities in Karachi, three to four in Lahore and maybe two in Islamabad.”
He added: “It’s a tentative plan. It all depends whether we can get sponsorship for it or not. Hopefully, we’ll get a sponsor onboard and at least do some of what we’re planning.”
As for what comes next after Rani, said Akbar, “We’re working on a few short films at the moment. They are mainly in development stage; we have two, three scripts we’re working on. Hopefully, at the end of this year, we will start shooting at least one of them.”