Pakistani star Meera gears for Bollywood with psycho-thriller 'Hotal'

Pakistani actress Meera in her latest psycho-thriller ‘Hotal’. (Screen grab)

Bollywood is a huge hit internationally, more so across its border to the neighbouring Pakistan. Where the constant political turmoil is instantly wiped away to relish Bollywood finery. A sentiment poignantly captured in the recent drama ‘Filmistaan’.

And, taking those strong emotions one step ahead is filmmaker Khalid Hasan Khan who is set to release the first-ever Bollywood film made in Pakistan.

“Bollywood movies are avidly watched in cinemas and homes in Pakistan. Indian stars like Salman Khan, Akshay Kumar, Katrina Kaif are quite popular among all ages of Pakistan,” says Khan.

Precisely the reason why the filmmaker would’ve felt the need to unite the two countries appetite for Bollywood movies.

Khan tells Emirates24|7 that ‘Hotal’ is “not only the first Bollywood film from Pakistan but also the first psycho-thriller from the country”.

The film, set to be released during Eid, stars Meera, who made her Bollywood debuted in Soni Razdan’s 1995 thriller ‘Nazar’ opposite Ashmit Patel.

The trailer  was launched in Dubai, because of the city’s cultural mix. In fact, the filmmaker is gearing up to film his next project ‘Hotal II’ in Dubai, for which the casting process is already underway.

Khan, who is a film graduate from New York Film Academy, Universal Studios Hollywood, has directed and produced many documentaries before venturing into full-length Hindi feature film.

Apart from Meera, who is a known face in Pakistan and India, the rest of the cast is fairly new. “They are new but a talented bunch of actors.”

Although the film is set in the Indian capital city of Delhi, Khan shot it primarily in Karachi. “I replicated an Indian story board of New Delhi.”

The director had to work hard on replicating the Indian city, and had to repaint a car to make it look like the Delhi cab. The death of one of their actors Anis Raja too proved a roadblock.

The genre also proved challenging for the filmmaker. “Psycho-thrillers greatly depend on the performance of an actor, so I had to enrol the entire cast for rigorous rehearsals for two-months, and even work on their language and diction,” he said.

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