The news of first multiplex in Quetta created a buzz in town few months ago, Weplex Pak Force Cinema. It was supposed to launch on March 4th officially. However facing a few delays, the brainchild project of film distributor Jahanzaib Khan will open on May 6. The first film to be screened will be Ashir Azeem’s Maalik.
This however will be a soft opening. The multiplex will serve as a single-screen cinema for its first few weeks, until work on the other halls is completed. The 3D cinema [Weplex’s largest hall] will be the first to begin screening movies whereas work on the Gold cinema — which is more of a luxury cinema — is still underway. It will hopefully be nearing completion in the next few weeks.
Khan was approached by notable film-makers such as Jami and Nabeel Qureshi, who had requested that their films Moor and Na Maloom Afraad be the first ones screened at the cinema. However, despite their requests, Khan has decided to go ahead with the recently released Maalik. On the contrary, Azeem said his team has yet to be approached by Weplex’s management for his film’s Digital Cinema Package (DCP). But regardless, he is glad that a state-of-the-art cinema has finally opened in Quetta. Since Quetta is his hometown, it was special for him because people in the city have been denied digital cinema for too long. However, Maalik recently also had the honour of being the first film to be projected in a newly-launched cinema in Sargodha as well.
Azeem went on to lament the state of the film industry in both Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, noting how the lack of digital cinemas was denying potential audiences from good quality entertainment. Countless people have to make six to 10 hour journeys just to be able to watch movies. Hopefully things can start improving with the inception of the Weplex in Quetta. Azeem believes that not only is the new cinema a great initiative for the city in terms of commerce but will also inspire a new generation of artistes. In order to inspire artistes, you need to expose them to different mediums of art and initiatives such as Weplex Cinema will help encourage younger film-makers to pursue this.
Khan defended his decision to build a cinema valued at approximately Rs100 million in the city where security issues are such a major concern, claiming that there is more potential in Quetta than people think.