LAHORE-Perfectionist Director Asim Raza and debut producer Sheheryar Munawar’s upcoming movie, ‘Parey Hut Love’ will be hitting cinemas on Eid-ul-Azha this year.

From the long list of talented cast members, sets, costumes or acts, no tables have been left unturned by Asim and his talented team to make Imran Aslam’s witty script on family and romance come to life.

The movie has been shot in three picturesque cities in Pakistan and one in Turkey, each with a different cultural vibe and overall cinematic setting.

One of the many special places that the film was shot in is, Karachi’s once iconic Eastern Studios.

What is the significance of Eastern Studios and why did Asim Raza choose this shoot location you ask? A month ago, we couldn’t have answered that but our curiosity of the unknown led us to exploring the space, its history and the reason why Parey Hut Love was shot here.

Eastern Studios is not just Pakistan’s oldest but also Asia’s first film studio to come into existence.

Located in the bustling city of Karachi and established sometime in the mid-fifties, this place was once the true definition of a film studio.

It was a glorified rental facility that had everything one needs to make a film. From rented or leased out office space, production gear, their own marketing, advertising, distribution, publicity, restaurant, catering and other crew departments including lighting, electrical, sound stages to song making rooms and anything that the production companies alone cannot put together; back in the day when Karachi was the film capital of Pakistan, all these facilities were within the four walls of this two-story colonial building.

Pakistan’s first superstar, Waheed Murad famously known as the ‘chocolate hero’ because of his dusky good looks, kick started his career at this very studio with his debut film ‘Saathi’ in 1959.

However, it was his second film ‘Armaan’ in 1966 that made him an overnight hero.

Another big name in the industry to make their film debut at the Karachi Eastern Studios was Shamim Ara, the leading lady of old classics such as ‘Zamana Kya Kahega’ (1961) and ‘Kunwari Bewa’ (1996).

Nayyar Sultana, who through her impeccable acting, claimed the title of ‘Queen of Sentiments’ also faced the movie camera for the first time back in 1955 in her debut film ‘Intikhab’ which was shot at Eastern Studios.

Nadeem Baig, Shabnam, Zeba Bakhtiar, Mohammad Ali, Sohail Rana and Pervez Malik director of hit films ‘Heera aur Pathar’ (1964) and ‘Armaan’(1966) are some of the other names from the film fraternity who had their debuts, hits and flops at Eastern Studios.

As a film and commercial making hub, Eastern Studios enjoyed years of glory but with the advent of the era of colour films, film activities within the studio came to a halt and the space began to be rented out to textile mills for their operations.

The once celebrated and coveted studio, is now a dark and dusty space, with high walls and rusty film equipment placed in different corners.

Despite being one of the oldest film studios in Pakistan and delivering quite a few box office hits, Eastern Studios is rarely used today.

As if to shake off that apathy and bring the film studio to life, Asim Raza and his production designer team of Parey Hut Love made constructive and beautiful use of some of the studio space by converting it into an avant-garde cinematic set and that is perhaps one of the many things to certainly watch out for.