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Now playing across Pakistani cinemas this month, the new animated production, Allahyar and the Legend of Markhor, made in collaboration with WWF Pakistan, is not only a visual delight for cinemagoers, but also highlights a crucial issue: wildlife conservation.
At the heart of the story is protagonist Allahyar, a young boy who befriends Mehru, a markhor (an endangered wild goat species and Pakistan’s national animal), and their thrilling journey to save Mehru’s family at the hands of Mani, a merciless poacher.
Set against beautiful Pakistani landscapes and scenery, the film packs a punch vis-à-vis dazzling cinematography, heartwarming songs and lovable characters.
Having specialized in character animation from Vancouver Film School, the film’s director, Uzair Zaheer Khan, isn’t a rookie to the world of CG (computer graphics), and has worked in the CG industry for two decades on a number of projects – one such being the award-winning Pakistani animated series, Burka Avenger. “Since there haven’t been a lot of animated films being made in Pakistan, I thought I’d take the initiative to produce one for several reasons,” Khan says, “One was that I wanted to demonstrate that our country’s CG artists can create quality work at par with what’s being produced overseas. We have so many decent artists in Pakistan and not enough projects, so I thought if we put together something nice, it would encourage others to contribute towards the local animation industry.”