Shoaib Akhtar, the legendary Pakistani cricketer, announced that he has obtained a stay order against the makers of his supposed biopic. The order prohibits the filming and release of the film until the final decision of the aforementioned lawsuit. This legal action comes as a response to the persistent threats made by a certain group of people, who have vowed to continue filming despite the termination of the agreement between Akhtar and the filmmakers.
On Monday, Akhtar took to his Instagram story with a screenshot of his Facebook post that read, “Alhamdolillah, I have secured a stay order against the filming and release of the supposed biopic being made on my life by a certain group of people.” He also warned that any person involved in the project should be aware of the illegality of their actions and the potential reputational loss they may face.
A notice from Akhtar’s lawyer was attached to the Instagram story to provide further clarity on the matter. The notice states that the court, through its order dated June 22, 2023, has restrained the producer of the biopic, titled Rawalpindi Express, from shooting, filming, and releasing any part of the film to any media platform, including social media and cinema, until a final decision is reached in the ongoing legal battle.
Akhtar filed the suit against the producer/director of the biopic, who has been continuously threatening and persisting in the production of the film, despite the termination of the agreement between the parties. The intimation notice serves as a stern warning that the film is currently disputed and subject to litigation. It clearly states that anyone involved in the production, in any capacity, will be held responsible for their actions. Furthermore, the notice highlights that the police will conduct raids to halt any future filming, accompanied by a court order.
While Akhtar mentioned no names, the film’s director is Muhammad Faraz Qaiser. Produced by QFilms, Rawalpindi Express is written by Qaiser Nawaz. The project originally starred singer-turned-actor Umair Jaswal in the titular role until he exited the project citing ‘creative and personal’ reasons.
“Due to creative and personal reasons I have decided to step away from the Shoaib Akhtar biopic project, Rawalpindi Express,” the singer announced on social media earlier this year. “I will no longer be associated with any media or news related to this project. Wishing everyone involved all the best,” he added.
Two weeks after Jaswal’s exit, Rawalpindi Express was no longer on the cards. The former cricketer took to Twitter and announced that he, too, distanced himself from the “dream project” and legally revoked all rights to his life’s story.
The fast bowler cited “failure to resolve disagreements” and “constant contractual violations” as reasons for his sudden change of heart. “Very sadly, I would like to inform all of you that after careful consideration of months, I have decided to disassociate myself from the film Rawalpindi Express and its makers by terminating the agreement through my management and legal team,” he shared in a statement on the micro-blogging site.
He assured that although he tried to stay onboard, the project just didn’t work out as he had hoped. “Definitely, it was a dream project and I tried a lot to prevent [this] and stay in the boat but unfortunately, things were not going well,” added Akhtar. “Failure to resolve disagreements amicably and constant contractual violations finally resulted in us to cut ties with them,” he continued.
The host said he has formally and legally left the project and will hit back if the filmmakers decide to go ahead without his approval. “I have left the project after complying [with] all legal protocols of revoking the rights to the story of my life. Severe legal action will be taken if the makers continue to make biography film and use my name or life story events in any way,” he added.
Previously scheduled to release in November this year, the “first foreign film about a Pakistani sportsman” was announced in July 2022. The film’s director, Qaiser, said it was a dream come true for him since he had finally set in motion an idea that he had back in 2016.