Review | In ‘3 Bahadur: The Revenge of Baba Balaam’, Forget the Children – the Makers Learn Aplenty…By the End


By Kamran Jawaid  |  The post is the unedited copy of the review published in Mag the Weekly, on December 24th, 2016. The print version will be uploaded below soon.


Stars - Mag 3.5In a startling shake-up, 3 Bahadur: The Revenge of Baba Balaam, creatively directed by Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy (I don’t understand what the term implies…seriously), grandly one-ups on the previous part…although very late by the climax. The animated film, unjustly misquoted as a 3D film in one self-congratulatory scene, (the right term should be CGI – computer generated imagery; 3D today ties in with stereoscopy), has a lot of false starts and monotony, until it revs up like one of those pull-back cars from your childhood and goes vroom.

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Review | Rogue One: ‘Just Another’ Star Wars Story

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By Kamran Jawaid  |  The post is the unedited copy of the review published in Mag the Weekly, on December 24th, 2016. The print version will be uploaded below soon.


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In Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, or what I believe to be yet another in a string of factory-made expansions around the original Star Wars, the universe far, far away is a grim place. So grim in fact that the film wallows in its eventual near-depressive inevitability, and deliberately forgets to add emotional connections and a sense of humor.

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Feature: India Vs Pakistan – Friendly (Media) Fire

The post is the unedited copy of the feature published in MAG the Weekly, on the 15th of October, 2016. Published copy below.

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India Vs Pakistan: Friendly Fire – Why Bollywood Will Always Sell, and Why We Can Never Be ‘Reel’ (and Real) Friends

By Mohammad Kamran Jawaid

Flashback: 1997. I was young, and incurably enamored by Bollywood (after Hollywood, of course); the Pakistani film industry was near comatose – done in by its own hands. Across the border, there was mesmerizing music, lush cinematography (that is, frames of high-contrast and brighter colors), and star-power. Cable television and unauthorized Indian television channels assisted in the familiarization process, and, personally speaking, as a consequence, I knew more about Indian political shenanigans than meeker upheavals at home.

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Review: Mechanic: Resurrection by Farheen Jawaid

The post is an unedited copy of the review published in Mag the Weekly, on the 8th of October 2016 and can be found here.

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The Return of the Mechanic: He Fixes Villains – Not Your Car!

By Farheen Jawaid

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While not much is expected from action movies as a whole, few things are mandatory besides the action, and that is a kind of attachment with the leading hero or heroine. It can be done with a background story, revealed through dialogues, or the way they live, or a reveal that describes them as master of one’s art, pushed against their will into a situation, or normal people who become heroes when faced with life threatening situations, amidst a string of other generic ideas that makes an action hero, an action hero.

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Review: Zindagi Kitni Haseen Hay by Kamran Jawaid

The review is the unedited copy of the version published in MAG the Weekly on the 23rd of September 2016.

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Zindagi Kitni Haseen Hay – A Question? A Statement? Definitely Something to Ponder About!

By Mohammad Kamran Jawaid

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There is an oft-said line in the beginning of Zindagi Kitni Haseen Hay (ZKHH), directed by Anjum Shahzad, where a producer played by Nayyar Ejaz – with his over-played tones – says that television directors shouldn’t direct motion pictures. I kept thinking what Mr. Shahzad meant – was he, with his considerable television experience, targeting himself, or was he indicating a superficial ego, labeling himself a notch above his contemporaries.

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Review: Actor In Law by Kamran Jawaid

The review is the unedited copy of the version published in MAG the Weekly on the 23rd of September 2016.

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An Actor’s Gotta Do, What a Filmi Lawyer’s Oughta Do!

By Mohammad Kamran Jawaid

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It is relatively easy to pin-point where director Nabeel Qureshi gets inspiration from. The tell-tale signs are so out-right open that only someone blindfolded by gush and enthusiasm would miss them.

Mr. Qureshi is Bollywood-struck – from Om Puri, (whose inclusion doesn’t hurt nor elevate the movie), to the obviously laid out background score, to the one-too-many nights of Rajkumar Hirani movies (right down to the high-contrast color-grading), and a song that has the mark of Vidhu Vinod Chopra (Mr. Hirani’s producing partner), the movie is a roughly-conjured chimera. At one point, early in the movie, Shaan Mirza (played by the always magnetic Fahad Mustafa), dresses up as Amitabh Bachchan’s “Shahenshah” for a “galli-ka-nukkadh” corner-function for another “Quaid” (no, not the-e-Azam kind).

Are these negatives in a full-on commercial social satire? Heavens no. But they certainly do distract. Maybe a teensy-bit.

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Interview: Hassan Waqas Rana by Kamran Jawaid

This post is the unedited copy of the review published in Mag the Weekly, on 18th of June 2016.

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Hassan Waqas Rana – An Insight On the Man & Big Budget Cinema of Pakistan

By Mohammad Kamran Jawaid

A few years ago when WAAR came, I was one of the most vocal of its critics. So impassioned was my review (with due reason, of course), that the director himself voiced his opinion in the comments. One of my strongest arguments were the problems with the screenplay. Now years later, when I had an opportunity to have a long detailed conversation with WAAR’s producer Hassan Waqas Rana, he himself admits that the screenplay was at fault; he was, as he points out, a first time screenwriter. Although we talked about WAAR is detail, most of my conversation was about Mr. Rana’s next big – evidently far more extravagant – venture Yalghaar, set to come out this year.

Talking about WAAR, Mr. Rana says that “I didn’t write Dr. Zhivago”, later adding that critics should understand what they are writing about. “It had the philosophical context of a bloody axe”, he adds to the genre of his first film.

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Review: Warcraft by Kamran Jawaid

This post is the unedited copy of the review published in Mag the Weekly, on 18th of June 2016.

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Man vs Invading Fantasy Creatures In a (dud) Fantasy World

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By Mohammad Kamran Jawaid

In the first few minutes of the motion picture adaptation of the massively popular fantasy-strategy game Warcraft, we are briefly introduced to who may be the audience’s most relatable character: an Orc chieftain named Durotan (who has Toby Kebbel’s voice) – a brawny, pony-tailed ogre-looking warrior, with deep sad eyes and family values. His wife (voiced by Anna Galvin), is pregnant, and their world is ravaged and infertile. To his, and other Orc tribes, there is one way for the future – to invade another realm. And so, with this prologue, begins one of the most incomplete, half-explained movies you’ll see this summer.

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Review: Alice Through the Looking Glass by Kamran Jawaid

This post is the unedited copy of the review published in Mag the Weekly, on 18th of June 2016.

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Alice Is Bonkers Again! – She’s Talking Women’s Lib and Time Travel

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By Mohammad Kamran Jawaid

I underwent a mild shock (well, actually, more of a “hmm…how odd” expression) after watching Alice Through the Looking Glass, and going over to the popular movie review aggregator site Metacritic. The overall critic’s score of there is at a paltry 34% average. Far worse films have far better reviews.

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Review: Aksbandh by Kamran Jawaid

The post is the updated copy of the review published in Mag the Weekly on May 28, 2016.

In ‘Aksbandh’, a Lot of People Will Die (Sometimes Laughing)

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By Mohammad Kamran Jawaid

Aksbandh is a far better title for a found footage film, let me tell you. The last one, Paranormal Karachi Nights, sounded a tad off, especially because the movie is set on a rest house deep in the woods around Drigh Lake – which is quite a bit of walk away from the city (well, approximately a 77 hour walk, if you trust Google maps). The goofier aspect of the previous title, however, is still embedded in the story.

Actually, calling the event a story, would be giving the movie too much credit; a much better word would have been “incident”.

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