Review | Chalay Thay Saath – But To Where, and Why?!


Kamran Jawaid  |  The post is the unedited copy of the feature published in DAWN’s ICON on 30th April 2017, which can be read here with jpegs of the print copy at the end


“What would make my film different. How would it stand out from the rest of the pack?!” asks a worried little voice inside a filmmaker’s head. The most obvious answer, and logically also the most effective one, is to use a “Cold Open” as the very first scene of the film.

Cold opens are a devious storytelling tool: they often use a dramatic scene from the middle or end of the film, and if need be, explain its relevance through a narrator.

Right now, these openings are notoriously popular with Pakistani filmmakers. Take for example the one in WAAR, which introduces Shaan Shahid’s gung-ho character in a good-cop bad-cop scene (there was no good cop in that room, by the way). Or the one in Jawani Phir Nahin Aani where a pre-intermission suicide scene is used as a ploy to heighten the film’s tension. Or the one in Bachana, Wrong No. and Dance Kahani.

The list is finite, but only because we have a limited number of motion pictures to count off.

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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, creative 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 (the right term should be CGI – computer generated imagery; 3D today ties in with stereoscopy), in one self-congratulatory scene, 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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Review: Jack Reacher: Never Go Back by Farheen Jawaid

The post is the unedited copy of the review published in Mag the Weekly on the 12th of November 2016. Copy of the published version is at the end of the post.

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Jack (Or Tom): Run Man Run, Just Not Alone This Time

By Farheen Jawaid

Stars - Mag 3.5Jack Reacher (2012), the prequel to Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, was one of those movies that was okay in most parts, rose to something better by the time the end credits rolled, and when it came on TV elevated to a solid four-star entertainer.

Why you ask? Jack Reacher has an old done-right Hollywood action-thriller feel to it. It is a creeping feeling that warms up with time. Its story was generic, but the actors and the execution made it intricate, maybe even sophisticated. Like an onion with its layers – even if there is nothing new at the core, it’s a delight to see something with depth (the film, not the onion).

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Review: Trolls by Farheen Jawaid

This post is the unedited copy of the review published in Mag the Weekly on Friday, 18th of November 2016. Published copy will be updated at the end of the post.

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Trolls: Singing, Dancing, Much Romancin’…Oh, erm…

By Farheen Jawaid

Stars - Mag 2The creepy looking dolls that made a splash on the pop-culture from the 60s till 90s got a movie of their own – and that just shows how marketing and sales can make one do most anything they want, besides making it a big hit, which is something only a select few from the industry can do. Bless commercialism.

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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: The Magnificent Seven (2016) by Kamran 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 Magnificent Seven: Or, a Remake, of an Inspiration, of an Original.

By Mohammad Kamran Jawaid

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As child of the 80’s, I doubt if the cinemas in Pakistan had shown a re-run of The Magnificent Seven (1960) in my time. The original, which officially acknowledges its inspiration from the far-superior Seven Samurai (1954) by master Akira Kurosawa, was an adequate time-filler that had a lot going for it. The chief of these was a spectacular score by Elmer Bernstein – whose bits one can pick up in the remake by Antoine Fuqua.

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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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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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