Feature | The Big Screen Crunch – Yalghaar and Mehrunisa V Lub U vs. Everyone Else

The Big Screen Crunch


Kamran Jawaid  |  This is the unedited original copy of the feature published in Mag the Weekly with the title on the 17th of June 2017 and can be read here. The print copy is attached at the end of the post.


To re-purpose Charles Dicken’s opening line from A Tale of Two Cities: “It is the best of Eid; it is the meekest of Eid. It is the Eid of predictability; it is the Eid of challenges”.

This Eid-ul-Fitr seems to be unremarkable for cinema, with one or two exceptions. Yalghaar and Mehrunisa V Lub U are front runners in a cramped release schedule of primarily Hollywood releases – Transformer: The Last Knight, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, Despicable Me 3 and carry over titles The Mummy – and maybe – Wonder Woman.

Some of these titles are already hampered by Ramazan where audience turn out is generally very low. The other cause are international release dates that happen during or at Eid and piracy.

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Review | ‘SAYA-E-KHYDAYE ZULJALAL’…And It Was Such a Great Title for a Roaring, Epic, War Film

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By Kamran Jawaid  |  The post is the unedited version of the review published in MAG the Weekly on 20th January 2017, which can be read here.


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In one of cinema’s prime cringe-worthy moments, brought to you by Saya e Khuda e Zuljalal’s producers (SKZ for short), Nayyar Ejaz – who plays a sleazy Hindu bad guy (so obvious, isn’t it?) – gives a full-mouthed kiss to a champagne glass offered by a sultry female femme fatale (Jia Ali). The scene, if anything, was exuberant in such licentiousness that the female audience behind me shrieked in horror. (I was, at the same time, shielding my eyes).

It is a dire moment in a film full of dire moments, where one wonders just how a motion picture with scenes of such dissoluteness passed the censors. (In their defense, though, the censor board may have their memories of such a scene sledgehammered into a state of obliviousness; it is better to have forgotten the bad events of one’s life, after all).

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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 | Dobara Phir Se — Literally, In Some Cases

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By Kamran Jawaid  |  The post is the unedited copy of the review published in Mag the Weekly, on December 10th, 2016. The print version can be read here, and below.


Stars - Mag 3.5In Dobara Phir Se (DPS) – or as some would call it, ‘The Independence of bechari Zainab’ – a woman in red with a black chic overcoat (obviously Zainab, played by Hareem Farooq) catches the fancy of a man, (Hammad, Adeel Hashmi). The problem is, Zainab is married to a brusque self-centered bad-guy (as if the brusque and the self-centered didn’t give it away). Asim – her husband, played by Shaz Khan (of Moor) – is perhaps the only bad-guy in DPS; he’s just built that way for the screenplay by Bilal Sami. From the moment Zainab and Hammad meet again at a mutual friend’s party (we’ll get to them in a bit), and when Asim comes over searching for her, one can see that their marriage is in its last rites.

Asim and Zainab’s divorce, or how she and Hammad get together, aren’t big spoilers. Most of this is evident from the narrative’s outer frame, literally framed within the confines of a DSLR’s video recording graphical overlay, where Hammad and Zainab, individually, talk about ‘what went wrong’. The video-recording bit, which pops-up now and again, is but one of the elemental conventions employed in decorating the screenplay. It doesn’t help the film at all – not that the characters are helping the film themselves.

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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: Lahore Se Aagey by Kamran Jawaid

This post is the unedited copy of the review published in Mag the Weekly on Friday, 18th November, 2016. The published version’s jpeg will be updated by Tuesday.

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Wholesale ‘Be Fiqriyan’

By Mohammad Kamran Jawaid

Stars - Mag 3In Lahore Se Aagey, the sequel to last years’ hit Karachi Se Lahore, time, space and relevance are dispensable assets that may have everything – and yet nothing – to do with the film. Regardless of their utter disregard, Lahore Se Aagey is a quick-release enterprise – a revved-up ride that factors fun above everything else. Fun, of course being the film’s imperative impulse, which greatly – and at instances, roaringly – resonated with the audience.

When the sound of laughter drowns senses, sensibilities are politely escorted out of the cinema hall.

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Review: Jeewan Hathi by Kamran 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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Jeewan Hathi – Or No Wonder Why Elephants Are Going Extinct

By Mohammad Kamran Jawaid

Stars - Mag 2 In Jeewan Haathi, a perplexingly made long-form short film of about 60 minutes, that is also for some reason also a socio-comedy, we see mass-corruption of a string of characters. The perplexing part is not that there is mass-corruption, or that it chooses to play the ever-so-popular “pin-the-blame-on-the-media” game and call itself a socio-comedy. No, the fact is that it wants us to believe that it is a feature film.

At about an hour’s mark, the film, written by the can-do-most-everything-wrong screenwriter Fasih Bari Khan (and I am talking in context to this film only), the characters reach a zenith of senseless awkwardness, and the end credits, strangely, start rolling by. My fault actually, because, first of all, I didn’t check to see what the running time was, and secondly, unlike most feature films, I was definitely looking forward to what directors Meenu and Farjad had to offer.

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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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