Review | Meet Jagga Jasoos – The Indian Musical-Minded Mix of Harry Potter and Tintin

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Kamran Jawaid  |  The post is the unedited copy of the review published in DAWN ICON on 16th July 2017, which can be read here. Jpeg of the print copy is at the end of the post.


Like Barfi, appreciating Anurag Basu’s Jagga Jasoos takes a lot of patience. One’s fortitude should not be a prerequisite.

In the film Ranbir Kapoor plays Jagga, an imaginative rip-off of Harry Potter and Tintin – an orphan schoolboy with the acute foresight to piece clues together. Oh, and he cannot speak, but expresses himself with relative ease when singing.

Did I mention that Jagga Jasoos is a musical adventure? Silly me. Continue reading “Review | Meet Jagga Jasoos – The Indian Musical-Minded Mix of Harry Potter and Tintin”

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.

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

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: 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: 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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Review: Mah-e-Mir by Kamran Jawaid

This post is the unedited and updated copy of the review published in Mag the Weekly, on the 13th May, 2016.

In ‘Mah-e-Mir’, Apparently, Failure to Communicate Is an Option

By Mohammad Kamran Jawaid

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There is a horrifically big, fantasy full-moon out every night in Mah-e-Mir, the pompous, all-over-the-place, drama fit for a stage-play.

The moon is so big, (and so badly composited over clouds), that it defies convention, comprehension – and lest I forget, laws of gravity and direction. This moon, popping up, down, left and right, is its own entity, and no matter how overly-dramatic, it is one of the good things I got for the price of my ticket.

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Review: Karachi Se Lahore by Kamran Jawaid

This blog post is the unedited version of the review published in Mag – The Weekly, 22nd August 2015.

KarachiSeLahore-BlogOne Long Road Trip, and a Lot of Ice Cream Cones

By Mohammad Kamran Jawaid

In Karachi Se Lahore, touted by the producers as Pakistan’s “first” road trip movie (there are going to be a lot of “firsts” for the next few years), Shehzad Sheikh plays Zaheem, our leading man who puts a unique spin on any hero headlining a movie: he’s a spineless, awkward, laid-back mess, with long-term life goals and a forty thousand salary at a reputed bank (cue in, the movie’s first product placement).

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Review: Bin Roye by Kamran Jawaid

This post is the unedited copy of the review published in MAG the Weekly, August 01, 2015

Bin Roye – When A Title Says It All (for the Male Audience)

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By Mohammad Kamran Jawaid

If one can learn three worthwhile life-lessons from Bin Roye, they would be this: 1) Don’t text while driving 2) Look both ways before crossing the street, and 3) Never, ever, give in to your women’s pressure and buy the ticket of a movie that looks like a sappy television drama, out of, well, television.

The last bit may sound chauvinistic and crude, but I am just the messenger of a handful of stupefied males in a cinema auditorium chock full of the other sex. Six days after Eid, at nearly nine-thirty (the film was scheduled to start earlier), the cinema I am visiting is full of ladies – young, old, who damn-care-about-narrative inconsistencies. Pride, of course, have led most of the women-folk to respond “Kya, acchi nahin lagi?”; some truly sincere in their replies to whoever their male chaperone is (“Allah tumhain poochay ga”, a young man responded from my back row; another younger over-weight lad sitting to my right just looked sarcastically at his sister when the movie split at intermission; the gent sitting on my left was more genial in his grunts).

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