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.

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


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


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.

Stars - Mag 1.5

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).

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

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.


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

By Mohammad Kamran Jawaid

Stars - Mag 2

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.

Continue reading “Review: Zindagi Kitni Haseen Hay by Kamran Jawaid”

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.


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

By Mohammad Kamran Jawaid

Stars - Mag 3.5

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.

Continue reading “Review: Actor In Law by Kamran Jawaid”

Feature: A FAQ on Today’s Pakistani Cinema

This post is the unedited copy of the feature/analysis published in MAG the Weekly on 21st May, 2016

MediocreMediocre Movies, Creativity and the Box-Office – F.A.Q on Today’s Cinema

By Mohammad Kamran Jawaid

Filmmaking is a dangerously creative field. From it comes works of awe-inspiring, soul-lifting wonder, spanned across time, genres and audience tastes. From it also emerge personal convictions, arguments and career destroying egotistical wars, billions in trade, politics and the gnawing need to be in the spotlight. It’s a wonderful, disastrous high.

One of the biggest problems in movie industry is the narcissistic grudge-match between the audience, the filmmaker, and the critic. The maker, regardless of aptitude or skill-level, cares little of the audience (on certain passion-projects), and reviewers, who are (sometimes) rightly labeled as faultfinders with inadequate knowledge of making movies, point them out as the guardian of audiences tastes.

The concept of this feature sprang from such a conversation, a few weeks back, at a meeting with Mag – The Weekly’s editors. Presented below are some basic FAQ’s on the most basics of differing opinions.

Continue reading “Feature: A FAQ on Today’s Pakistani Cinema”

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).

Continue reading “Review: Karachi Se Lahore by Kamran Jawaid”

Review: Shah by Kamran Jawaid

The post is the unedited copy of the review published in Mag the Weekly, August 28, 2015 (online link is put up a week after publication).


Stings Like A Bee — Well, ‘Almost’

By Mohammad Kamran Jawaid

Picture this: a young boy, homeless yet hardworking in Lyari, who calls out his name in broad-shouldered brogue (as others comment on how strong the name is), finds his calling for boxing after being beaten out of his hard-earned money.

Continue reading “Review: Shah by Kamran Jawaid”

Review: Moor by Kamran Jawaid

The post is the updated copy of the review published in MAG – The Weekly, 22nd August 2015, found here.


A Father, A Son, An Auteur — Oh the Choices!

By Mohammad Kamran Jawaid

Jagged and impatient, Jami’s Moor is the work of a genius – or to be precise, one terribly close to genius-dom. One factor is undeniable, it is an auteur’s composition – and as such, comes with a sizable dosage of pitfalls. (Well, some might call them pitfalls). Continue reading “Review: Moor by Kamran Jawaid”

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)

Stars - Mag 2

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).

Continue reading “Review: Bin Roye by Kamran Jawaid”

Review: Saltanat By Kamran Jawaid

This post is the unedited copy of the review published at Dawn.com

An Empire in Shambles (On Eid Day)

By Mohammad Kamran Jawaid

Stars - 1b

In one, maybe overlooked scene in Saltanat, Syed Faisal Bukhari’s real-life inspired underworld action movie, Javed (Chetan Hansraj) sits on a rock in deep emotional contemplation: he has been married to Zainab (actress Zainab Qayyum – or ZQ), a twice widowed, emotionally scarred soul who, unfortunately, is the younger sister of the movie’s chief protagonist – the underworld hero – Aslam bhai (played by Aslam Bhatti, also the producer and co-distributor). Javed’s problem, although told to be otherwise in the plot’s narrative, may be misleading; if you ask me, the character’s gloom may be because he’s seen Saltanat’s dailies – that is, if the concept of dailies existed in Saltanat’s making (dailies, by the way, are raw edits of scenes for review purposes during production).

Continue reading “Review: Saltanat By Kamran Jawaid”