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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Animadversion: Alice in Wonderland by Kamran Jawaid and Farheen Jawaid

Alice in Wonderland’s review was published in March, 28th’s issue of iMAGES in MKJ and Farheen Jawaid’s column ‘Animadversion’. Below is the unedited version.


Mad-Hatters and Disappearing Cats. We’re Not in Kansas Anymore, Alice!

By Mohammad Kamran Jawaid

In the 2010 re-version of “Alice in Wonderland”, Alice’s height keeps shifting between big and small, in subtle 3D, depending on what she has gulped down – a flavorless “eat-me” biscuit, or a bitter-ish formula made with a spoonful of wishful thinking, two coins from a dead man’s pocket and a dash of human spit.

Like Alice’s height problems – she shrinks and expands only to shrink again to fit into door holes or get away from sticky situations – the movie moves like an all-too modern formulaic expedition, as gray-cast and uninvolving as “Wonderland” or the majority of the cast written by author Lewis Carroll.

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Animadversion: Kamran Jawaid and Farheen Jawaid Review the 10 Best Picture Nominees of 82nd Annual Academy Awards

Unedited, correction appended version of the review printed in iMAGES on the 7th of March 2010

The Big Ones Aren’t Really that Big. It’s the Small Ones that Really Count.

By Mohammad Kamran Jawaid and Farheen Jawaid

In this week’s Animadversion, we review the 82th Academy Awards ten best picture nominees. Starting in alphabetical order, they are:

Avatar - Neytiri


Everything in Avatar is big. Big foreign worlds (Pandora, which is actually a moon). Big exotic – and almost too earth-like – flora. Big yellow-eyed, blue-skinned, well-built aliens (the Na’vi, they’re called). Big six-legged cats, monkey-lemurs and multi-colored Pterosaurs. Big corporate mining. Big battle sequences. Big running time. Big messages (cultural heritage, biodiversity, green-peace, recent American invasions). And big box-office.

Webbed within the big is a small inter-species love story (Zoe Saldana is the main alien squeeze) and a smaller plot.

Avatar is an engaging bright star that transcends its complexity and settles for cushy, unanimous storytelling. It is about a paraplegic ex-marine, Jake Skully (Sam Worthington) who by sheer twist of fate (a brother’s death and matching genetic codes) becomes a pilot of an aliens bio-replica and like every cocky underdog ascends to the level of kings (or was it tribal leader).

James Cameron, returning from a 12 year lull, commandeers the sanity with attention-grabbing photo-realistic visuals. Yet, for all the technical and arty pizzazz, Avatar lacks that genuine emotional connection. It’s like connecting to one of the big red Leonopteryx in the film (the Na’vi link-up with alien animals via a cerebral bond through their hair-like extensions). You log-in. You pilot. You understand. You like it enough to go to the cinemas, once, twice, maybe thrice. You buy the DVD. But you do not fall in love with it, unconditionally.

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Animadversion: Shutter Island – Review by Kamran Jawaid and Farheen Jawaid

correction appended, re-edited version of the review printed in iMAGES, Saturday, 27 Feb, 2010


Stranded in an Island of Mind Games and Ghost Women

By Mohammad Kamran Jawaid

Shutter Island is the new gothic-drama-thriller from director Martin Scorsese, and from its first scene (where a dejected ferry cuts through a dense ocean-fog), clamps firmly into a sense of dreaded clam and doesn’t let go until the closing credits.

Juggling a complex, and at times over-amplified, fusion of filmmaking variants, Shutter Island is about a missing woman from a fortified sanitarium for the criminally insane. The sanitarium, guarded by steep cliffs and crushed greenery is located in a quarantined island, which also strands two federal Marshals. One Marshal, played by Leonardo DiCaprio – returning to his Bostonian accent from The Departed, his earlier collaboration with Scorsese – is reliably traumatized by the ghost of his dead wife; the other one, played by Mark Ruffallo, we barely have time think about. But that is because Martin Scorsese doesn’t want us to, yet.

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Animadversion: Edge of Darkness by Kamran Jawaid and Farheen Jawaid

correction appended, re-edited, full version of the review printed in iMAGES, Dawn, 14th February 2010 in MKJ and Farheen Jawaid’s exclusive review column “Animadversion"


Vengeance from the Edge: A Roughed Out Father on Rampage

By Mohammad Kamran Jawaid

In the retribution-inflicted psyched-out cop drama-thriller “Edge of Darkness”, Mel Gibson returns to the pilot seat of a genre his resume knows best: a wronged man on the edge.

Mr. Gibson’s last leading screen role was in the M.Night Shyamalan science-fiction drama “Signs”. It had him pitching water (and a club-wielding Joaquin Phoenix) at evil invading aliens, who exhibited excellent handicraft-skill at making crop circles. In “Edge of Darkness”, the evil has shifted to corporate America and covert government deals.

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Swingin’ My Way Down the Archive


Last Monday was frenzied. I had to watch the 52nd Grammy Awards (which started at 6 am PST), turn in three pieces (the Animadversion of “The Book of Eli”, Avatar’s Analysis and the Grammy’s, which Farheen does every year) and work on Trailer-Ratings (and Liz, of course, for those who are scratching their heads wondering who Liz is, don’t worry. I haven’t introduced her yet).

Getting back to iMAGES, music really isn’t my forte anymore (not that it ever was), so naturally I forgot all about the event until my alarm reminded me about an hour before the Grammy’s started. There goes what little sleep I get.

Now, the million dollar question is: how does one write three big articles on a deadline and keep his writing style intact? (lately I’ve been very conscious of bad, crippled, unmotivated writing).

The answer is: he can’t. But nonetheless, the three pieces came out okay. After 7 years, it still feels good seeing my name in the paper.

All three articles are published this week (Sunday, February 07, 2010). Their links can be found below.

On another note, by public demand and constant persecution from friends (you know, who you are…meanies), I am putting up official links of our work in this post.

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