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The Hits and Misses of 2018

2018 was an eventful year for Pakistani cinema, with many films working with the audience and a few falling out of favor, too. Here’s a quick recap of what worked, and what deserved a miss!

Hit: Mein Item Number Nahi Karoongi

Maya Khan and Ali Zafar grooved their way into our hearts with this techno flavored dance number with a difference. The zippy choreography wowed us in no small measure, and we appreciated the tasteful choice of wardrobe for both Khan and Zafar, which ensured that the song would not end up being some “item.”

Miss: Item numbers

Jawani Phir Nahi Ani 2 featured Ishq Hua Jo Tari, and frankly not much would have changed if the production team had decided to give it a miss. And then there was the cringe inducing seduction number in Wajood and to a lesser extent one in Na Band Na Baraati too, in the otherwise interesting sounding WikiLeak. That song on the big screen, however, was a surefire miss.

Hit: Hareem Farooq in Parchi

Playing the character of the badass Eman, the gangsta from the mohalla, with ample comic streaks and a softer, romantic side too, Hareem Farooq made her act quite believable. We appreciated how the Dobara Phir Se star lent an air of élan to a character with traits as diverse as being able to pull a few well timed punches and shaking a leg to Kurri Nachdi Kamaal.

Miss: Hareem Farooq in Mein Khayal Hoon Kissi Aur Kaa

As much as we wanted to see Hareem shine, her act, along with everything else in this IRK production was a disaster with a capital D. While attempting to watch it, whenever we caught a glimpse of Hareem in between our boredom induced snoozing sessions, she was either pulling luggage, begging a wooden male character or shedding tears, putting all the bechaaris of the world to shame. Sigh.




Hit: Woman-power in films

Whether it was Sohai Ali Abro’s stellar act as the steel willed Zenith Irfan who bikes all the way to Khunjerab, or Hania Amir’s air-force trainee in Eid hit Parwaaz hai Junoon, 2018 had plenty to show by the way of girl-power. Mehwish Hayat proved to her extended family in Load Wedding that she was no push over while Cake also featured two empowered women in Amina Sheikh and Sanam Saaeed, around whom the story chiefly revolved. Even Maya Ali managed to kick some ass in Teefa in Trouble.

Miss: Women from 80s/90s cinema in films

You know which movies we are talking about here. It was no fun watching Aditi Singh in Wajood playing the brute vamp — and that too with a very justified motive, while her co-star Saeeda Imtiaz didn’t have much to do either besides looking pretty. Also, the women in horror misfire Pari were strictly stock characters, too. All of this took us somewhat back in time, to a place where we did not necessarily want to go.

Hit: Slick animation in Allahyaar and the Legend of Markhor, 3 Bahadur: The Rise of Warriors and The Donkey King

The 3 Bahadur series, in their third installment quite noticeably overhauled the animation quality, and the film had company. Allahyaar and the Legend of Markhor and The Donkey King similarly featured some sharp character and background animation. The richly rendered characters of The Donkey King occasionally reminded us of the multimillion budget Disney flicks.

Miss: Amateur hour in Tick Tock

This movie was an excellent example of how a good concept can suffer at the hands of some below-par animation and mediocre writing. Nuff said.

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Hit: Tongue in cheek social/political commentary

2018 featured some savvy writing, some of it featuring witty political commentary, with Jawani Phir Nahi Aani 2 leading the pack. The movie’s plot in large part revolved around the politics of the Subcontinent, similarly, The Motorcycle Girl, Cake, The Donkey King and Load Wedding had a lot to say about our society-at-large, and none of it was jarring or over the top.

Miss: Heavy duty melodrama

The characters in Jackpot were overly loud, while Wajood too featured excessive, over the top, melodrama. Another film that would have benefitted from keeping things subtle and emotions under check would have been Azaadi.

Hit: The pilots in Parwaaz HaiJunoon

The women swooned at Hamza Abbasi and Ahad Raza Mir in Parwaaz Hai Junoon. The gentlemen from the air-force looked sharp, and their choice of profession was integral to the plot, too.

Miss: The pilot in Wajood

While Danish Taimoor looked like a million bucks dressed as an airline pilot. Alas, the relevance of his being one was strictly limited to sharp wardrobe and contributed little else to the plot of this tepid Javaid Sheikh production.

Faisal Ali H

Written by Faisal Ali H

I work as an economist and maintain an active interest in Pakistani cinema.
(Email : faisalcinephile@gmail.com)

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