In one of his super-villain jibes, Qataan in recently released “Project Ghazi” taunts Shehryar Munawar’s Zain by saying “You Pakistanis don’t spare an opportunity to bring each other down.” Watching the hysterical, borderline emotionally disturbed reaction from some quarters towards the film, one couldn’t agree more!
**MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD!**
You see, Project Ghazi is an imperfect film. Whereas it lacks a smooth, coherent narrative, it also makes great strides in taking Pakistani cinema forward in many different areas. Here, we list a few….
- Takes you to a place where you have never been before
The movie substitutes traditional song, dance and melodrama for a setting that many in the country may not recognize, because it is yet to be depicted in cinema they are, ahem, more familiar with (yes, we are looking to the eastern neighbor). You get to see an eccentric scientist’s secret hideout in the middle of the desert, a massive robot army attacking fighter jets, and yes, a spectacular finale in Karachi’s port zone. And we have not even gotten started on the ultra-futuristic sci-fi lab where Syra Shahroz (playing Zara) works or Amir Qureishi’s super-cool tech-lab….
Some of the visuals were so good, we had to rub our eyes to make sure that this was indeed a Pakistani film….
- Drops romance and masala and stays true to its sci-fi genre
While there was definitely some attraction between Zara and Zain, the movie stays true to genre and sticks to taking its story forward with futuristic action and novel plot situations – such as say, Qataan planning to release a super weapon that makes citizens attack each other. Or each of the characters having some remarkable mental ability, such as Zain being able to sense the future, and Qataan being able to influence the mind…
- The symbolism was remarkable
Qataan in his backstory reveals that he is a product of the very environment he inhabits, showing that most evil stems from social problems. His plans to release a super-weapon that makes people target each other is no different from the hybrid-warfare of modern times that sinks countries into civil wars. Perhaps, some of this was lost on the critics….
- Featured multi-layered characters
While the writing for Talat Hussain’s character needed much, much more work, one has to admit that the twist in the narrative where he reveals professional jealousy as the reason for ditching his old (and definitely nicer) ways took us by surprise and struck us very real. And the veteran performer did not let the audience down with his superb act!
- Despite severe budget limitations, got so much right
The average sci-fi film around the world typically has a budget exceeding $50 million. For a superhero film, this usually tops a $100 million. As was frankly apparent given some of the film’s shortcomings – Project Ghazi was made on a budget of less than a million dollars, and for that the film was to be lauded for getting the visuals right with its sharp art direction. The VFX at times were rather impressive too.
Moreover, the makers made a complete attempt to give it an epic feel, with the opening sequence in Siachen, crashing helicopters, spacey Sci-fi labs and the finale face off between Qataan and Zain.
Which really brings us to the main point…
- Proves that the creative and technical talent is there to make a reasonably good sci-fi film
We see the movie as an experiment which got a lot right, and hope that local film makers will continue to experiment with the sci-fi genre!
That, ladies and gentlemen, sums it up!