Tevar Movie Review
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Tevar (Movie Review): A Strike Two for Abu Aleeha

Tevar”, previously called Arifa, is chronologically the first feature that Abu Aleeha made. “Kataksha” however, was released first. It doesn’t matter though, both films are bad. Tevar is just much more technically incompetent.

The Story

Set in 1980s Karachi, Tevar is about a girl named Arifa, played by Sukaynah Khan, who is being asked for her hand in marriage by her cousin, Shafqat, played by Taqi Ahmed. She lives with her sister, Hina, and her father played by Akbar Subhani.

The proposal has not borne fruit as Arfa doesn’t care for cousin marriages. Shafqat is scheduled to go back to Hyderabad on the day the film begins. However, riots begin in the city, and things go from bad to worse for the family.

Arfa’s father is beaten during the riots and her sister, Hina, is quite clearly sexually assaulted on the streets. Battered and bloody, the family is trying to cope when goons enter their home and hold them hostage.

The Positives

Tevar is quite clearly set in the 80s, and the inclusion of old furniture, radio sets, posters of Amitabh Bachchan and dug up roads all make the setting feel real.

Sukaynah Khan as Arifa is a combination of talent and beauty that has a lot of potential in film. She delivers her dialogue, laced with pristine Urdu, with ease. Even when the dialogue falters, which is most of the time, she sells it with a conviction absent from most of the cast. There are flaws in her performance, however, they can be overlooked for her overall command on the character.

The performance of Sharique Mehmood as Dawood, the main antagonist is fun to watch. The poster of Amitabh hanging above his bed, with a moustache drawn on to mirror his own, is a nice detail.

The story itself is quite strong. Riots and gang wars is what Karachi was known for in the 80s. A family in trouble during these riots is something that anyone can relate to. There are also shots of goons taking heroin, which became widely available in Pakistan during the 80s. All these details shine in the plot.

However, the surrounding filmmaking is so bland, dull, and incompetent that all of it cease to matter.

The Flaws

Where does one begin? The camera work was shaky, and the dialogue was quite clearly, badly dubbed. And that didn’t help the fact that most of the actors were overacting to the point of melodrama. Some shots were blurred as if the director had cropped the original image to zoom in to the scene. And that’s just within the first seven minutes of the movie!

Even more frustrating is the fact that the background score drowns out the dialogues in many scenes. Even the audience around me was murmuring, “Kuch samajh mein nahin aaraha”. Hence, plot elements and some important dialogues, especially in the beginning of the film were probably missed.

On top of that, the sound mixing and the sound effects were also poorly done. The effects put in to amplify footsteps, opening doors, and falling pots and pans were out of sync. You could clearly hear opening doors and footsteps in the background and then see the visual equivalent on screen a few seconds later.

As far as the performances are concerned, most of them are bad, but that’s not because of the actors themselves. The script is hanging by a thread. The dialogues they are given to deliver are not believable.

The main antagonist, Dawood, played by Sharique Mehmood, talks about the opportunities for loot maar during riots in the context of history. Shaukat, played by Taqi Ahmed, is supposed to be interested in poetry, but mispronounces words and delivers his lines with a lethargy and disinterest that I haven’t seen in a long time. He’s not even trying.

The supporting cast is resigned to the same fate. The actors playing “Tony” and “Mauji”, Dawood’s goons, are much better than the material they’ve been given. It’s just that their lines are clearly full of filth and abuses because the maker wants to get cheap laughs out of the audience. It quite clearly worked because all the rows burst out laughing every time an abuse was hurled.

Akbar Subhani was also given very bland and repetitive dialogues to deliver. He was reduced to a caricature by the end. And I’m not exaggerating. The entire audience would laugh every time he would call out for his daughter in pain.

The story is also not developed at all. The ongoing riots in Karachi are never expanded upon. All that is known is “Haalaat kharaab ho Gaye Hain”. And since the movie scarcely leaves the confines of Arfa’s home, not much is known about the world outside.

Now that could’ve worked since this film is meant to induce a sense of claustrophobia and make you feel like there is no escape. However, throughout the film, the narrative drags, just like it did in “Kataksha”.

Characters slowly move through hallways, 1 minute scenes are dragged out to 5 minutes; and the repetitive dialogue on top of it all, makes the experience very frustrating.

Tevar” is the second film by Abu Aleeha, and just like “Kataksha” it has been a very bland and dull experience. It’s just that “Kataksha” was a much better technical achievement. Not only did it have much better cinematography and pacing, it also had a clear narrative. While “Tevar” was all over the place.

However, both films also present a very solid central idea. Perhaps Abu Aleeha needs to delegate script writing to someone else.

Tevar Movie Review
  • Verdict
1.5

Summary

Tevar” is the second film by Abu Aleeha, and just like “Kataksha” it has been a very bland and dull experience. It’s just that “Kataksha” was a much better technical achievement. Not only did it have much better cinematography and pacing, it also had a clear narrative. While “Tevar” was all over the place.

Yousuf Mehmood

Written by Yousuf Mehmood

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