Considering how Khalil Ur Rehman’s script made ”Punjab Nahi Jaungi” one of the most celebrated projects in recent memory, walking into ”Kaaf Kangana” our expectations were high, irrespective of the somewhat melodramatic trailers which were brutally roasted on social media. But to everyone having the same impression, the movie itself, at least in its initial few minutes, comes across as a pleasant surprise.
Set in Lahore, “Kaaf Kangana” starts with Khalil Ur Rehman’s signature dialogues that instantly grab your attention, in giving impression that the movie is set to offer something big. It follows Kangana’ s (played by Eshal Fayyaz) journey to Pakistan for a SAARC competition. She ends up at Ali Mustafa’s (Sami Khan) home, courtesy a tragic incomplete love affair of their forefathers from the Partition. Featuring a budding romance, subtle humor and heartwarming dialogues on Kashmir and partition which make you go wow every time, the first half of the film keeps you engaged. It then turns into a “Tere Pyar Mein” saga when Ali confronts the Pakistan-driven hate of Kangana’s family.
The plot of the film may sound clichéd but is nicely structured and is supported by an engaging screenplay and applause worthy dialogues. Khalil’s script succeeds at delivering a pro-Pakistan agenda and touching at the Kashmir issue in a subtle manner. It does this without walking the line of propaganda films, and rather delivers a message of peace.
While Khalil deserves appreciation for yet another fine script, he himself is to be blamed for killing this potential major release of the year. It appears as though the film was huge while it was on paper, as the script and the lyrics of songs penned by Khalil and featured songs composed by Naveed Nashad and Sahir Ali Bagga are all remarkable. But all of this is butchered at the hands of weak direction, low production values, and some terrible performances.
All the featured songs are beautifully penned, composed and sung. Neelam Munir ‘s item number, “Khwabon Mein” may not trigger the same response as Mehwish Hayat’s “Billi”, but has definitely garnered some attention in its own way. The choreography by Pappu Samrat however could have been a lot better.
The picturization of the songs however was all over the place. It’s 2019 and still the actors are lip syncing situational songs. While this is still fine for songs like “Mul Vickda” and “Jaan-e-Man”,it gets hard to digest when Sami Khan, recently injured, lip syncs a situational Arif Lohar song. The situation isn’t helped by the fact that the song is more than four minutes long. The Background score is another letdown. It’s good in parts when tunes of featured songs are used in the background. Apart from that, it’s simply horrendous to the point of distraction.
The movie’s biggest and most basic shortcoming is the casting. Sami Khan as Ali Mustafa, Abi Khan as Tony and Ayesha Omer as Gulnaaz deliver fairly good performances. It is however, Eshal Fayyaz, who makes you wonder how someone with a sane mind can cast her in any film, and that too for a lead role. In an age when even extras of big banner films are being cast on merit, a lead actress giving such an awful performance makes you feel like you’re watching a film straight from 90’s. The majority of actresses then were required to just dance and look good. But even on those standards, Eshal is a disappointment. She does look charming in a few scenes but clearly falls way short of delivering acceptable performance. Her expressions are stiff, her dialogue delivery is weak and her performance is altogether wooden. Fizza Ali as Anjali is passable in a few scenes and loud in others. With all the important dialogues these two characters were given, better performances would definitely have raised the level of the film.
“Kaaf Kangana” will remain a case study of how a good director and fine actors are as much needed to make a successful film, as a good writer. Had this script been directed and produced by someone else with a different cast, we would have been celebrating this weekend the release of perhaps the year’s biggest money-spinner. Watch this film if you are a fan of 90’s Lollywood and can enjoy a film for its songs and dialogues.
Kaaf Kangna Movie Review
Watch Kaaf Kangna if you are a fan of 90’s Lollywood and can enjoy a film for its songs and dialogues.