As the entertainment industry crawls back towards normalcy, it is heartening to note that local filmmakers continue to adhere to the ‘never say die’ mantra which has been the hallmark of Pakistani cinema since the 90s. Or at least that is the impression one gets after viewing the trailer of Udham Patakh a horror comedy that is scheduled to release in theaters on Eid-ul-Azha — the first Pakistani film to be publicly exhibited in cinemas after a gap of nearly a year and a half. That the movie will put an end to a prolonged drought of film releases is something that will be welcomed by die-hard movie buffs looking forward to finally get their big-screen high.
Udham Patakh’s roughly two and a half minute long preview provides a vignette into the dark, surreal world inhabited by the film’s protagonists and the half-dead human corpses they battle. Those fretting about this being too foreign a concept will be happy to note that there are enough local references scattered throughout to make for a suitably desi viewing experience. Faizan Sheikh, seen in a supporting role in Heer Maan Ja is the male lead here, and he seems to present a decent account of himself, looking suitably scared and bewildered. There are a couple of scenes where his lines, and that of his female co-star Hira Umer are loaded with political innuendo, which makes one wonder if there’s more to the plot than meets the eye — is this political satire disguised as a horror comedy? As for the zombies, one understands that the intention here is not to creep out the desi audiences completely given that the film is a horror comedy. However the absence of requisite blood, guts and gore in the trailer raises the question if this was a deliberate move by the filmmakers. I guess we will have to watch the film to find out.
Production wise Udham Pathak is branded as an independent film, so it would be unwise to expect jaw-dropping, spectacular visuals. However, with cinema being a visually-driven medium, it is crucial for a film’s imagery, especially in the portions that make it to the trailer, to excite the audience, something that the trailer strives to do with mixed results. The quality of photography and make-up effects is pretty mediocre and some dialogues fall flat, as well.
While the few local horror films released so far have not been massive money spinners, Pakistani comedies have been scoring big box office numbers in the past few years, especially on Eid. The question remains how the audience will respond to a horror twist in the comedy genre. Numbers at the box office counters in a couple of weeks should give a clue.
Udham Pathak is produced by Javed Ahmed Kakepoto and directed by Abu Aleeha. It is presented by Metro Live movies and will be screened in theaters nationwide Eid-ul-Azha onwards. Stay tuned to PakistaniCinema.net for the latest on the movie and the best from Pakistani filmdom!