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Movie Review: “Udham Patakh”

It has finally happened. With “Udham Patakh” the new wave of ‘revived’ Pakistani cinema finally gets its own tongue-in-cheek take on a very desi zombie outbreak. While films such as “Shaun of the Dead” and “Zombieland,” (that possibly served as inspiration) have won over audiences for the horror-comedy genre, the territory is still fairly virgin for local filmmakers as well as mainstream-cinema weaned audiences. In that respect, “Udham Patakh” does attempt to break new ground, and that too with authentically Pakistani humor. To what level it succeeds is another question altogether.

Staying true to its genre, the film rolls with a prologue during which a scream-queen gets devoured by the half-dead from six feet under. Fast forward a few reels, and we are introduced to a television crew filming a show called ‘Jo Darra Woh Marra’ that captures real-life paranormal phenomena. The motley group comprising of the show’s producer (Ali Rizvi), anchor (Hira Umer), and the DOP (Taha Humayun) have chosen a rural farmhouse to be the setting for their program’s next installment. Here, they encounter the property’s caretaker, played by Faizan Sheikh, and quite importantly, those dastardly undead that are hell-bent on cannibalizing the living.

However, before all the zombie action begins, there is plenty of interaction between the characters, involving some heated conversations and comic jibes that don’t particularly contribute to the plot or character development. As the audience waits for the plot to thicken, thrown into the hellish scenario are a few unfortunate cops and the producer’s ever-suspicious wife who has decided to follow him all the way to the farmhouse.

Aiding the proceedings is some competent background score (which is a little loud, at times) by the Allahditta brothers, which creates the right creepy ambiance for the characters. Director Abu Aleeha, to his credit, has also introduced many first-time theater actors in the film, some of whom have pitched in decent performances. Taha Humayun presents a good account of himself, and some of his comic gags, along with those of Ali Rizvi and Faizan Sheikh do hit home. The walking dead also offer their own brand of humor, as is demonstrated in the Tik-Tok-loving zombie scene. Another plus is the film’s relatively short runtime, clocking at a little over 90 minutes, which works in its favor.

“Udham Patakh” is a low-budget indie feature, therefore it would be unfair to expect cutting-edge production value here. However, the viewing experience for the audience would have been considerably enhanced with a tight screenplay and story, as well as comedy that was relevant to the storyline. The film does attempt to offer some social and political commentary, some of which might draw a few chuckles in the audience.

Bottomline

You might want to check out “Udham Patakh” if you are a die-hard fan of zombie films. If you have watched it already, let us know what you think in the comments below!

Written by Faisal Ali H

I work as an economist and maintain an active interest in Pakistani cinema.

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