When making a reboot of a cult-classic, it is a pre-requisite to possess a mega budget, have exhaustive knowledge of the subject matter, possess nerves of steel to handle the gigantic cast/crew and last but not the least, the vision and fortitude to bring a fantasy to life on celluloid in today’s times. You can face instant rejection from the paying public or face trolling on social media. The makers have to walk a tight rope. Everyone is curious to watch, examine, evaluate and scrutinize “The Legend of Maula Jatt”. The stakes are high and so are the expectations.
After watching the film, one can surely say that “The Legend of Maula Jatt” is a spectacular looking film that matches international standards. And it is not merely a stunning looking film, it is well structured too: The love story, the simmering tension, the conflict that ensues, the dramatic altercations, the battle sequences and the nail-biting finale… “The Legend of Maula Jatt” brings the fictional story vividly to life.
When you think of Bilal Lashari, the first thing that crosses your mind are the exquisite frames and gorgeous visuals [recall Jal Band’s “SAJNI”, Atif Aslam’s “HUNGAMI HALAT” or his last blockbuster “WAAR”]. Now we can also say that the young filmmaker has mastered the art of striking the right balance between form and content. “The Legend of Maula Jatt” will not only be talked about the compelling visuals, but taut screenwriting and right pacing as well.
The screenplay is focused; it piqued my interest and kept me involved in the narrative, while the characters are well-etched and powerfully portrayed. In fact, the watertight screenplay, which encompasses drama, action and romance, are beautifully juxtaposed in the narrative. In short, everything blends beautifully like a symphony. The “iconic” dialogues by Nasir Adeeb are clap worthy.
Besides captivating screenwriting, “The Legend of Maula Jatt” is bolstered by strong performances. Fawad Khan is stupendous and clearly in top form. He holds you attentive right from the first frame till the penultimate moments. The effortlessness with which he gets into the skin of the character is noteworthy.
This is Hamza’s second movie with Bilal. Although the actor has delivered sparkling performance in WAAR. you’ve got to watch him as the treacherous, vicious, vindictive and villainous Noori Nath in the film. Actually, Hamza Ali Abbasi doesn’t just play Noori Nath; he inhabits him. It’s an astounding, gutsy performance that will be talked-about and discussed for sure.
Mahira is enchanting as Mukkho and displays the strength as an actor in several pertinent episodes. I’d also like to add that the Fawad-Mahira chemistry appears natural and striking. Humaima’s portrayal of Daroo deserves brownie points. She interprets the character with brilliance as the camera captures every emotion that flickers across her face, proving yet again that she’s amongst the finest actors we have today. Gohar Rasheed is tremendous and his act gives depth and feeling to the character.
“The Legend of Maula Jatt” has a noteworthy supporting cast. Nayyer Ejaz is creepily effective and owns every sequence he’s in. Faris Shafi is fantastic. Shafqat Cheema is first-rate. Raheela Agha, the Lollywood veteran, has delivered an unforgettable performance. Ali Azmat is excellent. Two Lollywood “superstars” have a special guest appearance in the film (their presence has been kept away from the promotions). They add value to the film by their noteworthy performances.
Most movies turn VFX into a gimmicky tool, but Bilal is one of those rare storytellers who knows how to utilize the technology to his advantage and how it can enhance the overall theatrical experience. In this film, I can only state that the VFX results were simply stunning. The action is top-notch. The background score compliments the mood of the film.
On the whole, “The Legend of Maula Jatt” is a remarkable motion picture experience that’s backed by proficient direction, spellbinding screenwriting and superlative acting. For Bilal Lashari, it is the best title on an impressive filmography. It deserves to be seen on the big screen, hail “Lollywood”!