“Gulabo Rani”(Short Film Review): A Film About the Horrors Most Familiar to Us


“Gulabo Rani” is the story of Akhtar, a new student at 150-year old university. Due to a lack of space at the main two hostel wings, he is given a room in the dilapidated and infamously haunted wing C.

He hears stories about wing being haunted by the ghost of a courtesan or by the original principal; both of whom were murdered. However, these aren’t the most horrifying things on campus.

For those of us who have stayed at hostels in universities, we know it to be a scary and lonely experience, at least in the beginning. The incidents of ragging and physical abuse prevalent at most Pakistani universities makes it an especially harrowing experience.

“Gulabo Rani” is about these familiar horrors and how they take a toll on one’s mental health and sanity. And of course, they make one susceptible to the deeper horrors which lurk inside the walls of haunted buildings.

Usman Mukhtar’s “Gulabo Rani” deserves the accolades it has received, and in particular the Best Actor award for the lead performance by Usama Javaid Haider. He’s a talent to watch out for.

There is a refreshing lack of jump scares and the effective chills that trickle down your spine are aplenty. The approximately 30-minute runtime is used to its full potential, with the university hostel captured in its fully gothic essence at night.

Usman Mukhtar should direct a full fledged horror film and cast Usama Javaid Haider as the lead.  Both their talents deserve the silver screen treatment.

Written by Yousuf Mehmood


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