Abu Aleeha’s filmography offers a unique case. He has been jumping between different genres like horror (Kataksha), revenge thriller (Tevar), horror-comedy (Udham Patakh) and crime thriller (Daadal). While the trailer of “Jawed Iqbal: The Untold Story of a Serial Killer” (now the title has been changed to “Kukri”) promised some extraordinary content, most of his released films have proven to be half-baked. With “Super Punjabi”, however, Aleeha finally seems to have found a ground where he can play with ease.
The Script is a Mixed Bag
Unlike some recently released films like “Huey Tum Ajnabi”, the plot of “Super Punjabi” is simple yet effective. It introduces about a dozen characters throughout the story but most of the times, if not always, it happens smoothly. The only character whose presence doesn’t add to the story and serves no purpose is that of Inspector Fawad Khan played by Qaiser Piya. He is there for one scene and that is the least funniest one; a waste of an otherwise talented actor and comedian. The screenplay is disjointed at times but manages to work for the given plot. The dialogues are inconsistent in quality; from clichéd dialogues during romantic and drama parts to the fine Punjabi one-liners, the graph keeps going up and down throughout.
A Comic Relief
Unlike most Punjab based films of the revived cinema, “Super Punjabi” is not a rom-com around family drama. It, therefore, doesn’t has to rely too much on heavy emotion stimulating dialogues and spending too much of a time on baking a love story, which ultimately helps in keeping the comedy proportion of the film high. However, by doing so it compromises on character development by providing its characters some backstory and banks heavily on comedy.
For comedy, the film offers both, the slapstick as well as jokes (Punjabi Jugats). Its jokes might offend a woke cinegoer outside Punjab for making fun of someone’s appearance but that’s what the quintessential Punjabi humor in Punjabi theatre (in West Punjab) and Punjabi films (in East Punjab) has been thriving on. The one-liners are hilarious in most parts and they are not crass, infact, the humor is quite family-friendly.
Music is the Highlight of Film
Music of “Super Punjabi” is another plus point of the film. It features a romantic song, a shadi number, a sad song, a sufi song and an upbeat title track. Sami Khan has composed some fine songs with vocals by Naseebo Lal, Feriha Pervez, Mohsib Abbas and others. Choreography by Wahab Shah is also reasonably good. The background score by Ali Allah Ditta, Bilal Allah Ditta works really well for most part for a comedy film but gets bit loud at times.
Some Good and Some Very Bad Performances
Film showcases some fine performances by all male actors. Mohsin Abbas Haider (plays ‘Sakhi Jatt’) is brilliant as male lead. From comedy scenes to romance and then for a brief intense emotional part, he shines in every scene. He even outshines the female lead in the shadi number with his energetic dance moves and on-point expressions. The other male actors and comedians, Nasir Chinyoti (as Miskeen Butt), Iftikhar Thakur (as Zaid Gill), Adnan Shah Tipu (as Jazzy), Saqib Sameer (as Jaggi) and Saleem Albela (as Abid Pambeeri) are good too. Saima Baloch, who wowed the audiences in “The Legend of Maula Jatt” even in her brief role, disappoints here big time. Her dialogue delivery, expressions, body language, everything is bad. Sana Fakhar is fine as the sexy-looking exploitative wife. The third female actor, Rukhma Gul (playing wife of Nasir Chinyoti) is reasonably good in her brief part.
An Improvement in Aleeha’s Filmography
As director, Aleeha finally got his hands on a genre he can play well with. While there’s so much room for improvement as the film lacks finesse particularly in script writing, nevertheless, this one is a better product than his previous offerings. A clear improvement is visible in both the production and post production work of the film. For a film based in Punjab, the film looks bright, colourful and rich with good lighting, right colour pallet and decent grading. The DOP Arsad Khan, who has previously worked on films like “Bachaana” and “Chhalawa”, has done a decent job too.
“Super Punjabi” is certainly not the finest film to come out in recent years but it can be a good one time watch if you manage to sit through a few dragged scenes in first half. In the currently heated up political environment of the country and specifically Punjab, it might provide a few hours detox with a few laughs. If you are a fan of Indian Punjabi films and Pakistani Punjabi theatre, you might enjoy watching this one.