Khel Khel Mein 2021 is the first movie to be screened in post covid Pakistan, but that was not the sole reason it really caught our attention. The movie not only starred the nation’s much-loved actors, Bilal Abbas Khan and Sajal Ali, but the makers also declared that the project would address the taboo subject of the 1971 war. It sparked the interest of many people, but we’re sure it also led many, mainly the youth, to think… what is the big deal anyway?
Khel Khel Mein is single-mindedly, without doubt, a movie for the youth. Where this can be a positive factor and contribute towards the ultimate strength of the narrative, it can also lead to it losing viewership among other age groups, simply because of this very reason. Plus, the movie carries an almost zero romantic angle to it, which is interesting. Hence, if KKM does make it big at the box office & among critics, it will be reflective of the great talent of the team – Nabeel and Fizza of Filmwala Pictures, as well as the elevated level of maturity in audiences.
The character potrayals, art direction, the look and feel of the film, the scenarios, the language, the jokes, the issues confronting the cast, are all refreshingly youth-based.
The movie contains humor, is fast-paced, depicts an apt portrayal of college life, keeps you engaged, involves drama coupled with a patriotic element as well. And yes, it also boasts a near perfect casting experience. Credit must be given to the creators that one can clearly identify three definite teams in the movie; Pakistan, Bangladesh, and India with respect to dressing, behavior, and accents.
The Story, Performances & Execution
The topic of the 1971 war is not a simple topic to address by any stretch of the imagination, and to state it was all based on a sazish, in our humble opinion, will not be a fair representation of the situation. However, the movie must be credited for taking on this issue, starting conversations, and depicting at least one aspect of the issue very clearly and in an engaging, impactful manner.
KKM walks us through the plight that some Pakistanis face in Bangladesh. Hence, the movie will also, hopefully, make the youth (and those who question the creation of Pakistan), appreciate independence.
So to say the least, we hope that this project will motivate people to look back on the events that shape their present and try to unearth facts and educate themselves, thus becoming more aware about what really happened.
Standout Performances That Are A Treat To Watch!
Bilal Abbas Khan delivers an impressive performance and despite his reveal in an interview that “it is a simple character”, the role actually gives him an opportunity to display the enormous range of talent he is capable of. You get to see him transition from a carefree, non-serious student, to a passionate Pakistani who wants to make amends. His performance in the stage play within the film itself is worth watching. Bilal’s onscreen presence is both intense and attention grabbing – you catch him throwing expressions and using body language in a range of rhythmic movements like never before!
The great part about the movie is that in addition to witnessing impressive performances by known names of the industry like Javed Sheikh, Marina Khan, Manzar Sehbai, Samina Ahmed, and Sheheryar Munawar, it also features a group of new faces, and thankfully, they all get a chance to display their talent as actors. It won’t be surprising to see some of these newbies take on other, notable projects very soon.
The film features four songs, all used aptly. ‘Nayi Soch’ has already acquired hummable status, even as you walk out the cinema. The tune is happily addictive. The new rendition of “Hum laaye hain toofan sey kashtee nikaal ke” will make you tear up with patriotic zeal and might also add to the sad quotient as you witness the reality depicted within the frames.
The play staged by the Pakistani team in the film is fairly impressive on the eyes; the theme, the choreography, the effects they use, the poetry, the dialogues, are all impactful, poetic, and layered with meaning, which makes it a worthy watch.
The production quality, the cinematography, the sets, the costumes, the sequence of events leading to the creation of Dhaka are all par excellence and make the movie a visually aesthetic experience. Needless to say, as a Pakistani, you feel proud to watch such a well-executed venture. The war scenes are realistic and impactful, hence they affect you on an emotional level.
Message Behind The Film
At the end of the day, KKM is an attempt to clarify Pakistan’s position in the 1971 war, and the allegation faced by Pakistanis since then. It calls upon Pakistanis to stop taking undue blame, and to stop avoiding this topic due to a sense of underlying guilt, face reality, own up, clarify, and call for Bangladesh to also realize what really happened. This might not be a 100% representation of what transpired 50 years ago, but it does hold true on many counts. We’re still not sure how Bangladesh will welcome this narrative as it plays on the anti-Indian sentiment!
KKM also talks about the plight of Pakistanis in Bangladesh – a sad reality that might move you to look at how minorities are treated in Pakistan. The truth always hits hard when it hits near home.
What could have been improved
Fight scenes between students definitely needed to be better executed and required more vigor and feel (which we witnessed throughout the rest of the movie).
We do wish the film had shown a clear picture of what happened to dada…unless KKM part 2 is on the cards for a return to Dhaka & maybe, the possibility of a much wanted romance between Zara and Saad
Zara’s wardrobe choices as she visits Bangladesh seemed too cliched for a Pakistani desi girl. We would have liked to see a wardrobe that represents a college-going girl from Pakistan: trendy prints, cuts, and a mix of eastern and western.
Two songs were screened back to back, so maybe there could have been a wider gap between them.
The college narrative in the first half was a bit stretched or could have been shortened by about 15 minutes. The college setting, while uplifting and visually pleasing, seemed overly cheerful, given that it was the Institute of Management Sciences and some very intellectual and serious-minded people seem to be graduating from there.
Not to undermine the movie and the monumental effort behind it, but going forward, if a project is ever to be made on this topic again, some points we hoped that could have been addressed in this movie include: maybe a clear apology while explaining one significant sazish or the start of that war. If not that, (albeit not a realistic expectation), then at least clear ownership of one’s actions would have been a starting point for all parties to begin the healing process. One must never forget, lest one is ever faced with a situation like that again, or recall the oppression we might have faced once.
A must-watch. KKM is a thought-provoking family movie with humor, action and plenty of drama.
Please Note: Although Khel Khel Mein has been screened as a fictional narrative, however, due to the sensitive nature of the theme, we hope & expect that, in portraying the events depicted (as well as the plight of Pakistanis in Bangladesh),
the makers have backed the project with comprehensive research & verified data.