The jeep makes a sudden turn, a door swings wide open… the background score delivers just the right momentum and jazba to feel the thrill and there steps out Fahad Mustafa aka Inspector Gulab. I am sure if I were in my teens, or if I were seated in the awami confines of our very own Capri cinema, I would have been clapping, whistling, and making some noise instantly! Yes, that is the instant, knee jerk reaction Quaid e Azam Zindabad will elicit from audiences at several moments during the movie!
Before I launch into a full blown review, I have to and I must thank the Nabeel and Fizza duo for bringing back Quaid-e-Azam in our conversations. Do you recall the last time you spoke about him, you mentioned his name or you read something about him? Maybe 25th December last year, right?
Onwards to the review.
Police officer Gulab Khan, the son of an extremely honest police officer, whose motto in life is to make sure he makes as much money as possible by taking unfair advantage of his position, but only till his life turns upside down due to a dua his father makes to teach him a lesson about Halal and Haram. There begins the fight against corruption with politicians and within the police. Mahira Khan plays Jiya, a vet who fights for animal rights and soon turns into the love interest of Gulab Khan.
The film is a fantasy genre. Something quite original, unique, and refreshing. However, given the cynical nature of our audiences, the concern for this idea coming across as immature was a strong possibility. But kudos to the director, the minute the main twist occurs, he spins the comic element with full force so that even before the idea sinks in, you find yourself laughing out loud at the events that follow.
While the main twist is refreshingly original, this originality is lacking in the humor that we witness in the film. But again, Nabeel proves his mettle as a director when he executes some clichéd jokes in a novel way that elicits spontaneous laughter.
It is a movie that will evoke laughter, deliver top notch production quality and impress viewers with the above-par and well executed action sequences from Fahad Mustafa.
The film is devoid of lengthy, boring, or preachy dialogues. The scripting delivers short, concise, to-the-point conversation and a majority of the dialogues carry a message or are layered with double meaning, inducing laughter, at times impressing with the messages they’re sending out or simultaneously addressing the various pressure points within our social and political scenario.
The songs are fun to watch and audiences will find themselves humming at least one of the beats as they exit the cinema. Special mention for the song “ Dil Karay Dhak Dhak” where Fahad Mustafa loses sight of a hamster in Jiya’s room. The manner in which the song has been shot and edited is just wow – direction & execution are above par, (matching what we might have witnessed on global platforms), and is extremely fun to watch as well.
Quaid e Azam Zindabad is an out-and-out family watch and comes with its fair share of messages.
The cinematography rests on Karachi’s iconic buildings and landmarks, which is such a delight and pride to watch on the big screen.
It is heartening to note the firsts; that the Police force and its operations have been shown in great detail and in a positive light as well. The likes of Inspector Gulab Khan might just make young girls swoon over a police officer. We are hoping the depiction will also motivate the youth to consider a career in the Police Force.
The film also touches upon the significance of animal rights – a refreshing and much-needed initiative. The narrative raises awareness and makes audiences think about how they might treat animals in Pakistan and the need for the protection of animal rights. Plus, getting to see so many animals on the big screen makes for a fun watch on its own.
The film also employs mention-worthy VFX. In fact the visual effects demonstrated onscreen seemed quite impressive especially, from a Pakistan Film industry standpoint.
What Can Be Improved?
The movie scores high on the excitement scale and the story builds up reasonably towards the end. However, the narrative still lacks a substantial climax that would make one sit on the edge of their seats and wonder what happens next, or that will accelerate heart rates to thrill levels or bring an inevitable tear to the eyes. This is one area that needed to be scaled up. The end sequence was interesting and aroused curiosity as to the manner of its execution but somehow, didn’t evoke ample excitement or anxiety to elicit thunderous applause or a resounding nod of approval – a reaction we have been conditioned to expect from a ‘Nabeel and Fizza’ film.
A number of the action sequences are clearly inspired by Bollywood movies and in all honesty, several of the action sequences deliver a Hollywood feel, as if it has been seen and done before.
While the execution is praiseworthy and one can argue that the film is a step forward for Pakistan Cinema, going forward, we hope to see more original ideas.
How did Gulab Khan manage to reach the jail precincts all the way from the sea in a very short span of time? It’s not about being overly critical, but when one notes and appreciates the attention to detail throughout the film then any major or minor oversight at crucial points of the screenplay affects the impact of the movie.
Saleem Meraj, a seasoned actor, was probably not utilised to his full potential. It also felt inappropriate to depict him as a police officer who was struck repeatedly by Gulab Khan and who tore at his clothes in public. No doubt that the dialogues uttered by his character towards the end were impactful but those could have been delivered by any other talented actor and did not require Saleem Meraj to be cast in this particular role, given his experience and calibre.
Fahad Mustafa ruled the film by all standards. His onscreen persona is electrifying and confirms why he is a larger-than-life hero for the masses. Fahad Mustafa performs without any hesitation, without feeling conscious about how he will appear in a particular avatar; if the role demands it, he’ll do it. He makes Gulab Khan appear silly, funny, a bit fake at times, cheesy, cheeky, and subsequently, an all-out hero. The sober, emotional scenes could have been better executed perhaps. In a particular instance, the scene could have been taken up a notch. Maybe if Inspector Gulab was perceived to be viewing the pictures in a somber mood, rather than weeping.
Mahira Khan – Oh she is just love and weaves her magic spell from the very first scene. She fit the role like a glove and amassed instant Jiya fandom at the get-go. One could tell that Mahira was in her comfort zone, and not only enjoyed being Jiya, but totally owned the role.
Javed Sheikh Sahib is pure joy to watch. His onscreen chemistry with Fahad Mustafa is utterly genuine and hence it’s a treat to watch the duo on screen. It was also refreshing to see him in a different role from the ones he usually takes on.
A shout out to child actor Usman (son of DOP Rana Kamran) who plays young Gulab Khan. This young actor turned out an impressive performance. His expressions and body language stood out like the shining star that he was – Zabardast! We seem to have a budding actor on our hands.
Go watch Quaid e Azam Zindabad with the family for a good laugh, exciting action sequences, quirky and cute romance, and some great messages.
Have you watched Quaid e Azam Zindabad yet? Share your thoughts with us!