A review on a Pakistani Short Film, ‘Jeewan Hathi’ aka The Elephant in the Room (2016). The Production House is Matteela Films.
- Directed by Meenu Gaur and Farjad Nabi
- Director of Photography by Rana Kamran
- Written by Faseeh Bari Khan
- Edited by Armaghan Hasan
- Produced by Shailja Kejriwal and Mazhar Zaidi
These directors previous work was ‘Zinda Bhaq’ (2013). Jeewan Hathi was first screened at London Indian Film Festival as well. There was a hidden reference of the children’s story i.e. the race between turtle and the rabbit.
Although the full-length time is of 60 minutes but the film ended near 50 minutes or so. There were minor role performances by Jahangir Khan, Hammad Siddiq and Ali Abbas Naqvi.
+ Main Cast
- Fawad Khan as Husband
- Kiran Tabeir as Wife
- Hina Dilpazir as Show Host
- Saife Hasan as Director
- Naseeruddin Shah as Producer
- Adnan Jaffar as Competitor #1
- Samiya Mumtaz as Competitor #2
- Nazar Ul Hasan as Assistant Director
- Nimra Bucha as Guest
It centers on a lower-class couple, of a husband and wife. The wife dreams of having bigger inches LED TV at their home but the limited source of income does not fulfill this reality. One day she is watching a new morning show ‘Jeevan Hathi’ advertisement with the show’s host. The first two couples if selected would appear in the show for ‘Questions & Answers’ session related their love relationship to see which couple is the closest to each other. And the winners would be awarded with a 16″ LED TV as a bumper prize.
+ High Points
i – The lead actors i.e. Fawad Khan and Kiran Tabeir performances are very promising. Fawad who is considered one of the elite actors from NAPA, he has exceeded the audience expectations with his most convincing performance. On the other hand, Kiran has surprised us all. We as an audience had no idea that how well she would perform in this film. Marvelous, I tell you. I do believe that Fawad & Kiran would be very soon offered much bigger roles of different films and projects due to their excellent performances.
ii – The production design is good and eye catchy.
iii – As Nazar Ul Hasan is also one of the elite stars from NAPA, his performance was good but not great. However, due to his limited role therefore it’s acceptable and in good books.
iv – The premise of the film was very entertaining. Instead of short film, this story could have made a proper feature length film of almost 2 hours or so.
v – Saife Hasan acting was superb. It was a good decision to have him on board.
vi – The Act I and Act III were the most interesting. In the Act III, the intensity between Fawad and Kiran was enjoyable and splendidly handled.
vii – Ali Abbas Naqvi performance gave the best in the minor role.
+ Low Points
i – There is no as such role of Naseeruddin Shah. His inclusion in the film is wasted. Other stars, such as Samiya Mumtaz, Adnan Jaffar characters were given no back story. Adnan’s performance was not properly utilized. His character was doing such illogical actions which made ‘No Head or Tails’ (long before he gets drunk). During the film length, there are objects present in certain scenes or activities being done where one would wonder that Why is it here? Why would anyone do this? What is the motive behind it?
ii – The cinematography style suddenly changes during the mid-act where no reason is given. It’s such a change where even a person from general public can pin point it.
iii – There are some random jokes and intense activities are building up where there are absolutely no consequences are shown due to it; as if nothing actually happened.
iv – We as an audience did not cared about anyone except for two main lead characters of Fawad and Kiran. So, whatever was happening with other characters, there was no empathy or sympathy attached by the viewers.
v – The script (screen play) was mediocre. The dialogues of certain characters are unrealistic and irrelevant.
vi – Hina Dilpazir performance on several scenes was ‘Over the Top’.
vii – The Act II where the characters of Adnan and Samiya have sudden change, the punch lines were written in such a way whereas the film is forcing the audience to laugh either on their absurd dialogues or on these two characters’ weird actions.
viii – For me the Act II was the weakest scripted, performed and directed.
ix – A scene between Fawad and Jahangir, the frame of the shot kept cutting off Jahangir’s half face as the actors are talking to each other side by side.
x – As the intensity is building up, it raising upwards, so much happening, it’s CLIMBING AT THE PEAK AND… Then we have an abrupt end. Wha…? The audience could not believe. Most of them kept sitting and staring at the screen as the credits started to roll. When I started walking towards the exit, someone asked ‘Haiii… kya khatam hogai? (Did it just end?)
xi – Most of the people in the audience did not know that this film is actually a short film where they paid an actual cinema ticket price to watch at big screen. After the ending, as the audience started to walk by the exit — a guy asked me ‘What the hell was that?’ (Referring to length time of the film)
xii – The trailer of this film was very impressive and created a lot of interest to go and watch the film at the cinema. However, the film has several ups and downs like a bumpy ride. Keep it in mind that this is a short film, where the film at the cinema would be over very soon and that this film is for ADULT audience only. It’s up to you whether you want to go and watch the film or not.
xiii – It’s fair to be honest. If you are not expecting much from the film then you might like it. The story telling needs to improve and so does the script. I hope that next time they release it in feature length film.
A lot of things could have happened in Jeewan Hathi but did not which is why you would be left unsatisfied and disappointed.
Rate: 2.50 out of 5 stars