Feature Length Films

Mr. Khan’s Review on Laal Kabootar (2019)

A review on Pakistani Street-Thriller feature length film, Laal Kabootar (2019). The Production House is Nehr Ghar Films while its Distributor is Geo Films.



+ Crew

  • Directed by Kamal Khan
  • Written by Ali Abbas Naqvi
  • Cinematography by Mo Azmi
  • Music Composed by Taha Malik & Danial Hyatt
  • Produced by Kamil Cheema & Hania Cheema





Laal Kabootar is the debut film of Kamal Khan. Previously, he has worked on music videos as its director. The story is based on the common on-going crimes in Karachi, related land grabbing, mobile snatching, target killing and corruption.

The word ‘Laal’ may refer to the violence & bloodshed shown in the film. Other than that, it may also refer to the ‘Red cap’ and ‘Red car’, all indicating dangers related to these characters. As for ‘Kabootar’, it may directly refer to the main character, Adeel, who wants to escape the city for a better living.

The film’s shooting locations are the various areas in Karachi. Taha Malik is the music director while Danial Hyatt (son of Rohail Hyatt) composed the score. The majority of the actors used were of NAPA while the writer, Ali Abbas Naqvi is a very talented filmmaker from KU. He has written and acted in many realistic short films, including performed in multiple Teeli videos produced by Dawn Media Group.





+ Main Cast

  1. Ahmed Ali Akbar as Adeel Nawaz
  2. Mansha Pasha as Aliya Malik
  3. Rashid Farooqui as Inspector Ibrahim
  4. Mohammad Ahmed as Proprietor
  5. Saleem Miraj as Shop Keeper
  6. Syed Meesam Naqvi as Adeel’s Friend






+ Supporting Cast

  1. IR Omer as Police Officer #1
  2. Syed Arsalan as Thug #1
  3. Saad Zameer Fareedi as Thug #2
  4. Kaleem Ghouri as Office Attendant
  5. Akbar Islam as Adeel’s father
  6. Hamad Siddiq as Hamid
  7. Faiza Gillani as Ibrahim’s wife






+ Minor Cast

  1. Ali Kazmi as Noman Malik
  2. Shamim Hilaly as Aliya’s mother
  3. N/A as Ibrahim’s daughter
  4. SM Jameel as Police Officer #2
  5. Hassan Raza as Proprietor’s son
  6. Shabana Hassan as Hamid’s wife
  7. Raja Shahid Ali as Aliya’s friend




+ Plot

Adeel is desperately looking for a way out of the city, to Dubai for better living. But his only escape is through a woman who is looking for revenge.




+ High Points

i – A huge round of applause for Kamal Khan’s direction as huge credit goes to him for this film’s success and to shoot it in realism style of film making. His style of direction would give a tough time to other film makers and producers of our industry.

ii – I am surprised and very pleased to see that Syed Arsalan who played the one of the supporting roles as Thug #1 gave the best performance. He is not your ‘Baby Face’ actor as commercial heroes appear. But if he is given chance, I strongly believe that, he would prove himself worthy in the market. Arsalan made a strong impact on the audience with his solid performance, where many people, friends asked me of the actor’s background. He is one of the young performers from NAPA and just in the span of two years, is making name for himself. We should welcome such actors for the benefit of our industry. If we do, someday, these very same people would be making headlines in the market similar to well known, veteran Indian film stars such as Irfan Khan and Nawazuddin Siddiqui did.

iii – Saleem Miraj is a fantastic actor. To have him on-board was a good decision and the choice of role given to him. He has made his worth in the film by giving one of the memorable performances.

iv – Akbar Islam gave a very believable, heart touching performance as Adeel’s father who is needful and drug addicted. Though his scenes are short but are very compelling and emotional. Other Honorable Mentions: Rest of the cast.

v – A suitable props used in its production design to keep us within the barrier of reality. The shooting locations were very carefully chosen, to put up the mood and settings as per content of the film.

vi – Great work behind its editing, able to create more intensity.

vii – There is no doubt that the performances by Ahmed Ali, Mansha Pasha and Rashid Farooqui are admirable. But here the NAPA performers take the lead. They are the show stealers’ and deserved to be given high praises.

viii – We have an Easter egg here, where the makeup applied on Inspector Ibrahim during his scene shared with his daughter. It gave strong resemblance to the Joker’s makeup from the Hollywood, DC based film, The Dark Knight (2008). This meant to be a hidden message, intentionally put up in such a way as he goes on to killing spree. Nice work!

ix – Good effort behind the makeup and hair styling. The splatter of blood looked real, as did characters’ makeup such as of Hamid, Office Attendant, Adeel’s friend and many more, to show them aged and belonging to the lower class.

x – Thank God, the writer saved us from a cheap love story that often happens between the two main characters; forcing them to fall in love with each other somehow.

xi – In a feature length film of 105 minutes, having 1 – 2 songs are acceptable and appropriate.





+ Low Points

i – Great writing skill is shown when the writer is able to connect emotional link between his characters with the audience. If that happens, you would feel the joy or pain as the characters would. Here, instead of feeling the pain, the desperation of Adeel’s character to leave the city or Aliya’s great desire for revenge, instead I was more concerned for Adeel’s father well-being or for Inspector Ibrahim’s redemption for his loved ones or for the supporting cast.

The problem is that the main characters’ development and backstory was not well-established. People didn’t really feel for them as they should have been or as the writer wanted to. Yes, the conflict was there… we have the primary & the secondary antagonists but what was more important, essential for any story, that needed to be rooted first.

ii – The cinematography in the start was used as ‘Hand-Held’ camera. You can notice the camera shaking clearly. I have no objections to it, as I find it interesting during intense or fight scenes, similar to the popular Hollywood, DC based film, Man of Steel (2013). However, the scenes where the camera should have been stable such as during a normal conversation or calm moments or a close master shot to be taken…  the camera kept shaking. What’s the purpose of shooting in hand held in these scenes for?

Surprisingly, stable, smooth shooting takes place in the second half as if the BTS team hired a professional cinematographer afterwards. Irony is that, more intense scenes comes in the second half. Not only that but there were some unnecessary weird camera angles insertions were chosen as if someone is watching the main characters secretly from a distance or the angle of a CCTV camera is been taken. For what purpose? What’s the point of putting up for such camera angles for?

iii – In the end, there were still some questions left unanswered… such as what happened with Adeel’s drug addicted father? Who is taking care of him? Whatever become of the thug who survived? Since he played one of the vital supporting roles in the first half of the film, why he was never shown again? Didn’t he want to avenge the death of his friend? Or wanted a bigger share of the money that was planned to be looted? Why it was taking so long for a professional killer to strangle an ordinary person?

I am sorry but his injury wasn’t bad enough to take him that long to strangle someone. These are the unanswered important questions that were left behind for no reason.

iv – The story is not unique, new or thought-provoking thriller. I identified the mastermind and his henchman by a mile. However, it’s the treatment of the film and well written characters which gives the film edge.

v – Although the film came to its satisfying end but it was predictable. The thriller films especially, should not be predictable.

vi – There were 1 – 2 songs in the film but I hardly could remember any one of them or their lyrics.




+ Overall

Kamal’s superb direction, hyper-strong performances has put Laal Kabootar in the ranks of great style of film making.




Rate: 3.50 out of 5 stars


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