Feature Length Films

Mr. Khan’s Review on Karachi Se Lahore (2015)

A review on Pakistani Comedy feature length film, Karachi Se Lahore (2015). The Production House is Showcase Productions while its Distributor is IMGC Global Entertainment.

+ Crew

  • Directed, Story & Produced by Wajahat Rauf
  • Cinematography by Rana Kamran
  • Written by Yasir Hussain
  • Edited by Hasan Ali Khan
  • Music by Sur Darwaish

+Note

Karachi Se Lahore is the first Pakistani road-trip film which covers the 36 hours journey from Karachi to Lahore in real time, where the characters face obstacles, overcome them and undergo personal growth. There were some cameo appearances by NAPA’s talented stars in the film such as Rauf Afridi, Akbar Islam and Erum Bashir.

This film’s sequel was released in 2016 by the name as ‘Lahore Se Aagey’ while having Yasir Hussain and Saba Qamar in lead roles.

+ Main Cast

  1. Shehzad Sheikh as Zaeem
  2. Ayesha Omer as Maryam
  3. Ahmed Ali as Sam
  4. Aashir Wajahat as Zeezo
  5. Yasir Hussain as Mutazalzal a.k.a. Moti
  6. Javed Sheikh as Tiwana
  7. Eshita Syed as Ayesha (Aashi)

+ Plot

Zaeem learns that his longtime girlfriend Ayesha is marrying her cousin in Lahore, he decides to stand up for himself for the first time in his life and go to Lahore to stop the wedding where a group of five people decide to take a road trip from Karachi to Lahore which carries nothing but full of mishaps.

+ High Points

i – Yasir Hussain and Ahmed Ali performances are good. It’s kinda funny to see that the supporting cast did a better job in performances than the lead stars.

ii – The character of Mutazalzal a.k.a. Moti is well written and enjoyable.

iii – The humor is light hearted without using any vulgarity or cheap jokes. Some punch lines are very amusing.

iv – End credits song is good to listen to.

+ Low Points

i – Terrible product placements throughout the film where one would <CORNETTO! Its meaning Little Horn in Italian is a branded frozen dessert cone> forget the film but all he would ever remember is the advertisement <It is available in a variety of flavors, including strawberry, mint chocolate, nut,> that he watched in PKR 500/-, which is the average ticket price of the cinema.

<lemon, whippy i.e. yogurt flavor with a chewy chocolate, valentine’s day flavors> The sudden insertions of these bizarre product placements during <and Cornetto soft ice cream that comes in chocolate chip> the film just ruins the mood of watching it with <cookie dough, vanilla, chocolate, and double chocolate> interest. When will these guys ever learn?

ii – It’s a time pass, fun film. Just don’t even try to make ‘Head or Tails’ of this film. It’s not worth it.

iii – Ayesha Omer who was dressed up like a nerd, fully clothed desi social girl is all of a sudden decides to transform herself into smart, skin tight revealing western clothes in front of bunch of guys and younger brother.

+ Overall

Karachi Se Lahore is a good time pass, high-spirited film without taking itself seriously.

Rate: 2.50 out of 5 stars

Theatre Plays

Mr. Khan’s Review on Commedia D’ell Arte (2017)

A review on a Foreign Comedy Drama theatre play, Commedia D’ell Arti (2017). It was performed at NAPA’s International Theatre Festival 2017.

+ Crew

  • Directed by Marco Luly

+ Note
Commedia D’ell Arti is a form of theatre that originated in Italy in the 16th century and quickly spread all across Europe. It plays a crucial role in the development of Western Theatre.

+ Full Cast

  1. Marco Luly as Host #1
  2. Vajdaan Shah as Jester
  3. Kashif Hussain as Wine Seller
  4. Haris Khan as Zamin / Servant
  5. Aqeel Ahmed as Beggar / Missing Husband
  6. Shajahan Narejo as Critic
  7. Shumaila Taj as Host #2
  8. Irma Ali as Girl Friend
  9. Bani Mirza as Mistress / Lady from the Audience
  10. Hamza Sheikh as Spectator
  11. Asma Noor as Fortune Teller
  12. Nauman Qazi as Announcer
  13. Muneeb Ur Rehman as Entertainer
  14. Sadaf Hirani as Wife
  15. Zeerak Khan Niazi as Lover Boy

 

 

+ Plot
It is a play of many short stories, related to every character, who at first performs like a spectator and listening to the ‘Host #1’ speech.

+ High Points
i – Aqeel Ahmed is a wonderful performer and always leaves his mark of the fantastic performances in his plays.

ii – Bani Mirza performed very gracefully, with strong self-belief and glamour. Though it was funny to see how the majority of the audience was taking it literally that the ‘Host’ wanted someone from them to perform. Some of the people were either shouting their or other people names as a better option than that girl in the front.

It was clear that Bani was planted but many didn’t realize that. And talking about of the girl, she seemed very nervous and seemed almost real that she is just a random girl who is forced to perform.

But the next thing you know is that she is performing with such confidence level where she knows exactly what to say without any nervousness. It is (almost) certain that the director’s intend was to show the girl as though she is part of the audience till she agrees to step on-stage. And once she is on the stage, then it does not matter if the audience does realizes by now that it was a part of the performance this whole time.

+ Low Points
i – Honestly, I am not a fan of such plays although the audience was enjoying it a lot. For people like me, we need to make up our minds before watching these kinds of plays in able to enjoy and digest them easily.

ii – Some of the stories were okay while some were just there to fill the gap.

+ Overall
Pleasant when it works, Commedia D’ell Arti is based mainly in the interplay between the characters and the audiences while the director’s brash speech is a kind of warm Italian comedy.

Rate: 3.0 out of 5 stars

TV series

Mr. Khan’s Review on Ankahi (1982)

A review on Pakistani Classic Comedy Drama TV serial, Ankahi aka Untold (1982). It’s Production House and its Distributor is PTV Network (Lahore Studio).

+ Crew

  • Directed by Shoaib Mansoor & Mohsin Ali
  • Written by Hasina Moin
  • Music by Arshad Mehmood

+ Note

Ankahi aired on PTV Network was released on March – May 1982. In total, it consists of 14 episodes. The story revolves around a young girl, Sana Murad who has strong ambitions to become big. With a mere luck, she is hired at an office as a secretary to a business man, Taimoor Ahmad. The relationship between the two is shown while Faraz, her best friend’s fiancée’s friend falls in love with Sana. This is Shehnaz Sheikh’s 2nd TV series to appear in.

Ankahi was one of the most popular drama serial in the early 1980s in Pakistan. Most of the cast then went on to work in a similar Pakistani TV drama serial, Tanhaiyaan (1986). This TV series is remembered for its witty dialogue and the candid role of Sana, played by Shehnaz Sheikh.

The theatre adaption of this classic TV series, Ankahi is shortened the 14-episode drama to 90 minutes. Model-actress, Amna Ilyas will play Sana Murad, originally played by Shehnaz Sheikh. This will be Amna’s theatre debut. The director, Dawar Mehmood of Kopykats Production, veteran actor, Sajid Hasan and theatre actor, Saqib Sameer are producing the musical adaptation. It is all set to hit the stage on 20th Oct 2020.

+ Main Cast

  1. Shehnaz Sheikh as Sana Murad
  2. Shakeel as Taimoor Ahmad
  3. Javed Sheikh as Faraz Afreedi

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+ Supporting Cast

  1. Saleem Nasir as Shehryar / Mamoo
  2. Jamshed Ansari as Tameez-u-ddin / Timmy
  3. Faisal Bilal as Jibran Murad
  4. Badar Khalil as Zakia Begum
  5. Behroze Sabzwari as Moby
  6. Qazi Wajid as Siddiqui Sahib
  7. Tabassum Farooqi as Marium
  8. Rehana Saigol as Dr. Fouzia
  9. Azra Mansoor as Apaa Bii
  10. N/A as Timmy’s Mother
  11. Misbah Ishaaq / Khalid as Saara
  12. Arshad Mehmood as Sajjad
  13. Siraj-Farooq Nizami as ‘Thoii’ Guy

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+ Minor Cast

  1. N/A as Abeer / Mrs. Taimoor
  2. N/A as Office Attendant
  3. N/A as Police Inspector
  4. N/A as Drugs Smuggler
  5. N/A as Peon
  6. N/A as Mr. Javed (Cameo)
  7. N/A as Insurance Guy (Cameo)
  8. N/A as Marium’s Father
  9. N/A as Marium’s Step-Mother
  10. N/A as Marium’s Fiancée
  11. N/A as Marium’s Father-in-Law

+ Plot

In the early death of her father, Sana Murad starts working as secretary at Taimoor Ahmad’s office. There, the two’s relationship of Secretary and Boss is shown. Faraz Afreedi, who later becomes her office colleague, falls in love with her.

+ High Points

i – This is a very well written story and script by one of the most well-famed TV writers, Hasina Moin. We all know and familiar of her other great works such as Tanhaiyaan (1986), Kiran Kahani (1973), Dhoop Kinaray (1987) and Parchaiyan (1976). She has won one of the most prestigious awards including the Pride of Performance Award in 1987.

ii – The level of humor is not only very amusing but also very unique and brilliant thinking of the early 1980s. Several TV series including Bollywood film, Chal Mere Bhai (2000) tried to capture same level of humor through the lead heroine as did Shehnaz Sheikh did as Sana Murad in this classic TV series, Ankahi.  

iii – A great round of applause to Shoaib Mansoor and Mohsin Ali who did a great work behind its direction. The dynamic duo bought a greatly written TV series to life, as one of the best TV dramas of our time.

Best scenes that I consider are:

  • When Timmy gets to know that he has just been sold out by Mamoo, his quick earning neighbor and best friend. This makes Timmy furious and then he starts to blunt out and show his neighbors’ true faces to Zakia Begum.
  • The over excited Moby visits the beach, to cool himself in the sea shore. But to his ‘Bad’ luck, he is attacked by a Red Indian.

iv – Top starswere chosen in this TV series, to be part of the cast. Celebrities such as Salim Nasir, Jamshed Ansari, Shakeel, Behroze Sabzwari, Badar Khalil, Qazi Wajid are the best listed stars still considered today.

v – Shehnaz Sheikh as Sana Murad, plays as one of the main leading roles of this TV series. In the starting of the episodes, she is shown as a strong-headed, ambitious and clumsy type of young woman with no prior work experience.

With passage of time, she greatly improves and builds a solid relationship with her strict, aged boss. Shehnaz has given an excellent performance in this iconic role and is often recognized as Sana Murad instead. She is one of those rare stars who a very short-time TV career and has appeared in as one of the main characters in two classic TV series.  

vi – Salim Nasir plays as Shehryar / Mamoo, plays as an uncle to Sana Murad and is unemployed. He tries to find clever ways to earn quick money, even if he has to ‘Sell’ his long-time friend to his relative or give ill-fated advices, random predictions in exchange for some cash. Still, with all that attributes, Shehryar is shown as a very loving, caring character to his loved ones and friends.

This is one of the two classic TV series Salim Nasir will always be remembered by. His unfortunate, untimely death shook his fans, celebrities and the rest of the world. Salim Nasir is one of the precious gems of our TV industry, who is still greatly missed to this very day.  

vii – Late Jamshed Ansari plays as Tameez-u-ddin / Timmy, a dear neighbor and friend to Mamoo. He plays a significant role as a ‘Butler’ to Badar Khalil’s character, Zakia Begum. Jamshed was a fine artist, who often played drama theme characters. Here too, the viewers witness him sacrificing his love for the greater good. Other Honorable Mentions: Behroze Sabzwari.

viii – Faisal Bilal’s character, Jibran is written as one of the strongest supporting character. At his young age, the viewers can see how well this non-professional actor played his part. And to everyone’s surprise, Ankahi is first and only TV drama that he starred in.  

ix – The performances of the entire cast is very enjoyable. Everyone did a great job in playing their respected roles. 

x – Having total 14 episodes, it winds up the story properly.

+ Low Points

i – Once Dr. Fouzia is introduced, the excitement to watch this TV series starts to decline. Her character was shown in the later episodes, to show a love building relationship with Shehryar / Mamoo character. I can’t say that I enjoyed watching her scenes.  

ii – The ‘Romantic’ relationship between the secretary and her boss is indirectly implicated. However, there is more than that. Due to the viewer censorship in Pakistan, the affair between the two is vastly downplayed. One might say that this is very cleverly shown. However, I disagree.   

iii – The first 8 episodes are wonderful, full of comedy. You will find memorable comic scenes in them. But after that, slowly and gradually, Ankahi starts to become serious. It will no longer have similar kind of laughs as it did in the starting of the episodes.

iv – Siraj-Farooq Nizami plays the character of Thoii Guy, who is a great miser and stubborn in leaving the rented place. His character doesn’t help with the story progress. His presence is only available to be one of the comic relief character. The value to his character linked with the story is useless and unworthy.

v – Barely do we see anyone except for Sana Murad and Faraz Afreedi at the office, as co-workers.

+ Overall
Though, the later episodes, takes a dark turn towards seriousness, Ankahi still manages to gives us a few good laughs before coming to a decent end.

Rate: 3.75 out of 5 stars

TV series

Mr. Khan’s Review on Neeyat (2011)

A review on Pakistani Drama TV series, Neeyat aka Intention (2011). Its Production House is Six Sigma Plus while its Distribution is done by ARY Television Network.

+ Crew

  • Edited & Directed by Mehreen Jabbar
  • Written by Larry Pontius
  • Cinematography by Stephen Lang
  • Music by Waqar Ali
  • Produced by Samina Humayun Saeed & Shahzad Nasib

+ Note

Neeyat aired on ARY Digital from 24th Jun – 21st Nov 2011. In total, it consists of 20 episodes. It is about emotions that still exist within few inhabitants of an emotionless society of New York, as they have their roots back to the socially bonded society of Pakistan. Almost the entire shooting took place at Manhattan; NYC.

Mehreen Jabbar is the daughter of the fame former director, Javed Jabbar and niece of Beo Zafar. The opening theme song, ‘Kaise Bataaoon Saathiya’ sung by the popular singer, Sajjad Ali. The wardrobe used throughout the TV series is of winter clothes… which tell us to how much the weather must be freezing at the time of the shoot.

Neeyat happens to be the first TV project of the highest paid Pakistani actress, Mahira Khan. The writer, Larry Pontius debuts his wife & actress, Deepti Gupta in her first Pakistani TV series as one of the leading roles.

Warning: There are SPOILERS ahead!

+ Main Cast

  1. Humayun Saeed as Sikandar
  2. Mahira Khan as Ayla
  3. Ahsan Khan as Ismail
  4. Deepti Gupta as Mariam

xxxxxxx

+ Supportive Cast

  1. Gulfam Ramay as Gul G
  2. Ismat Zaidi as Sikandar’s Mother
  3. Shehryar Zaidi as Sikandar’s Father

xxxxxxx

+ Minor Cast

  1. Omar Rahim as Ayla’s Brother
  2. Farah Bala as Mariam’s Friend
  3. Arooj Majid as Mariam’s Mother*

*Not confirmed

+ Plot

Ayla proposes a plan of having her long-time boyfriend, Sikandar to marry to a US citizen, Mariam. This will get his hands-on green card to live and work in USA. However, Mariam has plans of her own.

+ High Points

i – Mahira Khan portrays as Ayla, one of the main lead characters of this TV series. Even though, this is her first performance as an actress, yet, she has done a good job in playing her role as loving, caring girlfriend of Sikandar who gets the wrong impression of her boyfriend, having illicit relationship with Mariam, who was hired to play a tag-along wife as Paper-Marriage for the sake of green card. This may not be one of her best performances. Still, her performance turns out to be the best one from the lot.

ii – Humayun plays one of the leads and has his production house is behind Neeyat. Only Deepti turns out to be a new actress. So was Mahira Khan, at the time of this TV series release. Ahsan Khan is a good addition to the cast.

iii – In the last few episodes, the chemistry between Ayla and Sikandar gets a bit of interesting when they start meeting again.

iv – Deepti Gupta as Mariam, has nicely performed. Her character is shown as shrewd, cunning one who wants a Live, successful relationship with a man who is willing to make her his bride. And, Sikandar happens to be the one for it. This is the debut performance for Deepti Gupta for a Pakistani TV series.

+ Low Points

i – Neeyat is plays out in an extraordinary ‘Snail’ pace speed.

ii –There is a huge problem of having lack of sub plots. The ones which are available are good enough to sleep through.

iii – There is almost nothing to watch. I bet that you already have much interesting things to do in life.

iv – The makeup & hair styling department should have given a much needed makeover for Mariam’s bad hairdo. I can’t really say why but throughout the episodes, her hairstyle kept bugging me.

v – Calling Ayla’s boyfriend with his full first name as ‘Sikandar’ is much better than calling by his nickname as ‘Sikki’. You may think that I’m exaggerating but I’m not. To hear this nickname all the time from his parents to Ayla, to every person he knows, soon, would make you get very annoyed as well.

vi – No real effort behind the production design. Plain white walls with some props, will you make you bore easily.

vii – As if having almost no chemistry between Sikandar and Ayla wasn’t enough… there is also absolute no chemistry between Mariam and Sikandar or Ayla and Ismail or even Mariam and Ismail.

viii – It would have been a much better decision if the roles of the parents were excluded from this TV series. There is no story of their own but to always see them having arguments over their son / daughter’s decision over this green card.  

ix – After get to know of Mariam’s past life,didn’t left us viewers astonished or thrilled as it was hinted in the starting of the episodes.

x – After watching this TV series, I’m really glad that Larry (writer) didn’t write another Pakistani TV series again. I owe you one!

xi – Having 20 episodes for a Pakistani TV series, is normally considered less nowadays. However, Neeyat having such a limited 4-characters story going back and forth tells us that a total of 12 episodes would have been most suitable.

+ Overall
Even after having a good director and strong lead cast, Neeyat could not be saved from its ultimate doom.

Rate: 0.75 out of 5 stars

TV series

Mr. Khan’s Review on Jackson Heights (2014 – 15)

A review on Pakistani Rom-Drama TV series, Jackson Heights (2014 – 15). Its Production House is Six Sigma Plus while its Distribution is done by Urdu 1 Television.

 

 

 

+ Crew

  • Directed by Mehreen Jabbar
  • Written by Vasay Chaudhry
  • Cinematography by Nausheen Dadabhoy
  • Creative Directed by Wajahatullah Khan
  • Produced by Humayun Saeed and Shahzad Nasib

 

 

 

 

 

+ Note

Jackson Heights aired on Urdu 1 from 19th Sep 2014 – 20th Mar 2015. In total, it consists of 27 episodes. The story revolves around six Pakistanis living in Jackson Heights a suburb in Queens, New York. The shooting locations is mainly Jackson Heights, Queens and Karachi; Pakistan.

Mehar Jaffri is the younger sister of the actress, Ainy Jaffri. The opening theme song, “Laiyaan, Laiyaan” is sung by Saad Sultan.

 Jackson Heights was aired in India on Zindagi on 1st Sept till 24th Oct 2015. It was an instant hit.

 

 

Warning: There are SPOILERS ahead!

 

 

 

 

+ Main Cast

  1. Noman Ejaz as Imran Bhatti
  2. Aamina Sheikh as Salma
  3. Adeel Hussain as Jamshed
  4. Marina Khan as Michelle
  5. Adnan Jaffar as Rizwan
  6. Ali Kazmi as Sikandar

 

 

 

xxxxxxx

 

 

+ Supportive Cast

  1. Mehar Jaffri as Aliya
  2. Neelofar Abbasi as Sikandar’s Mother
  3. Naghma Begum as Bhatti’s Mother
  4. Monsoon Bissell as Kathy
  5. Almaas Hussain as Emaan
  6. Ahmad Razvi as Javed
  7. Taimur Syed as Kash
  8. N/A as Bhatti’s Brother
  9. Zareen* as Bhatti’s Sister-in-Law
  10. Taimoor Qureshi as Adnan
  11. Alma Moos Nunez as Isabella
  12. Theo Van Golen as Mark
  13. Rida Asfahani as Jamshed’s GF
  14. Fahad Ahmad as Jamshed’s Friend

 

 

 

xxxxxxx

 

 

+ Minor Cast

  1. Tara Mehmood as Jamshed’s Friend’s Mom
  2. Nausheen Masood as Maria
  3. Shehzaad Ali Khan as Jamshed’s Friend’s Boss
  4. Imran Mirza as Office Colleague*
  5. Zain Masood as Neighbor*
  6. Ahtesham Khanira as Stranger*
  7. Ali Murawat as Cabbie#1*
  8. Usman Mir as Passer By*
  9. Moin Ahmad as Man in Restaurant#1*
  10. Qazim Raza as Man in Restaurant#2*
  11. Muhammad Arshad as Cabbie#2*
  12. Shehryar Khan as Lawyer*
  13. Asim Rajput as Co-Worker*
  14. Aslam Mughal* as Bhatti’s Nephew
  15. Mehreen Jabbar as Customer (Cameo)

 

 

 

*Not confirmed

 

 

 

+ Plot

It follows the lives of overseas Pakistanis and Indian living in the Jackson Heights neighborhood of New York City in Queens.

 

 

 

 

+ High Points

i – Nauman Ejaz portrays as Imran Bhatti, the main lead character of this TV series. Nauman has ever given a performance which is less than great. His kind personality and to help others out of his way, have made Bhatti sb as an instant hit for the viewers to fall in love with his character.

ii – Aamina Sheikh as Salma, who is stuck with an abusive marriage within her relatives. She is tormented by her ugly hearted mother-in-law and ex-convict con-man husband. The only reason she stays behind is because of under 18 years of age step-daughter. Her daughter is the only ally of this ill-fated marriage. I have watched several works of Aamina Sheikh. But in JH, she has given an extraordinary performance as a responsible wife, a loving mother and a caring close friend to Bhatti sb. Thumbs up!

iii – Adeel Hussain portrays as Jamshed, as one of the antagonists of JH. Adeel has given a really convincing performance as a shrewd, cunning and selfish character. A person who will do anything to achieve his goal. As a reviewer, this is rare but I have never watched his TV work before. And his film work isn’t really great either. But this role of his, would always be the memorable one of his career. Other Honorable Mentions: Adnan Jaffar, Mehar Jaffri and Naghma Begum.

iv – Finally, after Ramchand Pakistani, I would like to give a high five to Mehreen Jabbar on her awesome direction. Her team work with the writer turns out to be a great decision.

v – The writing has played a great role to this TV series success. Vasay Chaudhry has able to write a perfect script which focuses on six expatriates working in New York City.

vi – The opening theme song, Laiyan, Laiyan sung by Saad Sultan is very well verse, good song to listen to. Soon, it was on the tip of my tongue. I was singing in each episode’s start and in its end during the credits roll.

vii – As far as the characters are concerned, they are well-written and given a meatier roles for their performers to play them. Such as:

  1. Imran Bhatti’s personality is shown as down to earth, simple and friendly nature. He is shown as good nature husband to his highly unattractive & rude foreign wife. Bhatti sb is shown as a very concerned & forgiving step-father to her children. He even intentionally keeps the dark secret to Salma’s husband’s illegal activities to himself and confronts her abusive husband very bravely. His ultimate decision to visit Pakistan in the exchange of the green card, to meet his dying beloved mother is something which leaves the viewers very emotionally attached towards him.
  2. The antagonist characters of Jamshed and Imran Bhatti’s Brother are kept it very true and closer to the reality. In their negativity, we were still able to see their genuine sadness and tears for their loved one. This is something very rare to see and acknowledge in our TV dramas.

viii – I am very satisfied with JH’s finale. Good job, I must say. Bringing such a wonderful TV series to a proper, respectable end.

ix – There are two best scenes in terms that I considered them most intriguing to watch. Such as:

  1. Where Jamshed fools Rizwan to spill out his anger and hatred towards him while Michelle is secretly listening.
  2. Almost, all of Imran Bhatti’s major scenes are interesting. Scenes such as his emotional scene with his bed ridden mother, his friendly chats with Salma and many more. But, I will go for his vital decision of losing his of green card for permanent basis and return back to his gravely ill mother.

x – It’s a good decision to see that an Indian origin character is not shown in bad light but rather, one of the Pakistani origin characters is. It shows that the writer is not biasis to admit that not all our people have a good heart.

 

 

 

 

 

+ Low Points

i – JH starts real’ slow. It will take approximately first 5 – 6 episodes at least to gain some interest.

ii – The small roles of Rida Asfahani and Fahad Ahmad is almost useless. In the starting of the episodes, they have some strong lead. After that, they almost make cameo appearances.

iii – Whenever I tell someone that JH consists of total, 27 episodes, believe me, they make a face. Honestly, 20 – 22 episodes for any TV drama is enough. Though, JH does justice with the number of total episodes. Still, I think that 3 – 4 episodes can easily be cut down.

iv – There are some continuity issues in the mid episodes. Such as, two characters interacting with each other. At one camera angle, they are standing only mere inches apart while at a different camera angle they are 2 – 3 feet apart. Other example if of the character Michelle. In one scene, she has old greyish hair. In the same episode, she suddenly has light brown dye hair. It keeps changing in the same 2 – 3 episodes.

 

 

 

 

+ Overall
Jackson Heights is a perfect example of a great team work between the director, writer, producer and star cast.

 

 

 

 

Rate: 4.25 out of 5 stars

 

Theatre Plays

Mr. Khan’s Review on Da Bhagi Marg (2017)

A review on Pakistani Comedy theatre play, Da Bhagi Marg (2017). It was performed at NAPA’s International Theatre Festival 2017.

 

 

 

 

+ Crew

  • Directed & Costumes Designed by Rauf Afridi
  • Written by Dairo Fo
  • Set Design by Javed Shb

 

 

 

 

 

 

+ Note
Da Bhagi Marg is an adaptation of Dairo Fo’s famous play ‘Accidental death of an Anarchist’. Some of his work regular playgoers requested that he write the play to provide counter information to the misinformation being propagated about the event by the media. He further researched the case thoroughly, drawing from two officials enquirers as well as facts shared by friendly journalists and lawyers. His aim was to present this counter information in a way that would be accessible to all.

This is the second theatre play Rauf Afridi has directed. The first one was for the kids by the name of ‘Tarzan’.

Da Bhagi Marg’s first 20 – 30 minutes was in Pashto language while the rest of the play is in both Urdu (majorly) language.

 

 

 

 
+ Full Cast

  1. Azaib Khan as Jaali
  2. Addy Khan as Insp Daar
  3. Hammad Khan as SP
  4. Essa Khan as Constable
  5. Aham Ali Khan as Jasmine Farooqi
  6. Rauf Afridi Insp Khattak

 

 

 

 

 

+ Plot
Accidental death of an Anarchist is a form of political theatre. An Anarchist died while in police custody for questioning about a bombing in which he played no part.

 

 

 

 

+ High Points
i – Addy Khan played the role of Insp Daar; his performance was quite good and was able to show his talent as musician briefly. Other Honorable Mentions: Hammad Khan.

ii – The costumes worked the most suitable way for the characters.

iii – For this comic play, in the cast we have Addy Khan, Hammad Khan and Rauf Afridi as attractive star power.

iv – The set design was soundly considered and built.

v – The ‘two’ endings was a good thought and drove well for its closing.

 

 

 

 

+ Low Points
i – Stereo Type / Racist Jokes are extremely offending to any people / race you are targeting to. People who use this kind of humor to uplift their plays / projects are delusional to think that they would be respected or their work to be considered as good grade. If this humor was inserted in handful of punch lines only then to some extend would have been ignored. I know that half of the crowd was filled with the Pashto people who were ‘enjoying’ your play. I have no words to say for them.

Really! I genuinely admire your performances and liked your debut play ‘Tarzan’ where I gave its positive review too. You are not just somebody who is directing plays… you are Rauf Afridi! Make plays with good, creative humor where people remember you and your work with high esteem.

Bad comedy is no comedy. If a lay person had directed this play with this kind of humor, then I would have understood perfectly well the reason behind it. But you don’t need this type of humor to leverage your work. I know and strongly believe that you can do really, really good work with full of praises.

ii – The humor was so… childish… that in the entire play I laughed only once when I saw that two of my friends (sitting beside me) had their eyes shut and literally sleeping.

iii – There were no subtitles during Pashto scenes. I did not understand that what was the use of multiple LED monitors fixed on the higher wall for? They never played even once in the play. I wanted to know what is happening in those scenes where its audience was enjoying so much. I waited for the play to start in Urdu and… (Sigh).

 

+ Overall
Painful as it is, Da Bhagi Marg fails to add fresh, good laughs to Rauf Afridi’s great theatrics gift.

 

 

 
Rate: 0.75 out of 5 stars

 

Feature Length Films

Mr. Khan’s Review on Jackpot (2018)

A review on Pakistani Comedy feature length film, Jackpot (2018). The Production Houses and its Distributors are Oriental Films and Shoaib Khan Films.

 

 

 

 

+ Crew

  • Directed & Produced by Shoaib Khan
  • Written by Babar Kashmiri
  • Cinematography by Anubhay Bansal & Sherry
  • Edited by Imran Mushtaq
  • Co-Produced by Khurram Riaz

 

 

 

 

 

+ Note

Jackpot is directly influenced by Le Million (1931) a French classic musical comedy film directed by René Clair. TV actress Reyhna Malhotra and Anubhav Bhansal are from India.

The shooting locations were of Lahore, Balochistan; Pakistan. And the rest at Phuket; Thailand. The music is composed by Naveed Nashad.

 

 

 

 

+ Main Cast

  1. Noor Hassan as Lucky
  2. Sanam Chaudhry as Chandini
  3. Inayat Khan as Guy in Blue Jacket
  4. Javed Sheikh as Jojo
  5. Adnan Shah Tipu as Pappu
  6. Sana Fakhar as Malka
  7. Faiza Khan as Selfie

 

 

 

xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

 

 

 

+ Supporting Cast

  1. Reyhna Malhotra as Blue Jacket Guy’s Love Interest
  2. N/A as Jojo’s Assistant
  3. Mehmood Aslam as Saigol
  4. Ismail Tara as Tourist Guide
  5. Iftikhar Thakur as Hotel Manager
  6. Afzal ‘Rambo’ Khan (Cameo) as Drunkard
  7. N/A as Midget

 

 

 

xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

 

 

 

+ Minor Cast

  1. N/A as Bodyguard #1
  2. N/A as Bodyguard #2
  3. Irtiza Rubab aka Meera / Receptionist
  4. Zara Sheikh as N/A
  5. N/A as Chauffeur
  6. N/A as Waiter

 

 

 

 

+ Plot

Lucky wins a lottery ticket of PKR 100 crores which gets in Jojo’s coat in a huge mix-up and sold to a laundry guy.

 

 

 

 

 

+ High Points

i – Screenplay is the main ingredient why people might prefer watching this film. The punchlines are hilarious and they do improve as the film progresses.

ii – In the start, the film was not good. It appeared only as cheap comedy, Lollywood film. I was not enjoying it at all, thought made a great mistake by coming here at cinema but that quickly changed. The film turns out to be very enjoyable; perhaps a good time pass.

iii – Ismail Tara as Tourist Guide performed really well. He played a great role of comic relief character which audience welcomed him with open arms. Other Honorable Mentions: Javed Sheikh, Adnan Shah Tipu and Afzal ‘Rambo’ Khan.

iv – Shoaib Khan’s direction has able to pull this off to bring good interest level.

v – Surprising cameos in the film.

vi – Sanam Chaudhry and Sana Fakhar are very glamorous on-screen.

vii – Inayat Khan looks like a promising new comer.

 

 

 

 

 

+ Low Points

i – This film is for mature audience where some of the jokes are sexual and double meaning.

ii – WARNING: Toilet humor!

iii – The young, lead stars fail to give a strong memorable performance. It is the veteran actors such as Javed Sheikh, Afzal ‘Rambo’ Khan and Ismail Tara who uplift the film.

iv – Require a good dance choreographer for their songs. And speaking of songs, they themselves hardly made any impression onto the audience.

v – Saigol played by Mehmood Aslam was eventually ruled out as useless role, someone to fill a time gap. The lottery ticket could be introduced through many different ways also; there was no need for this character.

vi – I don’t understand is why the sketch was (intentionally) censored in the film for? I thought that they would give explanation (at least) in the end but they didn’t.

vii – The film could be cut by 15 minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

+ Overall

Jackpot consists of a long list of stars which lacks the originality and focuses on vulgar, lowbrow gags, but at times it is very funny.

 

 

 

 

Rate: 2.75 out of 5 stars

 

Theatre Plays

Mr. Khan’s Review on Wash Yourself of Yourself (2017)

A review on Pakistani Solo Performance theatre play, Wash Yourself of Yourself (2017). It was performed at NAPA’s International Theatre Festival 2017.

 

 

 

 

+ Crew

  • Directed by Joshinder Kaur Chaggar
  • Choreography by Sunil Shankar

 

 

 

 

 

+ Note
“Be melting snow. Wash yourself of yourself.” This is a small portion of one of Rumi’s poem. Rumi believed in the concept of “One is All, and All is One”. You are part of a whole and the best way to experience life was to melt back into the one, just as snowflakes are individual, but when melting they become one with all.

 

 

 
+ Solo Cast

  1. Joshinder Chaggar as Woman

 

 

 

 

+ Plot
The swallow is named the bird of freedom, because it is constantly in migration. This show is a journey of emotional migration.

 

 

+ High Points
i – Joshinder performed fabulously in portraying the characteristics of age transformations, her struggle to live her lifestyle and finally shed her burden & go back to innocence as once before.

ii – Her desperate attempt to be in the limelight was shown very creatively.

iii – The direction in solo performance is very difficult. However, she was able to pull this off.

 

 

 

+ Low Points
i – At times, it felt that the play was getting dragged.

ii – High possibility of differences in either accepting and liking such plays or not within the audience.

 

+ Overall
Pure agility of Joshinder is overwhelming; only those viewers who lack interest in such plays as Wash Yourself of Yourself, will be able to resist the blitz of such carefully constructed magic.

 

 

 
Rate: 3.50 out of 5 stars

 

TV series

Mr. Khan’s Review on Waris (1979 – 80)

A review on Pakistani Classic Drama TV serial, Waris aka Heir (1979 – 80). It’s Production House and its Distributor is PTV Network (Lahore Studio).

 

 

 

 

+ Crew

  • Directed by Nusrat Thakur and Ghazanfer Ali
  • Written by Amjad Islam Amjad

 

 

 

 

 

+ Note

Waris aired on PTV Network was released on 29th Dec 1979 – 22nd Mar 1980. In total, it consists of 13 episodes. The story revolves around a feudal family, their struggles to maintain their land and wealth, and the inter-family differences and tussles that lead to their downfall. It portrays two ideal synthesizers, who were vital for the time it was produced. Since finding a suitable & blood-related heir is the main priority for the feudal lord, Waris completely rejects the feudal lord tradition A number of cameo roles are played by many actors including four main artists from another Pakistani classic drama TV series, Sona Chandi (1982-3).

These issues revolve around mainly, the corrupt feudal system and influential persons, who are eating the public’s basic needs and rights like a parasite.  In rural Punjabi culture, it is a huge insult for a man, if his fiance marries someone else. To avenge this grave insult, the revenge is set to be taken.

Waris is considered being one of the most realistic depictions of Pakistan. This TV series was aired on PTV at a time when people from rural areas were moving into the cities. More importantly, it was a time when the world view of Pakistan is was going through a paradigmatic change; from a traditional to a modern. When produced, it instantly became an acclaimed mega hit.

Stars such as Mehmood Alam and Shujaat Hashmi, is the first work that I have watched.

 

 

 

 

+ Main Cast

  1. Abid Ali as Dilawar
  2. Shujaat Hashmi as Mauladad
  3. Mehboob Alam as Chaudhry Hashmat Khan
  4. Aurangzeb Laghari as Chaudhry Niaz Ali
  5. Firdous Jamal as Chaudhry Anwar Ali
  6. Munawwar Saeed as Chaudhry Yaqub
  7. Uzma Gillani as Zakiya Ghulam Ali

 

 

 

xxxxxxx

 

 

 

+ Supporting Cast

  1. Samina Ahmad as Zohra
  2. Agha Sikander as Farrukh
  3. Tahira Naqvi as Seemi / Yasmin
  4. Sajjad Kishwar as Sher Mohd
  5. Ghayyoor Akhtar as Hayat Mohammad Qazi
  6. Ghazanfer Baig as Saulat Mirza
  7. Mohammad Ayub as Masterji
  8. Malik Anokha as Mehnga

 

 

 

xxxxxxxx

 

 

 

+ Minor Cast (Cameo)

  1. Nazir Hussain as Chaukidaar
  2. A. Khan as Saeed Gul
  3. Mumtaz Ali as Bakhshoo
  4. Jamal Shah as Chaudhry Ghulam Ali*
  5. Jameel Fakhiri as Inspection Officer*
  6. Ayub Khan as Kisaan*
  7. Jeevan Sultan as Maalik*
  8. Hamid Rana as Police Inspector

 

 

 

*The roles are not confirmed. Though, these actors did appear.

 

 

 

 

 

+ Plot

A feudal lord, Chaudhry Hashmat rules his fiefdom with an iron grip. His elder son,  wishes to escape to the city, while the younger son is engaged in numerous illegal activities.

In such times, Dilawar is out for vengeance against Fateh Sher, who is responsible for his brother’s murder.

 

 

 

 

 

 

+ High Points

i – A big round of applause to this well written story. Some serious issues of the urban and rural areas were highlighted. Following are:

 

  1. Dam Building
  2. Land Disputes
  3. Feudal System
  4. Farmers’ Rights
  5. Family Enmity
  6. Bribery & Corruption
  7. Migrating To City
  8. Unfulfilled Dreams
  9. Family Business
  10. Finding Successor
  11. Animal Abuse
  12. Extortion
  13. Kidnapping & Abduction
  14. Forced Imprisonment
  15. Betrayal

 

A number of different themes are shown of different individuals, which are discussed in the shape of their behavior and manner. It is shown, how they affect the people who they know or work with. These men true value is displayed to the society. Then we have these people, who were committed to the age old tradition, are ruined by their own machinations. The feudal system is shown in the true light as oppressive.

However, there are occasions where the traditional men are also glorified. Still, there are doubts over migrating to the lavish city life is comes into notice.

In this TV series, good men are also bought forward, whose characteristics belong to the category of being either creative who share their views on the traditional values or those who are courage, ready to take the necessary action, where it is required.

Other attributes, such as honesty, being independent and thinking out of the box is indirectly hinted to a good upbringing and better educational system.

ii – ‘A’ graded star cast was hired to execute this well-written drama TV series. At least, 6 – 7 stars were well known at the time, when Waris was produced.

iii – It is a tie between the two stars, Firdous Jamal as Chaudhry Anwar Ali and Shujaat Hashmi as Mauladad. These two actors gave their hearts out to play these two dynamic roles. This is my first TV series where I have watched Firdous Jamal to play a negative role. His character’s lust for power and be engaged in illegal activities, has bought the actor to the edge of his acting craft. As for Shujaat Hashmi, he has certainly impressed the viewers with his good performance, major thanks to his well-written character.

iv – Mehboob Alam plays as Chaudhry Hashmat Khan, plays the corrupt, egoistic and hot tempered feudal lord. His desire to have the most prized animal as ‘Crystal’ for high breed by any means necessary, his love for Dog Fighting / sport, shows another side to his dark character. His son and two grandsons are tangled up in greed and lust for power. Well, except for Chaudhry Niaz. In the last few episodes, even in Chaudhry Hashmat’s humiliation, he still refuses to accept his defeat.

v – The supporting characters, such as Chaudhry Niaz Ali, Chaudhry Yaqub and Mauladad are the strongly written. Chaudhry Niaz Ali has dreams to leave his home town for the city, but is tangled up with his family business. Chaudhry Yaqub is greedy, wants to sell every land that his father owns. Finally, we have Mauladad, who is brother-in-arms, equal in power and quick-thinking true friend to Dilawar. These three characters have made sure that the viewers’ attention is properly paid to the story.

vi – Concealing the identity of Fateh Sher, which was revealed in the last two episodes, is a good move by the writer.

vii – I can’t say that the finale is perfect. But still, it is a good ending. Waris bring this classic TV series to a satisfying last episode.

viii – (The late) Abid Ali as Dilawar, has performed in one of the lead roles of Waris. Just like expectations, he has performed quite nicely on-screen. Late Abid sb is a favorite to many people. His understanding to the character that he is performing can be seen in his body movement and voice. Other Honorable Mentions: Rest of the cast.

ix – The performances by every cast member has done a superb job. Nowhere would you feel that someone’s performance is lacking behind or has under-performed.

x – Having total 13 episodes, winds up the story properly, without making it a drag.

 

 

 

 

 

+ Low Points

i – Nothing new or innovative in the camera handling or editing. It does the basic requirement, to produce this TV series.

 

 

 

 

 

+ Overall
Waris has intelligently touched on numerous issues where this nations is facing for many generations.

 

 

 

 

 

Rate: 4.0 out of 5 stars

 

Theatre Plays

Mr. Khan’s Review on Insanwaar (2017)

A review on Pakistani Comic Drama theatre play, Insanwaar aka Humanoid (2017). It was performed at NAPA’s International Theatre Festival 2017.

 

 

 

+ Crew

  • Lighting & Directed by Arshad Malik
  • Written by Jahangir Hussain
  • Set Design by Javed Shb
  • Costume Management by Pervaiz Iqbal
  • Music by Manzoor Shb & Danish Manzoor

 

 

 

 

+ Note
Insanwaar is about a faraway future, when humans have become extinct and apes rule the planet, we find a society where there is no religion but a code of conduct based on a system of rules for the betterment of the community. The theme is very similar to ‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ (2014).

These two races are compared by keeping the two stories side by side. Most of the stars played dual roles for the different timelines.

 

 

 
+ Full Cast

  1. Shahid Rana as Khamsa (Judge)
  2. Hammad Siddiq as Bakha / Munshi Ram
  3. Zaki Ullah Khan as Bahu / Ganesh
  4. Maria Baloch as Mahi / Mehro
  5. Syed Jameel as Zambi Jacob / Saith
  6. Mahjabeen Rehman as Zoya (Nun) / Rahiba
  7. Ahmer Hussain as Banray
  8. Adnan Anis as Chanray
  9. Kaneez Fatima as Titli / Tai Hajjan
  10. Asif Shehzad Malik as Nakora (Tattoo)
  11. Babar Ali as Albert
  12. Abdul Rehman as Hussain (Child)
  13. Ebad Khan as Hussain (Adult)

 

 

 

 

 

+ Plot
A young ape is in love with another and their marriage is opposed by some. While the community of elders debate the merits of the case, a scenario from the past is shown during the time of humans’ existence; the society of post partition Pakistan.

Here, a young man who is a Hindu and is in love with a Muslim girl but their marriage is opposed similarly as the two lovers of Apes species.

 

 

+ High Points
i – I liked the message of the play that perhaps the ‘next species’ would be better off than us as we have created so many differences among each other (in the name of religion, caste, race, etc) that in most cases each of us could live peacefully but do not because of man-made diversity. However, that scenario is also shown where the problems don’t change much.

ii – Adnan Anis plays the role of Chanray. Not only his character was an interesting one but he also performed amusingly on-stage. Good to see improvement in your performance. Other Honorable Mentions: Hammad Siddiq and Syed Jameel.

iii – The screenplay was very effectively written with provoking dialogues.

iv – The costumes were nicely designed and did a fair job in the appearance of the characters.

v – There were hilarious moments time to time, where in some cases it was very amusing to watch. Such as the tail of Saith is cut off while Khamsa’s tail is much, much longer than his height.

vi – I was not expecting to see this kind of ending but it was a good turn around.

 

 

 

+ Low Points
i – Generally, the performances by most of the actors were okay.

ii – Since there were many characters, only 2 – 3 of them had a proper character development.

iii – There were characters in the play where I wanted to feel their pain and suffering but could not due to director / writer’s lack of efforts in building up the ‘Emotional link’ with the audience first.

iv – After hearing that a play would be performed by the name ‘Insanwaar’, my expectations were a bit high. Such stars like Ahmer Hussain, Zakiullah, Syed Jamal are well known cast for any theater play. A talented theater artist, Arshad Malik is directing this play. I feel that my expectations were cut short.

 

+ Overall
Insanwaar works just as well as a popcorn enjoyment for warm fun. It does leaves you with thought provoking questions, into the nature of humanity darker side.

 

 
Rate: 3.25 out of 5 stars