Feature Length Films

Mr. Khan’s Review on The Legend of Maula Jatt (2022)

A review on Pakistani feature length film, The Legend of Maula Jatt (2022). The feature length epic is written and directed by Bilal Lashari. The film is an adaptation of a 1979 Punjabi cult classic ‘Maula Jatt’ starring the legendary Sultan Rahi. The film stars Fawad Khan as the protagonist with Hamza Ali Abbasi, Humaima Malik, Faris Shafi and Mahira Khan. The Legend of Maula Jatt is produced by Encyclomedia, Lashari Films and is distributed by AAA Motion Pictures, Geo Films and Mandiwala Entertainment.

+ Crew

  • Directed by Bilal Lashari
  • Written by Nasir Adeeb and Bilal Lashari
  • Cinematography by Bilal Lashari
  • Edited by Bilal Lashari
  • Music by Sarmad Ghafoor
  • Produced by Ammara Hikmat and Asad Jamil Khan 
  • Production by Encyclomedia and Lashari Films

+ Note

The development of a new adaptation of the Punjabi cult classic started around 2013 by the director Bilal Lashari and later on, Ammara Hikmat and Asad Jamil Khan came onboard as producers for the film.  In an effort to make the film grasped firmly into the roots of the original, Nasir Adeeb (the screenwriter of the original) was hired to co-write the script. With a hefty budget of PKR 45 crore, the adaptation was initially supposed to be released around 2018/19 but due to various copyright lawsuits and the pandemic, was pushed further back. The film was finally released on 13th October 2022 and quickly became the highest grossing Pakistani film of all time.

 + Main Cast

  1. Fawad Khan as Maula Jatt
  2. Rehan Fareed Hiraj as Young Maula
  3. Hamza Ali Abbasi as Noori Natt
  4. Mahira Khan as Mukhoo Jattni
  5. Humaima Malik as Daaro Nattni
  6. Gohar Rasheed as Maakha Natt
  7. Faris Shafi as Mooda
  8. Shafqat Cheema as Jeeva Natt
  9. Saima Baloch as Rajjo
  10. Nayyer Ejaz as Jagoo Natt
  11. Ali Azmat as Gogi

+ Plot

Born out of a tragic past, Maula Jatt grows up to take revenge against the Noori Natt clan and fights for the justice of his people.

+ High Points

i – So I just would like to get this out of the way, The Legend of Maula Jatt exceeded my expectations. Not only did Bilal Lashari create an engaging, three hour long Punjabi epic with fast paced action and breathtaking visuals but it also did not forget its humble roots of our low budget Punjabi cinema. From the interesting cast of characters to the final epic battle between Maula Jatt and Noori Natt, the film will undoubtedly keep you entertained throughout its runtime. Bilal Lashari and his crew have done a marvelous job in bringing Maula Jatt to mainstream pop culture without desecrating its source material. The film rapidly became the highest grossing Pakistani film of all time and with its continuous legal troubles behind the scenes, it was well worth the wait.

ii – Bilal Lashari is undoubtedly the genius behind the film. With just his second directorial film, Lashari is also credited as the writer, cinematographer and editor of the film. This is truly a herculean effort from the filmmaker who was hellbent on bringing Maula Jatt to the big screen once again and should rightfully be applauded for all his hard work. Since it was a singular vision in a lot of aspects, it is difficult for me to distinguish each individual aspect apart. The masterful cinematography truly complimented the emotional turmoil of the character, accompanied by numerous match cut edits, making the transition brilliant from one scene to the next. The Legend of Maula Jatt could truly be Bilal Lashari’s magnum opus.

 iii – The best decision that Bilal Lashrai ever made was that he recruited Nasir Adeeb to co-write the script with him. Adeeb served as the screenwriter of  the original Maula Jatt (1979) and dialogues have been written with uttermost perfection for each and every character. Never did any set of dialogue felt out of place or unnecessary to the story but in fact, some comedic ones also left me chuckling under my breath. Apart from Lashari, Nasir Adeeb has had a major role to play in the success of this film.

 iv – As far as the performances go, I have no complaints. The theatrical, exaggerated performance of each actor complimented the essence of the source material with its core. It is one of the few instances where the film required exaggerated expressions and played quite well in creating a unique world of love, murder and vengeance. Fawad Khan, Maria Khan, Gohar Rasheed; everyone played their roles brilliantly.  But all in all, it was Hamza Ali Abbasi’s Noori Natt who stole the show for me. His tragic past, deranged concept of justice and unfiltered violence made him such a unique figure in the history of Pakistani cinema. 


v – Some audience members might have been turned off by the gratuitous violence in the film but it is an essential part of the saga. Bilal Lashrai smarty utilized such horrific imagery in order to heighten the atmosphere of the film. Maula Jatt grows up in a world of injustice and he is not afraid to use his Ghandasa in order to fight for his people. Frankly, I would have been very disappointed if they didn’t abrasively use violence in the film.

 vi – Thankfully, the film is devoid of any song and dance numbers… except for this one instance.The ‘Chann Pichay’ was a wonderful melody that was strategically placed right in the middle of the film. It was as some might say “The calm before the storm”.

 vii – The music by Sarmad Ghafoor and sound mixing did a stupendous job in bringing Maula Jatt to life. From the galloping of the horses to the verbal defiance of Maula Jatt, each scene was made engaging through its wonderful music composition and brilliant sound mixing.

viii – Now this is how you pay an homage to the source material! None of the famous dialogues of Noori Natt or Maula Jatt were misused or felt out of place in order to nudge the viewers into loving the film. All the callbacks of scenes, dialogues and violence were appropriately used to pay homage but at the end, have an identity of its own.

+ Low Points

i – The three hour runtime was never an issue for me but lack of quieter scenes unfortunately were. By the end of the film, the gratuitous violent imagery did become tad overbearing and one would imagine a couple of more character building scenes here and there might have helped the film in the long run. Such as… 

ii – Mahira Khan as Mukhoo Jattni. Her character sadly feels shortchanged as she never developed beyond the characteristic that she loves Maula more than anything. Great but what is Mukhoo herself as a person? A few more scenes could have been utilized in developing her character, her back story, what role does she play in the story apart from being our main protagonist’s love interest.

iii – This is of course, a nitpick from my side but Fawad Khan is too handsome to play the role of Maula Jatt. His performance in the role was great but visually, his movie star looks hindered my attention towards believing in him as the vengeful protagonist. Before the original 1979 film, Sultan Rahi was never perceived as a star. He always played the role of an extra in numerous films, mainly because he looked like any other person you would meet on the street. Similarly, Maula Jatt represents the common man, anyone of us can take the mantle of him. Fawad Khan’s visual appearance never went beyond ‘a movie star playing a character on screen’

+ Overall

Brilliant storytelling, great performances and direction, The Legend of Maula Jatt might just be one of the best Pakistani films ever made.

Rate: out of 5 stars


Mr. Khan’s Review on Behadd (2013)

A review on Pakistani telefilm Drama, Behadd (2013). The TV film is a directorial debut by Asim Raza and is written by the Urdu novelist Umera Ahmad. The film stars Nadia Jamil, Fawad Khan and the young Sajjal Ali. This telefilm is produced by Momina Duraid and is a HUM TV production.

+ Crew

  • Directed by Asim Raza
  • Written by Umera Ahmad
  • Edited by Kashif Ahmad and Wasim
  • DOP by Suleman Razzaq
  • Theme music by Fawad Khan
  • Music Composed by Hasil Qureshi
  • Produced by Momina Duraid

+ Note

The famous commercial TV director/ producer Asim Raza announced to the press beforehand that Behadd is going to be his directorial debut in the world of telefilms. As many of Umera Ahmad’s screenplays, Behadd serves also as a ‘slice of life’ tale and explores the relationship between a widowed mother and her young teenage daughter. The telefilm indulges in themes such as single parenthood and ‘selflessness’ verses ‘selfishness’. How important is one’s own happiness as compared to your child’s. 

The film was primarily shot in Karachi, Sindh and used real locations and settings of the city. After its release, Behadd received praise from critics and viewers alike and was the recipient of Hum Awards for Best Producer in 2014.

 + Main Cast

  1. Fawad Khan as Jamal “Jo” Ahmed
  2. Nadia Jamil as Masooma “Mo” Jamal
  3. Sajal Ali as Maha
  4. Nadia Afgan as Shafaq
  5. Nasheen Masud as Popi “Po” Masood
  6. Rahma Saleem as Fareena

 + Supporting Cast

  1. Adnan Siddiqui as Hassan (Masooma’s husband)
  2. Adnan Jaffar as Shafaq’s husband
  3. Shamoon Abbasi as Masooma’s boss
  4. Hira Tareen as Shaista (Jo’s proposal)

+ Plot

After the unfortunate death of her husband, Masooma (Nadia Jamil) is left to take care of their daughter Maha (Sajal Ali) all on her own. Along her journey to single parenthood, Masooma ends up meeting her old friend’s brother Jamal (Fawad Khan) and they both quickly realize that they have much more in common than they could ever hope for. 

+ High Points

i – Behadd’s ‘slice of Life’ plot is what makes most Pakistani Television so appealing to watch. With Umera Ahmad’s impeccable writing and Asim Raza’s meticulous direction, the telefilm works pretty much on every facet of successful storytelling. Even if you have never had a child or been a single parent, Behadd just feels so magnificently real and relatable. 

“If you indeed have to be selfless, how far can you take it?”

“What if your selflessness and wellbeing is being detrimental to those around? Should you then focus on your own happiness?” 

These are incredibly valid questions that we, in our line of duty of being a parent, tend to forget. 

ii – Brilliant performances all around but what stands tall above the rest is Nadia Jamil’s depiction as an overzealous single parent. Her reading of dialogue and body language conveys greatly her anguish and suffering behind the facade of being strong for her daughter.

iii – Some of the best scenes came not only from the climactic scenes of the telefilm but also the much quieter moments when Masooma is just casually interacting with her friends and colleagues in the office. The nonchalant manner of speech and dialogue is so crucial in inviting the audience to become part of the scene itself and Behadd’s writing and supporting cast exactly does that.

iv – And of course, the breakout performance by Sajal Ali as Maha was also a valiant effort in making this telefilm a success. Her performance was essential in order to captivate the audience into buying into this tale of mother/ daughter relationship. 

v– Behadd is a perfect example of why a show/ telefilm doesn’t need overbearing music and editing to force the audience into feeling sympathy with the characters. The writing and performances have to be good enough to invite their audience into that. Never did my attention falter or felt manipulated in any way. And that’s a sign of pure class from the creative team behind this telefilm.

vi– The song “Nindiya Re” by Kaavish is how seemlessly music and visuals can create the perfect rhythm. Perfect selection for Behadd’s OST.

vii– The conclusion of the story was also brilliantly handled and executed. Considering the circumstances of the storyline, this was probably the most logical conclusion that could have occured. Kudos to the entire team behind this telefilm!

 + Low Points

i – Honestly, whatever low points I have are mostly nitpicks but are still issues with the telefilm’s onset production. Namely, the overuse of Close Ups. Now close ups can be very impactful in visual language but only if they are used sparingly. Behadd unfortunately indulges in it a tad bit too much and it does lose its impact after a while. 

ii – And speaking of close ups, the cinematography is also nothing to admire at. Although it’s fairly competent by Suleman Razzaq, he did not use the visual language to its full potential and now just comes off sub par in contrast to the brilliant writing and performances of the telefilm.

iii – As much as I adore Behadd, it also suffers from the “rich people with rich people problems” syndrome. Now being wealthy does not equate to happiness, that’s fairly obvious but almost all Pakistani dramas/ telefilms shoot in lavious, massive houses so that they visually look pleasing to the eye and almost never a decision made based on the script. But have to give credit to Behadd as they did explain that they are living in the house as tenants. 

+ Overall

A well written script, brilliant performances, no overbearing use of music/ dramatic effects, Behadd is what every Pakistani telefilm should strive to be.  

Rate: 4.25 out of 5 stars