Chambaili- Quite literally the “game changer”, Momin Ali reviews


The word ‘revival’ and that too specifically in context to the resurrection of Pakistani cinema has without doubt become a cliché in current times. At the start of every new year we hear the industry bigwigs claiming the dawn of good times on Pakistan film industry and some even announce their planned future projects which they announce every January with different names. However, nothing of that sort in reality happens and the cycle of hopes in the same manner hops from one year to the next.

Every two years we see the release of this one heavily postponed film and its success at the box office leads us to believe that revival has come. I would like to add here that not one, yes not even a single film in my odd four-five years of association with the revival of cinema has released on its due date. Even films that were later considered game changers like Bol were delayed quite a few times before hitting the cinemas. Take for instance WaarIshq Khuda or for that matter any unreleased film, all of these films have seen many promised release dates pass and the final dates change quite many times.

Chambaili in this regards decided on a date for its release, ran a successful marketing campaign (which most films do not) and released on its due date. This efficiency has  left quite an impression on me and speaks volume about the film as a whole. Not only was it Pakistan’s first on time release but the film also broke quite a few other myths. That to succeed a film requires huge stars, an item number, a complete ban on other foreign releases (however Aashiqui 2, the Indian film to be released the same day was delayed for a day or two to protect the film, but now even with its release the result is pretty much evident). Chambaili has thus been quite literally a game changer and has hopefully changed the way films will now be made and released. Now without much wait let’s go delve into the film.

In a nutshell, the film is a story of a group of friends and how they decide to take on the corrupt political mafia and bring about change. For a film to be promoted as country’s first political thriller, the film did lack the thrill element as an entire product. To be honest, before going into the cinema I was expecting to see a  film somewhat on the lines of my favourite Bollywood film, Rajneeti, but  Chamabaili was a completely different affair. The first half did have its share of surprise elements and did leave you biting your teeth as to what would happen next, but the second half fell flat in this regard. Not that the second half was bad, only it was not as gripping as the pre-interval portions. Also the story had pretty much already formed in the pre-interval portions and the second-half was it being played out. However as “Pakistan’s first political thriller” I would say a good step in the right direction.

One other plus point of the film was the remarkable relatability of its fictitious script with our own real life stories. I, as an audience actually felt for the characters when they faced the injustices and one actually feels motivated to join them when they decide to stand up against the wrongs in the society. The film made us realize that we are all Pakistanis first before anything else and this feeling of collectiveness and oneness followed by the importance of voting was just what we needed with all this election heat.

Now let’s move a bit towards the acting part. Everyone did a commendable job in the parts they had to play. Ehtishamuddin had some of the best dialogues in the film and the way he delivered them literally gave one goose bumps. Khalid Ahmad, playing the leader of a religious party had just the prefect expression for every scene which had him in it and was just perfect in his role. Salman Peerzada as the leader of the main political party was really effective and convincing in his performance. Same goes for Shafqat Cheema and Ghulam Mohiuddin who gave one of their best performances to date.

Of the other younger lot, everyone did what their roles required them to do. Shahzad Nawaz, Ali Tahir, Maira Khan and Omair Rana all did justice to their respective parts. Humayun Bin Rather as the villain was really effective and his well sculpted body only makes him look more villain like, and adds to his negative aura. A special mention  here of Mehren Syed who despite being a model did a decent job. Not that she outdid it but was good for a first timer.

The music of the film is worth mentioning too with most of the songs becoming viral before the release of the film. I, however have one personal complain regarding the song ‘Do Dil’ being cut and left to run only for a few seconds as compared to the three minute promo.

A mention here of the hard hitting and indeed really catchy dialogues. They surely had the audience captivated and did succeed to evoke in the audience the feelings the dialogues were aimed at. There is this one particular scene where the mother says “Main nay apni maa ko kabhi sona pehnay nahi dekha (I have never seen my mother wearing gold), jab bari hui toh maa nay kaha kay sona day kar mulk lena koi bura soda nahi (when I grew up, my mother counselled that the trade of gold for your country is not a bad trade at all), yeh lo bacho ( gives away her gold bangles) aur mujhay meri maa ka mulk laa do (bring back my mother’s country).” This scene surely struck an emotional chord with the viewer, at least did so with me. Furthermore, there is this short poetry cum dialogue which again managed to give the audience body chills and had quite an impact, it goes somewhat like this “Tu aam sahi, par aham hay, too kuch nahi yeh vaham hay”.  Also the many monologues given by Ehtishamuddin’s character are well written.

On the whole Chambaili was just the kind of film we needed at this very moment in time and has managed to evoke quite a response from the audiences. I give the effort four stars out of five on behalf of Galaxy Lollywood and hope that the success of the film will encourage Shahzad Nawaz and team to continue making such quality films in future as well. The film is running to packed houses and has proved the naysayers that Pakistan can and is producing quality films. Here is to the efforts of the entire team of Chambaili and for more such films to come in the future.

All hail Chambaili.


  1. Hi,

    Thanks for the review. Nice job!

    However, I was curious about the kind of business the movie did/is doing. Do you have some idea whether movie theatres are playing this movie, whether people are watching it, and whether it is making some profit or not? I read on FB how there was a lot of reluctance to show another movie ‘Siyah’ a while ago, and it was just shown in perhaps one or two cinemas and then immediately replaced by other movies. It goes without saying that no movie revival is perhaps possible if cinema owners do not run PK movies. Hopefully the movie is doing good business because that would encourage other film producers too.

    • Hi Jav, Yes Chambaili is still being played in most Pakistani cinemas, actually the movie also got an extra window because of recent elections, after which censor Board is non-functional and no new movie is currently being censored. Thus, it will hopefully run till at least the end of this month. As far as collections are concerned, we can’t give you an accurate figure but movie safely passed the 5 crore mark according to our rough calculations or the reports that we are receiving, within three weeks of its release. So, hopefully its doing well. We’ll update you as soon as we receive something else on it.


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