“Afridi, Afridi,Afridi…” chanted the crowd as the last few seconds of the film played and Shahid Afridi made his grand silver screen debut. Whistles, cheering and a thunderous applause is what followed as the credits were rolling. This is what happened on Thursday at Lahore’s Sozo World Cinema where a paid preview of this eagerly awaited film took place. Leaving the cinema halls, people could not stop raving about the film they had just seen and to be honest I could not agree more. ‘Main Hoon Shahid Afridi, a film which gave the common man just what he had paid for i.e. Pure Entertainment.’
If you have seen the trailers of the film you surely know that MHSA is not one of your indie/art /niche market film which are all the rage in Pakistan. No, I am not complaining as I have loved quite a few Pakistani Indie films specially Chambaili and even the recently released Josh. But for cinema to be considered a serious mean of business, we need commercial/ mass entertainers, and well MHSA is just that. But dont worry, MHSA is not a no-brainer Bollywood masala film where all you have is a larger than life hero, a few item songs and everything else but a story. Humayun may have made an out-right commercial film, but dont let India’s dumbed down version of ‘commercial film’ scare you, as I assure you that MHSA has a sense of script and a good story to tell.
In a nutshell the plot is something like this (No Spoilers):-
Akbar Deen ( Huamyun Saeed) is the former captain of the Pakistani cricket team who is no longer associated with the game as he was charged with the possession of drugs. Now, fifteen years later he is back on the ground to coach the local Sialkot boys, among them Shahid Bhatti (Noman Habib), to win some prestigious tournament.
The plot mentioned here does make the film look a bit plain, yes I agree that the story is not that complex but the way the writer, Vasay Chowdry, and director, Syed Ali Raza, have paid special attention to little details is note-worthy. The film may primarily be a sports film but there is a little bit of everything in it. There’s lots of drama, then there’s comedy, has its romance, a little tadka of action and basically all the ingredients for the perfect entertaining film.
Moreover, the dialogues by Vasay Chaudry are just brilliant and make you stand up and take notice of the hard-work put behind them. The emotional ones which are spoken during many confrontations are just absolutely breath-taking. I dont want to ruin the fun, but will just add that the dialogues exchanged between Humayun Saeed and Javed Sheikh towards the end can give you goosebumps! Also, there are lot of feel-good-scenes and dialogues which I just loved for making me feel proud of being a Muslim and a Pakistani. Also, the witty one-liners in between give the comic relief and surely get you to laugh out loud. All this effort by Vasay Chaudary sure deserves a mention!
Moving towards the acting part, I dont know who to start from as the film had some billion actors and almost everyone did a commendable job!
Humayun Saeed as the “haara hua” ex-cricketer was just amazing. He was reserved in the scenes which required him to be so, he was the angry young man in his confrontation scenes. The role seemed to be tailor made just for Humayun Saeed. The only part I did not like were the flashback scenes that failed to gel with everything else. Otherwise Humayun Saeed surely did a laudable job!
Javed Sheikh has done the role of a lifetime. The mere presence of Sheikh is a delight. He does his character to perfection and the audience hate him (which is just what he was supposed to do). His looks, his body language, the way he talked; sheer excellence and signs of a powerhouse actor. Great job done!
Nadeem Baig did not have much to do, but was remarkable in all his scenes. Another veteran who gave an amazing performance!
Shafqat Cheema has many a times proved how capable an actor he is and this film is no different. He did his role with the utmost conviction and proved why he’s the man to go for negative roles!
Ismail Tara was at his comic best and every time he came on the screen, a good laugh was had by all. Kudos to Tara and his excellent comic timing.
Noman Habib, the parallel lead, was bit annoying, all thanks to his exaggerated Pubnjabi accent. Yes I know that we Punjabi’s are a bit loud compared to the sophisticated Karachiites, but Noman went a bit too over the top and well this took away from his performance as an actor, which was not that great anyway.
Gohar Rasheed, man I am in LOVE with this guy as an actor. He is so freaking awesome at what he does. The role played by Rasheed was without doubt he saving grace for the earlier parts of the film. The way he just gets into the skin of the character is simply amazing. Bravo bravo bravo! Wish there was more of him in the film!
Hamza Ali Abbasi, another guy I am in love with as an actor (lots of love in the air). What an amazing timing he has and the expressions were just too good. He just stole the show for me, and surely for lots of other people with his acting skills. Looking forward to seeing this talented director/actor in lots of more films!
Mahnoor Baloch, all I can say is. ‘I am a barbie girl, in a barbie world made of plastic its fantastic… ‘Did nothing else other than looking pretty, which she sure did.
Ainan Arif and Asym Mehmood both did their part to perfection. Though they were the supporting actors in the film but both of them made the audience sit up and take notice.
Shehzad Sheikh had nothing much to do, wonder why he chose to appear in the film. Same for Ainny Jaffri who I am a huge fan of. Other than being a sight for sore eyes, Ainy had a blink and miss role. Summer Nicks also was barely there!
Also lots of cameos in the film which I shall not ruin for you.
The music of the film was another highlight. The song Malal sung by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan has quite the soothing effect with its “kamaal kay” lyrics and tone. “Jera Vi Aan Day” sung by Shafqat Amnaat Ali is the motivational peppy number which with its dhol beats is a winner. Beautiful night/Angreja, well lets not talk about these two please. As for the Mathira/Mahnoor Baloch item number “Masti main Doobi” by Neeti Wagh and Shani was just what the film needed. With its Arabic touch the song is surely the highlight of the album.
Going a bit towards the choreography, all I can say is that it may not be perfect but surely is an excellent effort made. The Mathira/Mahnoor Baloch item number is without doubt the highlight of the film and believe me it lived up to its hype. The costumes, the seductive moves, everything was just mind-blowing!
On the whole I will once again say that this is a commercial film made to entertain the audience. The film may not be on the favorite list for critics but all I can say is that the audience (me included) loved the film and well this is exactly what Humayun Saeed wanted as he has on several occasions said, “I wanted to make a film that would be entertaining for Pakistani audience, rather than something for critics at foreign film festivals. I’ve tried my best, but its up to the people to decide what they think”. Well, If the response of the audience is anything to go by then this soon to be blockbuster is another feather in Huamyun Saeed’s cap!