Jalaibee (Review): A lot of swag, suave and its own share of sweet and sour twists

Movie Name: Jalaibee

Release Date: March 20, 2015

Director: Yasir Jaswal

Review by: Aayan Mirza/Momin Ali Munshi

Jalaibee is unarguably the biggest Pakistani film to be releasing this year and arguably the biggest film overall to be hitting local cinemas this year as of yet. It’s not just its budget, it’s not just its colossal scale of release (Pakistan, UK and USA simultaneously), it’s not just its marketing, but it’s actually the overall aura the film has managed to create around it, something that will play a major role in whatever magic it manages to create in terms of its box office figures.

As an actual content though; in terms of its entertaining prowesses, the film, we believe, just missed the trick.

See, it is isn’t a bad film, not at all, it isn’t too messed up either, it has its moments, it will for sure entertain you from time to time. The film has a decent plot and the script is not bad either, but the average/bad acting show is a major buzz kill. Although the film rides on the the back of some amazing cinematography, an above average direction, and some good one liners here and there, but at the end of the day fails to connect with you as an audience.

It is an stylish film, the most stylish that has come out of Pakistan so far, that one has to give to Yasir Jaswal and the stylist Ehtesham Ansari. Yasir Jaswal has some beautiful music videos in his portfolio, while Ehtesham Ansari is one force to reckon with in the styling world, so one couldn’t naturally expect any less either. Each frame is just so beautifully captured that one has to mention the hard work put in by both these men. Furthermore, another person who deserves a special mention is the film’s cinematographer, Mo Azmi. Hats off for this one. The guy proved himself in O21 first and now with Jalaibee he has another feat.

But whereas the stylistic elements of the film are a thumbs up the acting and other loopholes are a major let down.

The story revolves around Billu (Danish Taimoor) and Bagga (Ali Safina), the two victims of short-cuts in life. But there are no short-cuts in life and so even if you think you have found one, just don’t get too happy and be sure that the life in return will chase you to a very wrong end like a mad dog (something that you were told beforehand in the trailer).

So as the fate would have it, on the return from a bank robbery, the life chases Billu and Bagga with an over-heating car that later blows up into flames, turning all their robbed money; which they had robbed for an underworld kingpin Dara (Adnan Jaffer), who in actuality works under the command of a publicly Prime Ministerial candidate for the approaching elections and privately an underworld don, Akbar or, The King, into ashes.

And thus take place some very twisted set of events where Dara wants his promised money, but there is no money, but there maybe some hope for Billu and Bagga, another short-cut idea perhaps, but then again, there are no short-cuts in life. So in one sentence, the story is as straight as a Jalaibee.

Now, the writer Yasir Jaswal, who also happens to be the director of the film, did pretty fair job in stream lining and structuring his story, but where he fails is the part where you have to able your story to a point where it can connect to the audience. That didn’t happen, and instead we had a story jumping as high as it could (and failing) to live up to its name and the pretty visuals running on the screen.

The acting, similarly, turned out to be what it was from the very beginning; a bad risk. Yes, we know they are not really acting débutantes, yes we know they have done theatre, yes we know they have modelled in past, yes we know they have done certain projects, but acting in a film was something that the most of the cast seemed to be making amends with or still settling in till the very end of the movie.

While Sajid Hassan was a big success with the two things he does best: the trademark loud acting and making his screen presence felt, one big upset was Adnan Jaffer who was simply too animated for his character, plus even if their existed any substance, it simply got overridden by just too much suave the character was written with, when ideally they both should have complemented each other.

Chemistry between Danish Taimoor and Ali Safina too consistently seemed missing. While Danish was over the line throughout with his loudness, Ali excelled in his separate scenes, in particular that one scene where Danish, Ali and Zhalay are on their conquest, and just before the action time, the latter two spend a scene alone, talking ambitions in the car.

Zhalay looked ravishing throughout the film and her acting was a job well done. Wiqar Ali Khan and Sabeeka Imam were just too stiff in their performances. Although they both are exceptionally good looking ( they are both models) and they beautify the frame with their sheer presence but unlike a ramp show, a film requires not only good looks but acting skills which they both do not have. Sabeeka, however, was somewhat better than Wiqar Ali Khan, maybe because she has the experience of two films to back her up but generally both these actors were a huge let down. Uzair Jaswal did not really have much to do but he did the  best to his capabilities, which is not much.

The soundtrack of the film was a big respite, and was almost done justice with in the film. Umair Jaswal’s Jee Raha Hoon, came way too late in the film, in the ending credits to be exact, but was a sheer delight. As for the hyped item number “Jawani,” well the less said the better. The song was surely a decent composition and even the  picturisation with the specially constructed set in Evernew Studios Lahore was sexy, but Wahab Shah’s boring choreography and Zhalays bad dancing skills killed the entire mood. On the whole this song was a major letdown.

Furthermore, the soundtrack should have been released before the film, as it would have definitely given a huge boost to the film’s promotion. But sadly it was not. Moreover, the background score, which was excellent at places, as a whole did not really do the desired job as there was no one constant score which could unite the film and render it as one big picture! But generally the music department did a good job.

Verdict:

Jalaibee is sweet, but at certain bites it goes pretty bland. You watch it for its amazing cinematography, style, and a  promising soundtrack. You don’t expect from it an acting treat and don’t go looking for a thrill. There are loops within loops, and some more of those promised twists with them, that you have to give to the writer. But then there are some loopholes as well, but on the whole this film is worth a watch.

Rating: 2.5/5 stars

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Live in Karachi. A Charted Accountant to be, hopefully. A writer today, a writer always. Email: aayanmughal@gmail.com

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