Movie Name: Moor
Release Date: August 14, 2015
Director: Jamshed Mahmood (Jami)
Review by: Aayan Mirza
When Waar hit local cinemas back in 2013, it turned out to be a bar setting film for all the upcoming ones in more than one ways. Even those who were not much generous with their compliments for the film, accepted the fact that it was the best visual offer Pakistani Cinema had made so far.
But that was then and this is now. It took Pakistani cinema around two years to reset the bar, higher than where it had been set earlier by Waar. All thanks to Moor, and of course the people behind it.
Moor’s is a beautiful story set in the backdrop of the eventual fall of Pakistan Railways, most specifically in the Zhob-Bostan areas of Balochistan province, due to the rising corruption in the department and the subsequent birth of land and route-bus mafias; spiralling and entangling the common local lives of the area and those with honest attachment to their land and Railways.
The story, although, was about an issue having a social and political face, but never in the entire run of of the film you will ever find it to be somehow, preachy. Instead, it were the the emotions shown on the screen, the individual stories, and showing it all through the particular lens of each character, was what made the film the awesomeness that it was.
A little slow yes, and a little too dragged for my own liking, but that’s something you have got to give to a dramatic film. The story was also a little fragmented, in the first half specially, which for a regular first time viewer, like me, meant for some confusions lasting till the very end of the film, but the overall mood created on-screen by Jami was so fresh and serene, coupled with some amazing performances, that it didn’t leave much capacity in one to hold a grudge over the weaknesses of the film.
The story and the screenplay in one word were, ‘gentle.’ Not preachingly preachy, yet amazingly captivating. Not infused with much on-screen noise and hullabaloo, yet quite eventful. Not too thrilling for one’s liking maybe, yet not letting you yawn for even a moment.
The acting department spearheaded by Hameed Sheikh was simply a treat within a treat. God, the performances. I would actually like to thank Shoaib Mansoor here. Thank You sir, thank you for bringing the greatness that is Hameed Sheikh in the film world. And I will be honest here, Hameed Sheikh did make me shed few tears. The film was about Waheed (Hameed’s character) and Hameed Sheikh gave it the best he has given to a film up till now.
Shaaz Khan, playing Waheed’s son Ehsan Khan, too was simply at home with his character and scenes. He not only looked good, well into his character, but his subtle acting with just the right expressions for each line kept the film right on its track when it could have easily been de-tracked due to him being a first-timer.
Ayaz Samoo, too, couldn’t be any more perfect. Honestly, I didn’t expect much from him since I hadn’t really seen him in a full time actor role before. But great performance nevertheless. I felt sorry for him the last time he was in a Jami film (O21), since he was given the screen space next to nothing, but his performance in Moor was a very well done effort to get recognised as an actor. Good job.
Samiya Mumtaz only had a flashback role and wasn’t really a permanent part of the screen. And although I am a big fan, a fan since her Dil-e-Nadaan days, but her performance in the film didn’t convince me. It was partly because of a very underdeveloped character, and partly because of she being not entirely comfortable in a Pashtun role. I wished more out of her character.
Other actors including the veteran Shabbir Rana, Nayyar Ejaz and Sultan Hussain all performed to the utmost satisfaction given whatever space they had in the story. Sonya Hussain playing Amber, however, was a little linear in her part, not necessarily an acting flaw, but her part, nevertheless, did look a bit flat.
Now the very special mention, the Baggoo Baba of Moor, played with such excellence by the veteran actor Abdul Qadir was the reason Moor not only made you sob but also smile from time to time. The acting was just, wow, with the comic, emotional and seriousness portions all stirred up well. One more fan from the new generation to Mr. Abdul Qadir.
Jami gave an amazing direction to the film. Each shot, each cut, each scene spoke something positive of the directorial abilities of Jami. The characters, a few of them, though did look a little underdeveloped but the ones that did ripe well, made up more than just good for the film’s shortcomings. This I put to Jami’s credit and criticism since he not only directed the film but also penned its screenplay. In one line, it was Jami, the director winning it over Jami, the screenwriter. Not by a big margin though.
The soundtrack of the film was just some amazing music to the ears. Though it didn’t have the ‘Strings- The band’ feel, but the music sounded very similar to the feel of ‘Strings – the music composer.’ My favourite tracks being these three, Tabagaar Hoon by Jawed Bashir, Eva by Meesha Shafi and Gul Bashri by Rahim Shah, in this particular order.
One special mention goes for the film’s cinematographer for capturing Balochistan like it has never been before. Sheer awesomeness. Balochistan is just breathtaking. If you think you have seen Pakistan because you have been up north, be prepared to be blown away by the very distinct beauty that this western province of our country possesses. It’s an absolute shame that the movie won’t be screening there. If only Balochistan had cinemas too.