Movie Name: Maalik
Release Date: April 8, 2016
Director: Ashir Azeem
Review by: Aayan Mirza
You, you there, and you all can watch it, enjoy it, and take something back from it at the end of the day. A sociopolitical film at its foundation, and a very stylish garnishing of action on it; Maalik makes up for a bit dragged yet quite a captivating watch overall. For understanding the theme part of it, consider it as if Waar and Chambaili had a baby together.
The detail and its devil:
A security company established by father-son retired SSG officers (Special Service Group) in Pakistan has seen just too much wrong in the country too closely. But they are the best in business, and thus serve a pretty high profile clientele. The story is told backwards and we are taken through the journey of this company’s establishment, until the end of the first half that brings us back to the current day where some confessions are made and we enter the second half where one after another, and a lot of times quite simultaneously some more of the subplots are unfolded until it all comes to a crossroad that finally takes us towards the end and message of the film.
While most of the subplots were dutifully given their conclusions, there remained certain bits of the story that either got too overshadowed by their own gist or weren’t entirely given an answer for. Where did that second child of Asad come from? For instance. Or in what capacity was Ehtishamuddin’s character was shown at the beginning of the film giving the ‘ultimatum’ to the Police IG, as an awakened, responsible citizen? Or as an eventually successful political power?
But the story was simply too good at its duty of message deliverance that by the end of the film you care simply too little about most of these voids in between.
Even if there wasn’t an ‘Intermission’ written on screen at the end of the first half, one could easily dissect the two parts of the film in terms of their treatment. While the first half moved with quite a pace with its action, style and wit taking the lead, the three, in second half, take a seat way back, and on front come the message and the emotion elements, at times taking too long to roll out. It was almost as if the halves were actually two different movies altogether.
The consistency in the film, however, was brought in by some excellent dialogue writing and its deliverance by the actors. While Ashir brought the same magic on screen as he did years back in his super-hit drama Dhuwan, he and the camera looked here way more at ease with each other. His bad that he had to share a film with career actors like Sajid Hassan, Ehteshamuddin, Farhan Ally Agha, Adnan Shah Tipu, Rashid Farooqi and Hassan Niazi, who were all simply too at home with their respective parts.
Three special mentions at acting being Ehteshamuddin with his superb one liners, Adnan Shah Tipu with his excellence at maintaining the wit and shrewdness of his character and then of course, Hassan Niazi, who as the notorious ‘Saien’ was simply outstanding at making us hate his character. Niazi will definitely add a lot to his existing fan base that is going to remember this performance of his for a long time.
All the relatively new faces performed to much satisfaction while Shakeel Hussain can definitely be the honourable mention here.
So a thumbs up to Ashir for his writing and performance and two thumbs up to all the great performers.
For the direction and editing part of the film, all that can be said is that Ashir made a pretty solid effort as a first timer, but that very fact also meant a little uneven and a bit too dragged of a film. A lot of it could have been chopped off, a lot of it was repetitive in nature and a lot of it in-between was quite non-film like.
The soundtrack didn’t have much role to play due to the genre of the film but whatever was there was done to a good level of satisfaction. The cinematography was rugged but good and the locations shot were excellently chosen.