Revenge of the Worthless (Review): An unimpressive film set in the backdrop of Swat insurgency

Movie Name: Revenge of the Worthless

Release Date: July 22, 2016

Director: Jamal Shah

Review by: Zeeshan Mahmood

Before finally hitting the cinemas Revenge of the Worthless (ROTW) was postponed several times, more than one could keep a count of, and the release came after Maalik controversy which antagonized some people with its stereotypical representation of certain ethnicities and politicians. So, naturally, one was skeptical of what this film did have to offer in terms of the cinematic experience and the narrative. It tried its best to tell the story of the Swat insurgency and tales of heroic people of the valley who fought against it, but it did not impress with its cinematic outlook.

ROTW establishes its non-cinematic value at the very start with blurry scenes and poor editing, which would be noticeable to even the least observant person in the audience, and it maintains the value till the end successfully. It is not the first film which was presented as a ‘film’ despite having serious technical shortcomings, such as directorial incompetence, sloppy camera work and hasty editing. We have actually gotten used to it.

Jamal Shah is a very big name of the television and art in Pakistan. He is a seasoned actor and runs a prestigious art institute ‘Hunerkada’. His debuting at the big screen with directing a film based on Swat insurgency and the restoration of the peace in the tumultuous valley carried great significance, as it was one right story to bring to the big screen. As a director he failed to leave a mark but as a scriptwriter he collected some genuinely good stories of people suffered from the menace of extremism.

The plot of the film revolves around the lives of various people living in Swat at the time Taliban gradually gained hold of the valley by exploiting the religious authority and because of the lack of government’s writ. Zarak Khan (Jamal Shah) is a progressive, resourceful and proud Pakhtoon who has taught and trained his wife and two daughters to defend their namoos (home) and on the other end of the spectrum is Malik Qahar Khan (Qazi Zubair) who hates his son Gulalai (Abdul Raheem) for being transgender and disgrace to the family. Among all is the ferocious and maneuvering Zarar Khan (Ayub Khoso) under whom leadership the Taliban movement spreads like fire in the forest and engulfs the whole valley.

The cast of the film consists of both the seasoned actors and the new comers/adventurers. The most notable names include Firdous Jamal and Ayub Khoso who saved the day amid serious directorial shortcomings, as expected from the veteran actors like them. The performances by all other actors were superficial and annoying at times. The Lollywood diva Noor had a special appearance in the film but she had only one line to speak in the whole film.

The similar background score was used throughout the film, without considering the gravity of the situation. The Pashtu song was a great addition to the film. However, a ridiculous rap by Abdul Raheem, shown as a backstory of Gulalai, made no sense at all.

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revenge-of-the-worthless-reviewRevenge of the Worthless, set in the backdrop of Swat insurgency and counter-terrorism operation by the army, offers nothing much in terms of the cinematic experience or grand performances but tells the heroic stories of the brave people of the valley honestly. It should have been released as a TV film on the national television to widely spread its message instead of testing its salability on the box office.


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