Movie Name: Actor In Law
Release Date: Sept 13, 2016
Director: Nabeel Qureshi
Review by: Aayan Mirza
Actor In Law (AIL) was a winsome experience at multiple levels. The film not only entertains you as per its own prowess, but also reminds you of how far we have come in terms of film-making in such tight period and resources. Surely there are many more miles to go, but the road travelled hasn’t been any short either, and that’s only counting it since the Khuda Kay Liye (KKL) days.
AIL, unlike Na Maloom Afraad (NMA), or even Jawani Phir Nahi Aani (JPNA) for that matter wasn’t an outright comedy explosion, yes it has a large comic foundation: situational comedy mostly, but there is also a big social element to the film; underlying messages and subplots, and a sizeable portion of drama too. I would thus avoid drawing any parallels between the three.
Actor In Law and his case:
Shaan Mirza (Fahad Mustafa) is a law college dropout and an aspiring, struggling actor in the family that has a lawyer patriarch, Rafaqat Mirza (Om Puri); not any successful one though, but someone who wears his honesty like a shining armour.
After scores of unsuccessful auditions and chances for films and TV, Shaan finds a theatre where his talent is appreciated and his dreams of fame are realised. But life is the name of one gigantic roller-coaster and like every good one, this one has its own turns and twists.
With an ease level of a hand in glove with his character, Fahad Mustafa outshone everyone in the film. Not only did he look good on-screen, but had the most befitting expressions whenever the camera focused him. And the dance steps, very well done.
Om Puri as a stern and disappointed father was simply perfection personified, there isn’t one other actor I can think of who would have suited this character this well. Two biggest acting imports of Pakistan from across the border, Naseeruddin Shah (KKL and Zinda Bhaag) and Om Puri (AIL), and two excellent court scenes in their debuts, amazing.
Mehwish Hayat plays and plays well a hotheaded Parsi journalist named, Meenu Screwvala. Meenu is telling this story as she knows it much more than anyone else and has her own ways of doing things. Mehwish has definitely raised her game with this character as it allowed her to be lot more than just a pretty face in the film, with its Parsi element; although a little underutilised, but hitting as a fresh addition to the usual lineup of characters in Pakistani films.
The other side of the case:
Film’s antagonistic side was anchored masterfully by Nayyar Ejaz, Ally Khan and Saleem Mairaj, and need I say more after mentioning these names? The film also had numerous cameos with big names like Talat Hussain, Humayun Saeed, Mahira Khan, Noor ul Hassan, Rashid khawaja and Rehan Sheikh all gracing the screen well. The director and producer/writer duo of Nabeel Qureshi and Fizza Ali Meerza also made appearances in the film. All other actors performed well in their given space.
Merits and demerits of the case:
Acting, like in most other Pakistani films, was one of the strongest pillars in this one too. The one pleasingly surprising factor in the film, however, was its script, a bit too predictable at times, but genuinely good in keeping your interest alive in the whole thing till the very end, which, thank God, didn’t feel any unnecessarily dragged.
Direction and the cinematography of the film were simply wow too. Karachi hasn’t looked and felt this beautiful and cultured ever, and this I say as someone who has lived the most part of his life in the same city. The sets and locations were all too good.
Music and the background score were kept quite situation oriented and the blend of Shani Arshad at the helm with names like Atif Aslam, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, and Asrar worked pretty well for the film. The tracks, on whole, lack a big ‘on-repeat’ value but are all beautiful and definitely have some short-term capability of catching your tongue.