Chupan Chupai (Review): A new low for Pakistani cinema

Movie Name: Chupan Chupai

Release Date: December 29, 2017

Director: Mohsin Ali

Review by: Zeeshan Mahmood

Beside giving two and a half hits, 2017 generally remained gloomy for Pakistani cinema. Many films collapsed dismally at the box office, while some of them frustrated the audiences and critics alike. The trend continued till the last month, when two eagerly awaited movies, ‘Rangreza’ and ‘Arth – the Destination’, met the same fate before the year-ender ‘Chupan Chupai’ released.

With pre-release speculations of turning out as a dark horse, Chupan Chupai became a major disappointment for the fact that it is a blatant ‘frame by frame’ copy of 2013’s Tamil movie ‘Soodhu Kavvum’.

While remaking and copying a product of art is nothing new and nothing bad, provided it is done legitimately, but in case of Chupan Chupai, it had that very legitimacy missing as its makers could not get the formal rights of remaking the Tamil movie. On top of that, they also did not mention the source of the film, even as an inspiration, at any place, be it the posters, the trailer, or the end credits.

Such a brazen and remorseless act of copying is called plagiarism or intellectual theft and no one, who understands the gravity of this offense and the significance of the intellectual property, can celebrate it as a success for Pakistani cinema.

The extent of copying gets shockingly cleared by watching just few scenes of the original movie. The makers of ‘Chupan Chupai’ did not only pick the story, but they also blatantly lifted the characters, dialogues, screenplay, as well as production design, camera angles and even edit points from it. For this, the director Mohsin Ali scores full marks, you, the reader, decide in what art. I can only review the film for its entertainment value, relatability and the efforts put in by the artists on screen, and in terms of that, the film did offer some goods.

‘Chupan Chupai’ is, basically, the crime/action comedy film. From the façade, it looks like another Na Maloom Afraad, but it is quite different from it. It is the story of three workless guys Feddy (Zayed Razaque), Koki (Ali Rizvi), and Teeli (Vajdaan Shah), who, in quest of earning a living, end up doing kidnappings for Babu (Ahsan Khan). They originally planned to do petite crimes, but their lives take a dramatic turn when they get embroiled in the plan of kidnapping son of an uncorrupt minister (Talat Hussain), which itself was part of the nefarious plan made by the son (Faizan Khawaja) himself. What follows is the comedy of errors, with few good laughs and confusing and hard to follow climax.

I would like to give a credit to the makers for picking the right story for remaking (plagiarizing) in Pakistan. Despite having few alien elements, the story fits well in the social and political milieu of Pakistan. The corruption, police brutality, and the bad boys winning over the good boys shown in it seem like snippets from the daily news reporting in the country.

In terms of performances, the film had few highs and lows. The only saving grace of the film was the new talent it launched, among whom Ali Rizvi and Faizan Khawaja are two mentionable names. Both actors did a good job and succeeded in making a connection with the audience. It was good to see the young performers doing as good as the veterans, which includes names as big as Talat Hussain, Sakina Samoo, and Rehan Sheikh, in the film.

On the other side, both leading actors were disappointments in ‘Chupan Chupai’. Ahsan Khan, who is a fine actor, was unimpressive in the film, due to his one-dimensional character and lack of the character arc development. He, however, kept looking good on screen, giving hope that better script and direction can utilize this powerhouse of talent to his full potential.

Another huge disappointment was the underutilization of Neelam Munir and giving her the trivial and extremely sexualized character of the imaginary girlfriend of the male lead, who has nothing much to do except cosplaying and sitting on the lap. Despite it, Neelam Munir carried herself very well and left a mark in her cinematic debut. She has the potential to become next Mehwish Hayat and for that, she needs to pick right team and project. The girl will go places, for sure.

The music of the film was moderately good. The romantic duet Sadqa is composed and sung beautifully but it is shot in cliched Bollywood style. the other song Jhoom, which sounded like the rip-off of Bollywood track Manali Trance, is one of the most outrageously choreographed numbers in Pakistani cinema ever.

Verdict: Even though it offered good comedy, launched new talent and was entertaining and refreshing a bit, this act of plagiarism is a new low for Pakistani cinema. So, it cannot be celebrated.

Rating: 1/5 stars

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