Wajood (Review): Another nail in the coffin of old-school comebacks

Movie Name: Wajood

Release Date: June 16, 2018

Director: Javed Sheikh

Review by: Zeeshan Mahmood

Touted as a revenge thriller, ‘Wajood’ is anything but a thriller except for the last ten to fifteen minutes, when Hollywood-inspired Urdu-speaking Turkish detective, Steve Rock, played by Javed Sheikh, makes an appearance and the story takes a little intriguing yet childishly executed turn. Until that point, the film transitions from a romantic comedy to a crime thriller in a painfully slow journey of around two hours.

This is ‘Wajood’ in a nutshell!

Pakistan film industry has entered a critical phase. While on one side new filmmakers are creating a name and a market for themselves in this unpredictable movie-making business,  on the other side, some Lollywood veterans are trying to regain the lost territory, still playing tricks from their old-school playbook. After Syed Noor (Chain Aye Na) and Shaan Shahid (Arth) bit the dust recently, this Eid Javed Sheikh went behind the camera after a decade hiatus, trying finding a place for himself in the era of multiplexes and social media.

Instead of hitting the bull’s eye, ‘Wajood’ turns out another nail in the coffin of old-school comebacks. It is quite unfortunate that such a clumsily made product came from Javed Sheikh who has been an integral part of the new-age cinema and acted in some of the biggest hits of recent time here as well as in Bollywood.

The story takes off smoothly and we are introduced to the good-looking pilot, Faizan (Danish Taimoor), who works for a company in Greece. He falls in love at first sight with Arzoo (Saeeda Imtiaz) and embarks on a journey of winning the girl’s heart at any price, even stooping to stalking, which, sadly, still seems romantic to our filmmakers.

Until the intermission, the film glides as a light-hearted romance, propelled by a dash of comedy, making it a bearable part to watch, thanks to Taimoor’s chocolate-hero persona and good production quality. Afterwards, when the multi-millionaire tycoon, Jessica (Aditi Singh), makes the entry, it turns into a deplorable and nonsensical mess, devastated by badly written script, loopholes of gargantuan proportions, and senseless twists and turns. It eventually takes a cataclysmic nosedive and never recovers from it.

Poor script is an ideal recipe for a film’s crash and sadly this holds true in the case of ‘Wajood’.

Besides a dreadfully-written script, another major lowlight of ‘Wajood’ is its melodramatic and amateurish dialogues, the taste of which one can get from the online released teasers and trailer as well. These antediluvian dialogues, which used to sound filmi in the past, felt funny most of the time and irritating at other times in the film.

Javed Sheikh, disappointing as a writer, however, demonstrated his prowess adequately as a director in the movie. The production quality of the film is top-notch and has the cinematic appeal. He chose picturesque locations of Turkey to shoot the film. The romantic numbers are especially very well-shot and are a treat to watch.

At the beginning of his film career, Danish Taimoor took on massy and relatable roles, as in Wrong No. and Mehrunisa V Lub U. However, his character in ‘Wajood’ felt a disappointing decision, as it offered him very little space to deliver and grow. He performed well in the first half, but his relegated character and inhibited acting in the second half was a letdown. He is in dire need of exiting his cocoon and picking projects which make him get out of his comfort zone.

Talking about the female leads, Saeeda Imtiaz and Aditi Singh, both of them failed to leave a mark. Imtiaz got a very underwhelming character to play. She needs to work on her craft, a lot! Singh, on the other hand, played the cliched character of a vengeful woman, which fit her well but made her look one-dimensional and a banal villain.

‘Wajood’ also brought two stalwarts of the golden era, Nadeem and Shahid, together on the silver screen. But, their insubstantial characters did not get any chance to recreate the magic of the past. The eagerly-awaited reunion was a non-event.

It is unfortunate to see that our filmmakers won’t stop dehumanizing and mocking the marginalized transgenders and homosexuals. Time and again we get to see them as laughing stocks and mockable sub-humans in movies. In ‘Wajood’, Ali Saleem plays a homosexual film director, who has a thing for Danish Taimoor’s character. Despite being criminally stereotypical, Saleem played his character very well and succeeded in bringing one or two smiles to the audiences faces.

The music of the film, composed by Sahir Ali Bagga, is a little relief. Bagga lent his voice to all songs and succeeded in offering variety. The title track is quite melodious, especially the female part. It is shot very beautifully as well.

Verdict: ‘Wajood’ tries to be a smart and sultry revenge thriller but it ends up being a ludicrous and nonsensical flick, with poorly structured story, dreadful plot full of loopholes as wide as the gulf between Pakistan and India, melodramatic dialogues, and underwhelming performances. Reminiscent of Bollywood B-grade erotic thrillers, the film only leaves a bad taste in your mouth.

Rating: 2/5 stars

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