Na Band Na Baraati (Review): Pakistani cinema at its worst

Movie Name: Na Band Na Baraati

Release Date: June 16, 2018

Director: Mehmood Akhtar

Review by: Momin Ali Munshi

As I sit here penning my review, there is one thought that I cannot seem to get out of my mind, and that thought, actually a question, is not limited to one particular movie but is pertaining to all awful Pakistani movies that have come out in the past few years, more so this Eid. I want to ask people associated with these projects, how can you defend your films when you know about the many glaringly obvious flaws and glitches in the end product? When you know about your inferior production, then how and why do you expect others to not talk about it? Why is it that you make a horrendous film, yet I am the bad guy because I call a spade a spade?

Yes, at times there are films which divide audiences and people have a different point of view, but trust me, these films which are coming out of Pakistan, they don’t really fit that bill. And I am amazed at our prestigious publications who are giving out glowing reviews, obviously paid, to such films, which is even further complicating the entire situation. Someone reading this review might make me as the mad one, and even say that I think too highly of myself, but trust me, I’ve seen these films with ticket-paying audiences, hell I took a party of three myself to all the recent releases, so I know what the public perception is. All I want to say is that please get your act together guys, you are not fooling anyone, this will only damage the reputation of our film industry, in the long run, assuming an industry is left!

Anyhow, sorry for the rather lengthy rant, let’s get back to the film and let’s begin with the plot. The film revolves around brothers, Zahid (Shayan Khan) and Shahid (Mikaal Zulfiqar),  who live in Canada with their family which includes an eccentric dad (Qavi Khan), mother (Azra Mohyeddin) and a younger sister(Komal Farooqi). Zahid is in love with Ayesha (Anzhelika Tahir), while Sahid is seeing Zoya (Nayab Khan). An elopement scare brings about a hasty marriage which is the turning point of the film after which begins the comedy of errors.

Now on paper, this may seem like a decent idea, yes it might not be something groundbreaking, but suitable enough as the basic premise for a romantic comedy. But since the writer takes his sweet time getting to the main part, which is where the film actually picks up speed, it is too late as the audience has already given up. Also, it doesn’t help that the action starts what, thirty minutes before the end credits roll? With dialogues that hardly elicit laughter. Wouldn’t be wrong to say that a lousy screenplay is one of the major flaws of the film!

Add to that a director who probably has no idea what he is doing, and voila you have a recipe for disaster. I have always maintained in my reviews that the director is the captain of the ship, and he is responsible for what we see on the screen, and when you have a first timer actor turned director who is probably hired because of his availability, what you get is a film with shaky camera work and no vision – basically horrible direction! I mean at times you feel that the director is probably not even there and a camera is just recording whatever action it can catch, where you are seeing the back of certain actors while they are talking, the actors are repeating the same dialogues thrice because they’ve probably forgotten what to say next and nobody is saying cut.

Moving to the acting bit, debutant Shayan Khan definitely looks the part of the hero but there is a lot he needs to work on if he wants to pursue acting as a career. Being a Pakistani American, there is the issue of diction which needs voice training, also he is rather stiff on camera, hopefully, he will improve with his next film. Anzhelika Tahir, yet another non-resident Pakistani who has the accent issue, and well her acting skills are probably the same as a wooden plank, need I say more?

Mikaal Zulfiqar has been wasted, as the actor is relegated to a few scenes which he does exceedingly well, but since his character is hardly there, he leaves no impact. The dishy dude definitely looked good on camera and we want to see more of him. Debutant Nayab Khan, who was paired opposite Mikaal, surprisingly does well too, despite being a Pakistani Canadian, she does give an honest performance, though again her character does not have much scope. But a nice addition to the industry.

As for Ali Kazmi and veterans Qavi Khan, Atiqa Odho, and Azra Mohiuddin, they all have badly written characters. It is not like they don’t have decent screen time, they do, but these supporting actors don’t have any content to perform, which results in weak, forgettable performances. Had these performances not been so weak, the film would have gotten a huge push, but alas bad writing killed the characters.

The music of the film is actually not bad but it is the banal and poorly done picturization/choreography which eventually leaves a bad taste in your mouth. The videos of ‘Pyar Wyar’ and ‘Wiki leak’ are particularly abhorrent. It was a shame since both these songs were actually pretty decently composed and sung.

I hear that the film just released internationally yesterday, and while on one side I am happy that our cinema is going international and hopefully the makers will recover some of the investment after a poor run in Pakistan, on the other hand, I am questioning if this is the cinema we want to export and show to the world?

Verdict: With poor writing and no vision, this is a new low, and Pakistani cinema at its worst.

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I might be an Economics graduate from LUMS, but cinema is where my heart truly belongs. Always up for a discussion on fims and I guess you could call me a Pakistani Cinema aficionado. Email: mominalimunshi@yahoo.com

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