Movie Name: Teefa In Trouble
Release Date: July 20, 2018
Director: Ahsan Rahim
Review by: Momin Ali Munshi
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‘It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey’- this quote uttered by Maya Ali’s character Anya in the film, could very well suffice as a quick one-line review for the movie where from the very beginning you know how the film will end, yet you enjoy seeing the journey unfold on the silver screen which quite honestly is nothing short of a magnificent cinematic experience. It takes you from the choked streets of Old Lahore to the picturesque locations of Poland, you meet some genuinely hilarious characters, get to see some splendid shots accompanied by a consistent background score and songs that will stay with you for a long time – goes without saying that this journey is one you want to embark on.
The film opens in the streets of Old Lahore and we are introduced to our main protagonist Teefa (Ali Zafar) who in a true filmy style makes his entry which is then followed by one of the most well-shot chase sequences to have come out of Pakistani cinema. We learn our Lahori hero is a street-smart small-time goon and henchman to Butt Sahab( Mehmood Aslam). Butt Sahab has a kooky son Billu Butt (Marhoom Ahmad Bilal) who he wants to see married to the headstrong Anya (Maya Ali)- daughter of his once best pal Bashira aka Bonzo( Javed Sheikh) who is settled in Poland. When the proposal gets turned down, a plan is hatched whereby Teefa will abduct Anya from Poland and bring her to Lahore and with that begins the journey for Teefa.
Now while the plot is basic and rather underwhelming, it is the treatment of this plot which has been garnished with some of the best action sequences we have seen in a local film, scenes and dialogues which are genuinely funny, and an effort on part of the makers to make sure that they provide wholesome entertainment, which makes up for the plain premise. There is never a dull moment in the film where every scene is infused with comedy which is extremely relatable and elicits laughter. Furthermore, the action sequences as mentioned earlier are applaud-worthy and make you sit up and take notice of the hard work that went in to shoot them.
Ever since our film industry has revived lots of films have come about but there has always been this constant complaint of them not being filmy enough and feeling drama like, something which has unfortunately been true for most of them. But Ahsan Rahim, the magician behind the camera along with his talented team of Art Directors and Cinematographers shatters this from the very first opening scene itself making it very clear that the film is a magnum opus, a cinematic experience where you will see a huge canvas with big filmy frames capturing Lahore and Poland in all the glory. The film as the title of the review says has resplendent visuals which definitely make Ahsan Rahim a director to look out for.
But not all is hunky dory as by the time the second half begins the film loses its pace and also becomes slightly repetitive where the viewers are genuinely not up for another fight sequence or another climax ( the film has many). Moreover, some scenes could easily have been chopped or reserved for a directors cut version on DVD, like for instance the one where good angel bad angel trope is on display as we have five Ali Zafar’s fighting each other. Also, some may argue that most of the comedy was refined stage humor, which I agree it was, but given the characters, it made perfect sense for them to talk the way they did and thus it all gelled in perfectly. Although I still think some viewers may find this overdose somewhat off-putting.
Ali Zafar shines bright as Teefa as he fully embraces the role which is quite the opposite of how he is off-camera. From his body language, accent, the way he delivers the cheeky one-liners, the little nuances, all make for a brilliant performance which may seem over the top at times but that’s what the point was! Maya Ali also leaves a mark with her debut performance and shows that she has arrived. She is believable in her role of the stubborn Polish-born Anya and looks beautiful on-screen and definitely has that elusive screen presence despite the fact that the make-up artist didn’t really do that great of a job with her makeup.
Mehmood Aslam and Asma Abbas both light up the screen with their presence and how we wish there was more of Asma jee who though performs the stock character of a Punjabi mom, but she is really good. Marhoom Ahmad Bilal makes the character Billu Butt his own and is really likable. Nayyar Ejaz has a brief role yet he impresses as always. Faisal Qureshi who I have always disliked in the Ufone adds was actually good in the film and does full justice to the side-kick friend character. Javed Sheikh doing what he does in every film is getting kind of boring now- though yes he has a very strong presence. Seemi Raheel jee should do more films, loved her brief role. Mah-e-Nur Haider looked beautiful and should take on meatier roles now. Formel model Sofia Khan is another great addition to the acting fraternity.
Coming to the music of the film, you know it has to be perfection when you have one of the most talented musicians of the country composing the soundtrack for his ambitious maiden production. The four main tracks are all beautifully composed and shot although I wish I could say the same for their placement. ‘Item Number’ just came out of nowhere and even the other songs seemed a bit out of context. I mean I love the songs and the lyrics hit you hard, but you don’t really buy the characters feeling those words. Nonetheless, the songs are a huge plus! Add to that the consistently brilliant background score by Shani Arshad and that signature Teefa music, and you have to agree this is one of the strongest music ever for a local film.
Verdict: A technically sound and beautifully shot film with all the right ingredients for an entertaining watch.