Movie Name: Gumm
Release Date: January 11, 2019
Director: Ammar Lasani and Kanza Zia
Review by: Momin Ali Munshi
We know this review comes out a bit late, but then what do you say about a film which gets disowned by its team a day before its nationwide release? When one of the main actors of the film reveals how the film is a rip off of another production and shares his skepticism? Well, not much is left to say.
Add to that the fact that the film had lost half its showtimes over the weekend, and was entirely out of cinemas in a week! Nonetheless, here is a review for the sake of a review.
No One Parameter
Before I get to the film, however, there are two points I want to make. The first is that our film industry is growing by leaps and bounds every year, and so are our expectations. What was celebrated five years back, might not even be tolerated now! Thus, the leeway given to films, especially in a review, is changing.
Secondly, I believe that whenever reviewing a film, it’s important to adequately take into account the capabilities and resources available to the creators while analyzing the film. It’s unfair to use the same parameters while reviewing say, Jawani Phir Nahi Ani 2 and Pinky Memsaab.
The reason I mentioned these two points is to make clear that when I walked into the cinema hall, I had realistic expectations from the film. I had seen the trailer, and I had a decent idea as to what would unfold on the silver screen.
I was expecting shabby camerawork but was hoping that the story would pack a punch with its thrill element. That the story would somewhat make up for the weaknesses and that I was going to be an accommodating reviewer who would keep in mind the production canvas of the film while reviewing the end product. But despite all that, the movie disappointed me and how!
A Cheap Imitation
Gumm came across as a sad reminder of the old school Lollywood we had left behind, with its clumsy camera work, unimaginative storytelling, and a heavily inspired (read chaapa) screenplay from a Hollywood film.
They say imitation is the best form of flattery but what do you call the imitation that transcends the borders and crosses on to the plagiarism side. Where the film you are seeing is a frame by frame copy of another film? This last happened in 2017 when Chupan Chupai, a blatant ‘frame by frame’ copy of a Tamil movie ‘Soodhu Kavvum,’ was released and we called them out, because things like these don’t fly unnoticed anymore.
Yet, something similar has happened again as Gumm has taken ‘inspiration’ from a Hollywood film, Wrecked. From the usage of same shots, plot devices, the film comes across as a cheap rip-off of a movie, that itself, was bashed by critics when it released in 2010. However, the makers did try and bring in some originality to the plot by moving away from the original script, but on the whole, despite some plusses, it fell flat.
The film begins with a crash, and we first meet our protagonist (Sami Khan), who opens his eyes in the wrecked car trying to make sense of things as he is suffering from memory loss. We learn more about our hero in the flashbacks while he battles the jungle and the antagonist (Shamoon Abbasi) in the present.
Now where the film deserves due credit is with its realistic depiction of the man vs. wild scenario. Obviously, the film did not have the budgets as the ‘The Revenant,’ but given the limited resources, the film does a pretty decent job. The background music, despite being a bit over the top at times, does compliment the film in bits and succeeds in creating the tension.
Furthermore, Sami Khan and Shamoon Abbasi both put their best foot forward when it comes to the acting department, exactly what one expected from both the seasoned performers. Although I must add that Shamoon is wasted in a role that otherwise could have been something else altogether, and the dubbing goof up further took away from his role.
The Ugly Side
As for the negatives, well, the camera work, as mentioned earlier, was shabby. The handheld shots and close-ups might have worked for smaller portions, but their over-abundant usage came across as amateur. The ‘arch shot,’ too, never looked this bad.
Also, there are some significant inconsistencies in the film, and probably the makers had an ending in mind and just wanted to get there, defying logic and reasoning in the process. The random flashbacks didn’t help this process, and neither did the editing.
Moreover, the thrill element which I was expecting from the film was nowhere to be found, and after a point, the film was on a boring journey to its conclusion.
Verdict: Clumsy camera work, unimaginative storytelling, and a heavily inspired screenplay from a Hollywood film bring down an otherwise ambitious effort on the part of the makers to bring a new genre to the silver screen.