It came, it screened and it captured the imagination of a) those budding filmmakers who think you can’t make a good film in affordable budget; b) those cinegoers who thought that only romcoms can do well in Pakistan and c) those cinema owners who were waiting for someone who had the brains to make an inexpensive film without compromising on the quality. Laal Kabootar caters to all those people and that’s why it is being received as a movie that we all were waiting for.
Aaliya Malik (Mansha Pasha) wants to know who was behind her husband murder; Adeel Nawaz (Ahmed Ali Akbar) wants to collect as many bucks as possible to escape to Dubai; Inspector Ibrahim (Rashid Farooqi) wants to make quick bucks but for a better life which isn’t possible within his legal means. The three unrelated people are brought together by fate and the events leading to a showdown where the good wins, the bad loses and justice is served. To find out what happens and how … watch the film in cinemas!
All the main actors in the film showed their class by delivering a knockout performance, be it the calm yet angry Mansha Pasha, the cool dude Ahmed Ali Akbar, the dirty cop Rashid Farooqi or others including one actor who must remain mysterious at the moment. They make you believe that whatever is happening on screen has happened to someone close to you and the way they behave is exactly how the person you knew would have. The thrill is there from the first scene until the final one, and the violent climax is more engaging than anything you have seen in a Pakistani film in a long time. Mohammad Ahmed, Ali Kazmi, Saleem Meraj, Ishtiaq Omar have cameos in the film and none of them disappoint as they portrayed their characters perfectly. The background score by Rohail Hyatt’s son Daniyal is a winner as well since it doesn’t go overboard and keeps you involved in the narrative without being a distraction. Ali Abbas Naqvi’s writing also deserves a mention as the youngster does a fine job by not taking a break for even a scene during the film. Kamal Khan must be feeling proud of his writer and the team of people that helped him in writing the additional dialogues, making the film a collective effort.
The first half of the film (although there is no interval) is extremely slow; the audience is compensated when things go sideways but not before that because a lot is happening but not at the pace usually preferred by Anurag Kashyap and Guy Ritchie, the director’s idols. Then there is the mystery behind the over-the-top performances by theatre veterans and aspiring actors who tried too hard to stand out in a film where Mansha and Ahmed excelled by being subtle. Akbar Islam who played Ahmed’s father might be a brilliant theatre actor but the scene where he has a meltdown could have taken less time as did many others with first-timers who tried to impress the audience with their talent, slowing the pace of the narrative. Add cuss words in the narrative and you subtract potential cinegoers as well as those who would have come for a second viewing had there been no reason to beep the dialogues. The last part is most important as you want the house to go full than half empty, for commercial reasons.
The Verdict – 4/5
Laal Kabootar is a must-watch especially if you are into crime dramas; not many have been attempted in Pakistan and Kamal Khan, Hania Chima and Kamil Chima must be commended for taking the right step at the right time. The film might not do that much business but it will give confidence to all those who believe in filmmaking but not in the system through films are exhibited. It paints Karachi in a new picture and puts in the idea in the minds of youngsters that it’s better to use the city as a character, instead of placing characters in the city. It helps with the narrative as it did in Laal Kabootar where despite not having an awesome filmi soundtrack, an item number to pull the audience and a romantic angle, the film is doing well in cinemas. Go ahead and watch it before the suspense becomes common!