A quick review of 3 Bahadur…
Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy is the real hero in this localized super-hero animation. To brave the unchartered terrain of directing Pakistan’s first full length animation feature, at a time when superstar flaunting big banner films find it tough enough to survive, is not an easy task. Imagine putting so much thought, hard work and hard earned revenue into a project that will probably never do as well as, say an agenda film raking it in on bashing India and starring some of the biggest names in the country. And yet this is what SOC chose to do.
A big thanks to Madiha of Laal’s for inviting me to the private screening because having missed the premiere I honestly didn’t know how soon I’d manage to buy tickets and go. It was, of course, priority on my weekend agenda. We were perched on one of the highest rows and initially – to my disappointment – the cinema appeared half empty from what I could see. When the movie ended and the lights came on I realized it was packed with tiny kids, all burrowed in their seats with buckets of popcorn. That’s where the chuckles had been rising from.
So, 3 Bahadur. It would be idealistic to say it was flawless; flawless it was certainly not. 3 Bahadur needed details, whether it was in the animation or the characterization of Saadi, Kamil and Amna or Mungoo or even Baba Balaam. There wasn’t enough detailing. There was lack of detailed thought in the storyline too: why was Andheri Basti so under-populated? Why weren’t there more villagers, stray dogs, crows and horses? Why didn’t the man, who so generously distributed super powers amongst our three heroes, use them to save the village himself? There were too many unanswered ambiguities in the plot.
On the bright side, I personally loved some of the characters: Kamil being my favourite super hero, Baba Balaam being absolutely wonderful (didn’t see enough of him) and Pateeli, who I referred to as The Hulk, having a delightful flip side. There were some scenes that brought laughter to even the most hardened cynics: the bakri-bakra scene, Kamil’s hopping around, the resident goons and their antics. There were moments of unexpected comic relief: “Is that Amir Liaqat?” a young girl asked aloud from the audience when Sadi’s father came out on the screen for the first time! I loved the two songs featured in the film. And I adored the message it sent out, even at the end.
Would I recommend 3 Bahadur to my readers? Absolutely! Such a fantastic effort should be appreciated and applauded. It wasn’t perfect but then for one and a half hour one can easily put criticism aside and enjoy heroism for what it’s worth. Like I said, Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy is the real hero here!