Eid is always a big time for cinema releases, especially local releases that schedule and book their slots months in advance. Three big banner films were originally slotted for release this Eid ul Fitr but with no confirmation on the release of Bilal Lashari’s The Legend Of Maula Jutt (there have been strong news of a delay), it looks like the holidays will see a clash between Wajahat Rauf’s Chhalawa and Yasir Nawaz’s Wrong Number 2.
Between the two, and having seen the trailers of both, I’ll definitely be booking our tickets for Chhalawa first. Here’s why…
ONE: It’s got a feel-good feel
The trailer of Chhalawa, that released yesterday at a star-studded launch, has several high points. Ostensibly a rom-com, it may not have the most original look and feel (several people in the audience pointed out the similarities with Punjab Nahi Jaungi) but it definitely has a feel-good feel.
TWO: Mehwish Hayat is a pleasure to watch
It’s always a pleasure to see Mehwish Hayat on the big screen. The camera loves her and audiences love her more. Sure, Mehwish Hayat’s biggest successes have been with Humayun Saeed, but she did look good with Azfar Rehman in Wajahat Rauf’s web series Enaaya so it’s thumbs up. More than the optics, we love that Mehwish also plays fiery women who go after their heart and are rarely held down by social pressures.
THREE: The music and yes, the dance track
Out of the film’s four tracks, two are dance numbers, one which is borderline ‘item number’ and yay for that. The cast did try to present it as a “performance-based dance number” but it’s pretty much an item number, a less raunchy version of ‘Beedi‘. This is Mehwish Hayat showing the middle finger to all her critics, who first objected to her dance track ‘Billi‘ and then objected to her Presidential Award DESPITE ‘Billi‘. Major Lolz. Here you go guys, she just went and proved that she doesn’t give a damn.
FOUR: Zara Noor Abbas’ grand debut
Zara Noor Abbas has a fantastic screen presence and demands attention. Zara can definitely act and it’s good to see her in a comic role as opposed to the oppressed women she usually plays on TV. Watching her scenes, one definitely gets a whiff of Bushra Ansari, her aunt as Saima Chaudhry especially, and that’s also endearing. I am looking forward to seeing this debutant, also because she’s someone who can be vocal about the pressures of losing weight for the camera, and she has embraced her curves regardless. Let’s hope Zara remains as real.
Does it look like I’m loving the trailer for all the wrong reasons? Maybe, but the basic elements of the film aren’t all that bad either.
As I said, it doesn’t look like Chhalawa is going to offer anything new in terms of a story. Young girl getting married off to a village idiot against her will, young girl’s true love taking a train trip to stop the wedding, young girl running away at her wedding and the conclusive climax. This appears to be the crux, with Mehwish Hayat and Azfar Rehman as the lead pair and Zara Noor Abbas and Asad Siddiqui being the side track. But the execution looks fun. Wajahat Rauf’s first two films: Karachi Se Lahore and Lahore Se Aagey did decently at the box office but didn’t go down too well with the critics. Chhalawa already looks different and more promising. Will Wajahat get third time lucky? Let’s wait and see…