Something Haute Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
After Rangreza and Arth – The Destination’s poor performance at the box office, the industry was praying for a miracle and it seems that our prayers have been answered in the shape of Chupan Chupai. As soon as the film started playing, many industry insiders breathed a sigh of relief because one can tell from the very get go if the film is going to be a disappointment. Mohsin Ali’s Chupan Chupai has you hooked from the very beginning.
It’s a story about four boys, and a girl, who are trying to make money by living on the wrong side of the law. After facing rejection and hardships, these boys decide to turn to crime and end up getting stuck in a complicated situation where they could soon end up in jail if they don’t cover their tracks. That’s all we can say about the plot without giving away any spoilers.
We can’t say what our favourite aspect of the film is, simply because there are so many. But 2017 is thankfully ending on a very strong note; everyone in the film knew what they were doing. From the lead stars, Ahsan Khan, Neelam Munir, Faizan Khwaja, Ali Rizvi, Wajdan Shah and Zaid Sheikh, to veteran actors Talat Hussain, Javed Sheikh, Rehan Sheikh, Saife Hasan, all of the highly talented actors made the world of the film come alive. Personally for us, Faizan Khawaja is the breakthrough artist of the film. Playing the role of a cunning man who happens to be the son of a Minister, Faizan takes us through an emotional rollercoaster, proving all the while that he can act, emote and dance all at the same time.
It also helps that the director had complete control over the film. The storytelling technique deployed in Chupan Chupai is a unique one. There are several twists and conflicts in the film and Mohsin Ali deliberately and smartly withholds information in every scene, making the twists even punchier. As the film progresses, the twists get more and more ridiculous (in a good way).
Technically, the film is spot on. The dialogues are well written, sound design is impeccable and really adds to the film, editing and cinematography are very professionally done as well.
As a feminist, I do take issue with the fact that there are barely any women in the film. And Neelam Munir’s character and role are questionable (not wanting to give away the story). But as a realist, I do understand that there isn’t much space for women in the world that Mohsin Ali has created. One just hopes that Mohsin Ali’s next cinematic venture has room for women.
What truly sets Chupan Chupai apart is the fact that it introduces us to characters and notions that aren’t cliched, or overdone, and while that is hard to do in today’s day and age, it is also very easy for Pakistani filmmakers because there are so many locally unique stories and concepts that haven’t yet been explored. The film, shot in Karachi, is an almost realistic depiction of what life is like in Pakistan and films like these have a longer shelf life than their box office runs because they can be watched and analyzed later to understand society as it truly is in 2017. No doubt that the director has taken creative liberties and pushed the envelope as to what is actually possible and what isn’t, but even with all the fantastical ideas of dream girls and kind-hearted criminals, Chupan Chupai is really real.