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25 Apr

Was Yalghaar worth the wait?

The trailer launch of Yalghaar was just like the film itself. We had to wait for hours for it to start, and once it began, Hassan Rana spoke for an hour before finally unveiling the trailer of a film that took him three years to make. But we allowed him the delay because we are just as excited as Hassan is for what is being called Pakistan’s biggest film to date.

The trailer was attended by the entire star cast of Yalghaar in all its glory, with the exception of our hero, Shaan, and other newer actors, like Umair Jaswal who is making his big screen debut in this war epic, and Ali Rehman Khan who proved his mettle in Janaan. Other than them, everyone came. Humayun Saeed, Ayub Khoso, Adnan Siddiqui, Bilal Ashraf, Gohar Rasheed, Ayesha Omar, Armeena Khan, Atiya Khan and Sana Bucha were all present at the venue by 6 pm.

After mingling and networking for an hour, the press conference finally began at 7 pm and a very apologetic Hassan took the stage (The conference was originally supposed to start at 4 pm). The writer/producer/director of Yalghaar then explained the entire process of his film, of how he approached all the actors and what he put them through in terms of vigorous training and dedication to the film for a span of over three years. We heard that Bilal Ashraf spent seven and a half months with SSG soldiers training for combat. He had to cut down 10 percent of his body fat from a very healthy 16 percent to a not so healthy 8 percent just to look right for the part. Bilal was even made to jump out of a helicopter several times for a scene in the film.

But then the trailer was shown to us and we were left a little disappointed. Firstly, the film doesn’t look dynamic enough. What we mean by that is that Yalghaar is also suffering a little from the Pakistani film-TV syndrome where our films look like TV serials instead. This is always and always the director’s fault. A film has to be treated differently; you need to have depth in your landscape as a film cannot survive on close to mid shots. For a film as grand as Yalghaar, it doesn’t make sense to forget about drone shots and large frames in which a person can see miles and miles of land. Yes we can see all the expensive equipment and the number of big, well known stars in the film. But for someone who doesn’t know about Pakistan’s film industry, Yalghaar doesn’t look like Pakistan’s biggest film.

We also think the trailer seemed incomplete because it looks like a montage of shots without actually revealing what the plot of the film is but that could be a deliberate move from the producers.

After reaching home from the film, one couldn’t help but revisit the trailer of Waar and compare the dynamism of the two films and we really missed director Bilal Lashari then. It was his technical brilliance that resulted in Waar looking grand.

Still, we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover and there is a lot to look forward to in Yalghaar. There are a lot of performances to watch out for, such as anchor to actor Sana Bucha and Umair Jaswal. Adnan, Humayun, Shaan, Ayub and Gohar are all brilliant performers so we’re sure that they will be incredible. Ayesha Omar is doing something different from her usually happy and bubbly roles and Armeena Khan has been missed from the big screen.

Was it worth the wait, though? Decide for yourself.

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Manal Faheem Khan

The author is Contributing Editor at Something Haute who has studied film and journalism from SZABIST. Will be found at the gym if not in the office.