Yalgaar is a movie I had zero expectations of but it still managed to disappoint. The saddest part is that with so much money spent and so many incredibly talented artists involved it could have been something memorable instead of the hotch potch I watched.I salute all the brave men and women of the armed forces who sacrifice so much to keep Pakistan safe, on top of all they had to suffer this film seems like an unnecessary insult to their bravery and courage.
I have to say I am incredibly impressed with “doc” Hassan Waqas Rana; this man must have some kind of special magic or charm which allows him to wheedle this much money out of the (hopefully) intelligent individuals from whom he got his funding . After watching this film with all due care and diligence , I still have absolutely no idea why he gave himself so much screen time or what exact significance his character had in this admittedly flimsy plot. It seems as if Doc had a whale of a time watching himself on screen and fulfilling some deep seated fantasies about playing polo and flying helicopters. Meanwhile more competent and accomplished actors were forced to mouth dialogues praising his character’s skills at everything from sports to flying to leadership. However Doc proved himself to be the real actor of the cast when accepting each forced compliment with the kind of barely detectable level of humility Donald Trump has perfected.
The biggest tragedy of this debacle was the absolute waste of actors like Adnan Siddiqui, who managed to do in one scene what the entire film could not. Just one moment of Adnan Siddiqui’s spirit walking in to his wife’s hospital room to bid her adieu reduced me to actual tears of empathy compared to the 99 % of tedium induced by the rest of the movie. Similarly, there is an absolute reason why Shaan is a star (despite his often strange and stupid remarks), the man lights up the screen. His intensity and screen presence are undeniable and just like the other actors he was left underutilized because Doc had a midlife crisis to manage.
In stark contrast two actors were given such an excess of screen that time I began to wonder if they might be related to Doc: that would be Bilal Ashraf and Ahmed Taha Ghani. I have a feeling these two were supposed to provide some charm and romance to the story, but couldn’t because that would have required some actual hard work from everyone , Some cruel , unkind individual has told Bilal Ashraf he is so “good-looking” and “ dashing” that he doesn’t have to concentrate on honing his skills as an actor , and tragically he believes them. What else could explain the completely non sequitur shots of his sweat covered (YUK!!!) body shadowboxing to show how fit and macho he is? What a waste! Ghani was perhaps the more bearable of the two because he actually played along as the love struck fool but like Ashraf his screen time was not justifiable in terms of skill or presence. Either way both actors needed the guidance of a strong director.
The female contingent were much better: Aleeze Nasir, Sana Bucha and Armeena Rana and Ayesha Omar actually managed to show some depth to justify their screen presence .Despite of the epidemic of blond hair that seems to infect army wives and “love interests”, the ladies played their limited parts well and provided some happy relief from the forced machismo and general displays of brainless male bravura from the rest of the characters. As to Uzma Khan, whoever cast her as an army doctor needs to visit a hospital and soon.
Sana Bucha had the biggest role and played it well but the awful beige hair was a huge distraction. I get the feeling Doc or whoever wrote the excuse for a story couldn’t quite decide if Journalists are the real enemy or the terrorists. In the end it seems as if he let the journalists asking difficult questions during national emergencies have the benefit of the doubt and made Sana’s character slightly positive.
I am still not sure what this film was about but according to the various interviews and publicity releases It might be (cannot say for sure ) about Zarb e Azab ( update it’s about clean up of terrorists in Waziristan) the army operation carried out to free Swat from the clutches of fundamentalist terrorists . What a missed opportunity to educate and inform the public about the difficulties the people suffered under the terrorists and how important this cleanup operation was. Instead we got the usual angry local lover in the form of Humayoon Saeed as the curiously named of Trojan (or Torojan … perhaps we will never know ).
Trojan is such a sharif badmash that despite some rather shocking sequences, he doesn’t actually rape or hurt Ayesha Omar’s character but is waiting for her to…….Ahem “agree “to his demands after murdering her fiancé and an entire wedding party. The plus point in that was a lot less screen time for Sekander Rizvi who played her fiance ( bullet dodged by the audience right there!). In the main Trojan seemed a case of naam barrey, darshan chote and was the least frightening villain I have seen in a while. The silky long hair did nothing for Humayoon’s evil quotient and his handsome, passive face was never threatening. Which brings us to Gohar Rasheed’s wasted role and his character’s nonsensical death . Again a decent plot point wasted because of a bad or nonexistent script.
By the end of this mess I had a few questions:
Why these were supposedly well practiced, battle hardened soldiers and enemy combatants wearing red tea towels on their heads instead of camouflage? Did they want their heads blown off?
What exactly was the purpose of showing so much blood and gore? Ayub Khoso as Colonel Jogezai was shown being tortured with drills, before a sudden and miraculous recovery. Why not show the patience and sacrifice required to live through injuries and rehabilitation.. Or wasn’t that cool enough?
Why was every commander told to “bring back my troops and equipment in one piece “after being given the order to go on a mission?
Was there a meeting during the making of this movie in which Doc stood on a table and declared “main sab kay sath insaaf karoonga !” , and this is why everyone has so much screen time whether their role required it or not ?
The clearest sign of a very weak film is the constant use of voice overs to explain things the director couldn’t get across. This film was full of such lectures and other devices of clumsy jingoism that did nothing to educate or inspire.
Sigh I give up there were so many contradictory plot points that its giving me a headache counting them.
Pakistan has some of the best writers in the world, for goodness sake use them. Film making maybe a hobby or khawhish for some but you can only get lucky (Waar) once or maybe twice, the rest of time requires skill, humility and dedication. This film had a reportedly huge budget which was either frittered away or spent on something else because it just doesn’t show in anything. It’s great to know the movie is running and earning a fraction of its cost back, but that is because its Eid and there are no other choices except the gutter humour that is Mehru Nissa V Lub u . Its time Pakistani Film Makers got their act together and got serious about their filmmaking as a craft, rather than just making a quick commercial success…. the public deserve better. My last plea is could Ashir Azeem make more movies like Maalik and refuse to appear in dabbas like this one .