Direction: Bilal Lashari
(revised after from 2 star after second viewing)
Waar clearly has been the most anticipated movie to be releasing in Pakistan this year – for the below reasons alone:
- It is Bilal Lashari’s first movie and whatever of his work we have seen so far has been top-notch
- Pakistan’s superstar Shaan Shahid is back on the big screen with another great venture after Khuda Kay Liye (his gujjar outings in between don’t count!)
- The pretty gripping trailers of the movie have been making rounds for some time now!
- The movie promises to finally show Pakistan’s take on war on terror and we have had enough of the world portraying us as the bad guys in their movies!! It is even based on true events …
- Waar has been slated for release since 2011 – and the only reason for delay has been Lashari perfecting it further!!
- As per media reports, even the music album of the movie has taken 2 years to be ready and background score another 7 months.
Audience Expectation: Waar is going to be a perfect movie – or at least close to perfect!!
Verdict: In a nutshell, Waar is a classic case of “clothes don’t make a man” where wrapped up in the sheath of sleek and stylish production is a movie with no soul or story.
Have no doubts, Waar is one of the most technically sound movie to come out of the Pakistan film industry ever – and can easily be compared to Hollywood and is much superior than most productions from our much more established neighboring film industry.
Each scene in Waar has been beautifully shot – just brilliant cinematography. The action sequences are well crafted (even though they are a bit like the PS3 game – Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of Patriot – but I could be wrong!!) and equally stylishly executed on-screen. Some of the action scenes are extremely graphic in nature (thus the movie’s adult rating), but they have been pulled off with finesse and the editing of the film is top-notch.
Music and the background score of Waar are extremely mesmerizing – and one cannot wait to listen to the OST over and over again. Kudos to Qayaas for a great job done!!
Waar, however, rests on a wafer-thin plot of an impending terrorist attack on Pakistan unlike ever before and how this special task force fights the bad guy(s) off. We have all seen Hollywood regularly churn these action-flicks out and we all know their formula pretty well.
Rest of the subplots – like Shaan’s family history, Aisha Khan-Hamza Abbasi sibling bond, Ali Azmat and his politicking are all just fillers to give the movie more oomph – but don’t add much in terms of the story.
Also while the film claims to be ‘based on true events’ – it is just a few real life incidents that the story has been built around and rest of the narrative is based on blaming “evil India” for all that’s wrong in Pakistan (seriously Dr. Hassan Rana? Your best brainwave??)
As renowned Pakistani filmmaker and media consultant, Hasan Zaidi aptly tweeted: “[Waar’s] storyline is a pastiche of predictable clichés and outright absurdities… this is a film that can only further confuse an already thoroughly confused country.”
On the performance front, Shaan is brilliant as the lead protagonist. Hamza Abbasi, after a great performance as the Moulvi in Main Hoon Shahid Afridi, delivers once again and adds to the energy of the action flick.
Meesha Shafi is one Pakistani actress that is over-rated – because she neither has a screen presence nor can she act. Maybe due to her miniscule Hollywood & Bollywood jaunts is she getting so much attention – but before she takes on any new projects, Shafi should seriously work on her styling and acting.
Also the fact that most of the movie is in English – not the first language for any of the cast members – the passion in dialogue delivery is clearly missing and the audience is made to suffer a multitude of accents and pronunciations!
Waar will still do well in Pakistan on account of the pre-release hype, given that it has released during a 5-day long Eid weekend, and has been given priority screening space by the exhibitors. But will it recover its PKR 17 crore budget? … Still an uphill task given that it is an adults only, English movie!!*
- Ladies, it is hardcore action movie, go only if you enjoy this genre of cinema.
- Please do not take your kids or force the cinema staff to let your kids in, it is not a movie for children, respect the rating!
- Otherwise, go watch Waar for the mind-blowing cinematic experience Bilal Lashari has created and leave your brain at home so that you return to sanity.
* Have heard news that a Urdu dubbed version will release in some cinemas and that the movie is screening with Urdu subtitles but that’s not confirmed.