Movie Review: Waar

Waar Poster

 

 

 

Direction: 

Actors: , Aisha Khan, Hamza Abbasi & 

Rating: **1/2

(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.

Aisha Khan and Shamoon Abbasi look good and are adequate in their roles – but need to really work on their speech. Meanwhile, Ali Azmat should just focus on singing!!

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!!*

My recommendation:

  • 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.

About Samra Muslim

Comments

  1. Finally fair and honest review, does’nt make sense 9.2 for this movie at imdb.Also the movie review for MHSA by samra
    was spot on.. keep it up sam :)

  2. Thanks Samra

    I have watched the movie thrice and definitely on Cinema, i am regular watcher of the movies especially Hollywood but the WAAR has impressed me a-lot, Every time i go watch i love each and every scene.

    No doubt its a mind blowing flick in every respect. Also you have reviewed it beautifully, nice WORK all hails to you.

    Regards

    Ehtesham

  3. Y do these Pakistanis sound so irritated when india is blamed?? Isnt india blaming Pakistan for any thing at all that happens in their country?? Y r v getting hurt? ? N by the way, u can have a looooong list of missing story movies from india n Hollywood, then y make a big deal out of this? This is just a first step.. n deservs to b judged accordingly.. for a second, think Pakistan n not EVIL INDIA.. they ACTUALLY play gamrs..

  4. Asad, Pakistan says:

    Such negative tone depicted here by you..we all should appreciate good quality production..
    for God’s sake we are talking about “lollywood” , it is a non entity in Pakistan.
    When I was watching “waar” I felt like I was watching a Hollywood movie. The feeling itself was worth the price of my ticket never mind other facets of the film. I think you prefer to watch movies like “Besharam” and “Chennai Express”. Good for you.

    Please read what Ram Gopal Verma has to say about Waar! Check out his tweets. He was stunned beyond belief. If Indians could appreciate a Pakistani movie then why not Pakistani bloggers!

  5. If an iconic multiple award-winning Indian director Ram Gopal Varma salutes Pakistani director for such a blockbuster then there must be some thing our critics are missing to understand.

    http://tribune.com.pk/story/622921/waar-struck-ram-gopal-varma-gushes-over-lasharis-blockbuster/

    • Errr – just one question, when was the last good movie RGV had made and you had seen and liked?

      • Asad, Pakistan says:

        I guess Samra holds a MBA degree in Film making. :)
        I do not understand the jealousy and negative mindset of Pakistani people.
        If rahat/shafqat amanat ali/ali zafar/shakeel siddqui goes and does something good in India, every pakistani crictic all of a sudden wakes up and start chanting slogans like ‘proud to be a pakistani” but when they are in Pakistan, no one gives a crap about their talent and works. I guess it is important for pakistani artists to have an “indian stamp” before they get a final approval from pakistani junta.
        Anyways, who cares what Raa shahib thinks of it – what actually matters is the fil is doing good business in Pakistan

        • There is an MBA in film making??
          And you have been given the one that was meant for me?
          You obviously know more about me and film making education than I do … so what do I say in a reply to you?

          • Asad, Pakistan says:

            Well, just appreciate good quality works of Pakistanis if possible.
            No need to criticize Pakistani artists just for the heck of it.
            Those accents used in the movies I would take them over any heavy Indian accents that are normally used by Indian artists in Bollywood movies.(But this never caught your eye)
            Meesha Shafi was not bad at all in her acting role. I would take her over Shahrukh khan any day.

            Pakistanis always take the ball in “D” but they miss the goal.
            I hope they can keep up with the same standards in distant future.
            I am watching trailers of new coming movies like operation 021, Moor, Josh etc
            The future of Pakistani industry looks bright.

            No hard feelings. Ignore my MBA comments. You know a lot about reviewing movies just don’t be pessimistic all the time.

          • Not pessimist – just realistic and not going to be biased because its Pakistani.
            To me a film is a film – whoever makes it – after all they are all taking a piece of my time.

  6. mansoor hamza says:

    Its a gud movie. Just appreciation. A gud start for such kind of movies

  7. Bilal Lashari has really put the standards higher for the Pakistani film industry, If they continue making such good movies i think the cinema’s will start previewing Pakistani movies rather than from other countries which is a very good thing for Pakistani industry.

  8. In your blog you’ve mentioned about the film’s budget as “PKR 17 million” (which equals to PKR 1.7 Crore)

    But responding to a reader’s comment you talked about the budget as PKR 17 Crore!

    “Samra says:
    October 18, 2013 at 12:54 pm

    - Lastly box office recovery is only a concern from the point of view of recovering its PKR17Crore budget – ”

    What is the actual budget, I am confused as there is a substantial difference between the two figures quoted by you!!

    • Thank you for pointing out the typing error on my part – the budget is 17 crore and I have now correct it on the blog too.

  9. Great review Samra! Pakistani film industry should grow up now.

  10. Great review Samra, I totally agree with you if someone in film industry today promises to bring some substance in their movie, they should keep it + it’s not fair to promote the movie thru a impressive trailer and when the viewer inspires and decide to go to watch it, he gets a feeling that ‘I was a fool to came here to watch this trash’. Pakistani film industry should grow up now and make something different. People are losing their expectations from Pakistani film industry right now, and most likely they decide not to go to watch another Pakistani movie!

  11. I think the movie is great. As for blaming India? Well isn’t India involved in supporting terrorist activities in Balochistan right now? Not to mention how they violate LoC and KILL innocent CIVILIAN Kashmiris in Pakistan regularly now.

    Even today in American Hollywood movies, Russians are portrayed as the bad guys. thus the whole logic of India should not be a bad guy in the movie is absurd, even though, they are killing innocent Pakistanis every day, and they celebrate Indian state sponsored mass murderers like sirbjhit singh who killed 11 innocent Pakistanis?

    I find such criticism to be absurd. People who criticize Pakistani movies for portraying Indians as the bad guys, are the ones who need a reality check. Clearly, they are the ones who are delusional.

    • Well personally I am the Indo-Pakistan peace girl – so for me any movie from either country blaming the other is bad discourse. Rest everyone has a right to their own opinion – respect.

  12. Also about the use of english in the movie, In my opinion is to get international audience attention for the movie. And for confirmation that i have seen the movie with urdu subtitles in cine gold plex in bahria town islamabad.

  13. This review is not to hurt anybody or any official of any country. It’s a one person opinion and it don’t depicts the opinion of whole nation or religion. So if somebody get hurts from my words then I am willing to amend the review.
    I totally disagree with your one sided review, i watched the waar movie on the first day of eid on cinepax and on 3rd day on cine gold plex, And let me tell you something more about myself that I have watched almost top 500 imdb movies, and more then 7000 movies in different languages English, Korean, Chinese, Japanese, French, German, Hindi, Solvak. Cantonese etc.
    Here is my review after reading your review.
    “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.”
    whatttttt? No soul or story, The story of the movie is connected if you watched the movie closely. Did you ever see a thriller movie? I may think not. The movie is based on real events like 2009 police academy attack, the rescue of Chinese engineer, attack on Mulla Siraj Fort. The fiction charters like ijaz kahan (Ali azmat), Meesha (Zoya, Lakhshami). In my opinion the fiction character is added to add twists in the movie and get more audience attention. These fiction characters depicting our political situation on making a new dam. As well as involvement of indian secret agency raw in promoting terrorism in Pakistan. About the soul of the movie. It is one of the best soulful movie I have ever seen. The soul of the movie is to tell the world about our stand on terrorism that we are not terrorists and we don’t promote terrorism but we are playing our role in countering the terrorism. The movie also shows that how our security forces are giving sacrifices on ground to counter the terrorism so we can sleep in our homes peacefully. It’s like a gossip today that how many army men lost their lives in countering terrorism. But after watching the movie I can say that every watcher will think that there is Pakistan army who is giving sacrifices without hesitating and complaining for only one reason i.e. to protect all Pakistani nation. So this is very useful in re-building nations trust in Pakistan army. And about the involvement of raw, There are many solid proofs has been disclosed by Pakistani media and international media about involvement of raw in promoting terrorism in Pakistan. It’s a different topic and I don’t want to say anything about any agency of the world or trying to do any character assassination. Just want to say only one thing if Bollywood and Hollywood can make movies about muslims and Pakistan then why we can’t?
    My review on movie waar. A must watch movie for every Pakistan who don’t believes in Pakistan army. Or don’t have any trust in politicians. There are some good politicians still there who are playing their role for better Pakistan. Excellent action, epic camera work, dialogues execution is just brilliant, one word for music just awesome.

    About genre, If you don’t like to watch action or thriller movies, Then I recommend you to watch waar for only once. That may change your thinking about genre selection.
    About Adults only, Now a days 10 to 12 year kids are playing call of duty, battlefield. Hitman like games which are rated 16 or 18. So why they can’t watch a movie like waar which tells them about the critical situation of Pakistan in the hands of terrorism, If they see they will get prepared early for future.

  14. Its an irony of our libidos that they don’t like true patriotic movs and find so many cliches in it, every commercial mov have those ingredients, our libidos don’t like if true pic of Indians shown, every one knows how much they r involved in our baloch province, these so called liberals who just hate Islam only like bol, khuda ke liye type movies in which they shown Pakistan and religion as villain they just loved them but here a mov which shown Indian villain they can’t digest it, that India which blames every bad thing happened in their country on pak. There every second mov filled wid pak hatred which our libidos love to watch. So what if its sponsored by ispr didn’t Hollywood mov e like zero dark thirty and so many Indian move r directly sponsored by their govts. Writer don’t have to worry about its bo prospect as movie already garnered 50 million in just 3 days and the way it is running sky is the limit for it. I myself will watch it at least 3 times in theatre to support this great mov which in true sense represent the 90% of pak population, well done waar team so proud of u.

    • Tariq – would just like to correct you on two things:
      - No where in my review have I mentioned anything about the producers of the movie and/or the fact that the patriotism was not a needed part of the story. So a part of your rant has nothing to do with my movie review.
      - Secondly the movie’s release is currently 2 days old – not 3 (day 3 is ongoing as we type) and the unconfirmed collections are PKR27 million for the 2 days, not 50million.

  15. Ali Ahmed says:

    I watched it on EID day and had to buy the tickets earlier, it was jam packed at Cinegold plex, behria town, Rwp. My friends could not watch it today because tickets were sold for today and tommorrow. Keep in mind that only Cinepax, Rwp alone is running it 10 times a day. Still tickets booked advanced for two days. People are watching it, there has been an overwhelmed response. At least for now. So your logic of it being in foreign language doesn’t make much sense to me. People enjoy foreign films too, so nothing wrong with waar, which i think is almost 60-65% in English.
    Now about the movie, although the story line could be improved but otherwise the movie was engaging and the action scenes, the music, cinematography, everything was top notch. Remember its a Pakistani movie, with the crippling film industry and almost no professionals in the industry, i dont understand what were you expecting out of the movie. You cant be fair comparing it to the best of the Hollywood action movies. In my opinion, everyone should watch it. One, its a good movie, second, support our film industry. We have made better films than average Bollywood movies. Give a chance to our movies, our stars, go watch it in cinemas :)

  16. @samra…I dont understand your review…You say it cant recover its money because it is an English movie…Firsly If a Hollywood English movie can do good business in Pakistan then why cant Pakistani?…Secondly propaganda movies are made evrywhere,from Hollywood to Bollywood, then whats wrong with waar

    • Emaad, you are actually confused by mixing up parts of my review.
      - The movie being in English certainly limits the audience in Pakistan because thats not our first language, and while Hollywood films do release here, their numbers are certainly not at par with the Bollywood ones because of the language constraints of the masses. If you see my post script – I have mentioned that even right now Waar is released in some screens dubbed in Urdu and in some places with Urdu subtitles so that people can understand it.
      - Secondly, whether the movie is a propaganda movie or not isn’t what I have highlighted is that Waar’s story is super predictable, unoriginal and full of cliches – which irrespective of who financed the movie could have been done better by Bilal Lashari & Dr. Rana.
      - Lastly box office recovery is only a concern from the point of view of recovering its PKR17Crore budget – which is a tough task given the limited number of screens in Pakistan and previous top grosser Chennai Express’ numbers.

      Hope it is clear now – otherwise feel free to drop a comment! Cheers

  17. Does it have any dirty scene..

  18. For lollywood movies the bar is so low. Evn below avg moies generate so much hype among pakies. War movies require immense resources to make so if its an epic fail u cant blame the maker. Cheers for trying. Samra wht bout sound effects/action scenes….do thy hve any originality??

    • Given that the movie has been reportedly financed by ISPR one of the thing the director DID have at his disposal were resources and technically he has used them at the effective best – rest assure sound, action, and cinematography for Waar is top-notch (international standards top notch!) and you will not be let down even for a minute on those fronts.

  19. 2 stars only … :s so its a terrible movie

    • It is a well made movie – just lacks a story!!
      Have tried to explain its pluses and minuses (without giving spoilers) in the review …

  20. Hey! nice review. Wondering y dont u submit a brief version of it to Waar’s IMDB page http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1821700/

  21. Umer Hafeez says:

    Thanks for sharing Samra – reviewed comprehensively with all pros and cons..

  22. Ahsen Idris says:

    Then what is our benchmark…those trash Bollywood and Hollywood movies or ZINDA BHAAG I think it was a very well shot movie but should have been in Urdu

    • Not denying the fact that it was well shot Ahsen – but story is also an important part of any narrative – and sadly the makers forgot that in Waar!!

  23. Hina Baloch says:

    Loved how you wrote the review, excellent. now i want to see it even though i don’t want to see it!

  24. Could you please share a few dialogues here that caused the ”adult rating”?

    • Waar has not been given an adult rating because of the language – but because of the extremely violent scenes in the movie which are not suited for children to watch. It is really too much blood and gore for kids to watch – it would seriously scar them.

      • Ohh that is not an issue for our children who watch so much blood every eid-ul-azha. Thanks for the response though. much appreciated

        • Still feel it is a responsible decision from the Censor Board – take your kids to see Smurfs 2 on Eid!!
          Let them enjoy and cherish innocence as long as they can :P

      • Mahmood Khan says:

        Samra,…… being an advocate of peace and harmony between Pakistan and India…… I would love to see such a review about any of the Indian Films like Mission Kashmir, Border, …..etc and likes of Hollywood’s GI Joe,…….. etc etc and the list goes on. As per the director himself, “its a visual film”. and efforts like that need to be commended rather having a saddest approach towards it. Im sure if it would have been an Indian film, I wouldn’t have seen such criticism from anyone’s part. The film aims to revive the nationalism and show the geneal public whats really going on in the so called War on Terror in Pakistan. To me the film is 9/10, because I think there is always room for improvement.

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