Remember Govinda’s films where he used to become someone else to conquer the hearts and minds of the leading lady’s family, and then conquer them with his heroism in the end? Well… Chhalawa is one such film where there is a star cast to balance the Govinda effect, but sadly, there is no Govinda!
Every one performs, but the plot doesn’t thicken!
Chhalawa is that film where every other actor does his or her job well. They all give their best but even too many good performances couldn’t save the film that didn’t have a story, a plot and a script. It seemed it was going in auto-mode and everyone was doing their job, but the lack of story killed every performance. It may have seemed good on paper or even worked as a TV drama but in films, you have to grab the audience’s attention with quick scenes, fast editing, and well-placed songs.
The girls did their best to save the day
Mehwish Hayat is not just another beautiful actress who can light the screen with her dances; in fact, this is the first time since Na Maloom Afraad 1 that she has actually set the stage on fire with not one but two dance numbers. She looks good as the girl who wants to marry the man of her dreams but her character is shown to get weak after an incident in the film, which doesn’t sit well with the audience. This role is a step down for the Marina of Jawani Phir Nahi Ani, Meenu of Actor In Law, Amal of Punjab Nahi Jaungi and Meerab of Load Wedding, and it would have been better had her role been written better, stronger and been more believable.
Zara Noor Abbas plays her younger sister and she is at her very best in her first ever film. Her role seems to be an extension of her aunt Bushra Ansari’s Bijli from Sho Shadays where she was at her fiery best. She is Chhalawa’s surprise factor and every time she came on screen, it made people notice her, be it her dance, her comic timings, her stares or the sarcastic clap that gets her full marks.
Chhalawa is also a Boys’ Day Out!
Chhalawa is not just a film about beautiful girls but also about boys at heart starting from Mehmood Aslam who plays the father of the two girls but keeps joking around with his son played by Aashir Wajahat. They share excellent chemistry, even better than that between Mehwish Hayat and Azfar Rehman who look good together but as friends, not lovers. Asad Siddiqui and Zara Noor Abbas sizzle on the screen but their chemistry comes from their real-life relationship than reel-life one. Then there are the villains Adnan Shah Tipu and Mohsin Ejaz who look like real-life father-son for their resemblance. Mohsin comes out as the antagonist who might prove to be the lambi race ka ghora because of his looks, attitude, and meanness.
Music director Shiraz Uppal never disappoints!
You don’t expect bad songs when there is Shiraz Uppal’s name in the credit list. The maestro doesn’t disappoint here as well and keeps churning foot-tapping numbers like the title track and Chirya, which feature Mehwish Hayat dancing her heart out after a long time. Wajahat Rauf keeps the quality of his songs intact and whenever a list of best 25 songs of the last 5 years will be composed, his film’s numbers will feature dominantly in it.
Unbelievable execution is criminal!
In the 1970s, when a character was shot on US TV, it was forbidden to show blood because they felt that it would be too hard for the families watching TV. Director Wajahat Rauf followed the same formula nearly 50 years later, but he forgot that the audience has matured world over. At the climax, you can forget the Karachi registered cars coming back from Punjab, the Telefilm treatment of the grand finale and some below the belt jokes but you can’t forget the dying character with no blood on his sherwani. The case is the same with the interval, where instead of making it more believable, the director went for extra lengthy scenes post interval, making the audience lose interest. And then there was the Chirya song where there was no intimidation regarding why the gypsies made the runaway duo change clothes and dance like mad, only to be apprehended soon. It was done better in Karachi Se Lahore but here it seemed inserted forcefully.
Hopefully ‘brand Mehwish Hayat’ will help Chhalawa
Had it been a film with no star power, Chhalawa might have failed at the box office but with Mehwish Hayat as the ‘hero’ of the film, it would recover money on the Eid weekend. She is one of the few actors in the modern era who command respect and with her Tamgha-e-Imtiaz by her side, people will surely visit cinemas and watch her for the first time since the award was bestowed on her. Hopefully, she will be careful in choosing her next projects and question the director more so that the next role is hopefully at par with the Heer Jaisi Larki who ascended the escalators in Punjab Nahi Jaungi and won our hearts. May the ascent continue!