Teefa In Trouble** ½
Dir: Ahsan Rahim
*ing: Ali Zafar, Maya Ali, Faisal Qureshi, Javed Sheikh, Mehmood Aslam, Asma Abbas, Mah-e-Nur Haider, Simi Raheal
Teefa (Ali Zafar) is local gangster Butt’s (Mehmood Aslam) cocky, wisecracking troubleshooter and muscle. Now Butt wants Teefa to kidnap his childhood friend Bashira’s (Javed Sheikh) daughter Anya (Maya Ali) from Poland so that she can be wed to his podgy son. Any guesses as to what happens next?
Teefa In Trouble arrives with a lot of expectations. Not only is it Ali Zafar’s first Pakistani film but also marks the film debut of the popular television actress Maya Ali and is the talented advertising and music video director Ahsan Rahim’s first feature film as well. The movie’s first look teaser was also mighty impressive (though the subsequent longer trailers less so). But the small crowd gathered outside the multiplex theatre hosting the movie’s premiere protesting Ali Zafar (and we all know why, don’t we?) was perhaps a truer indicator of things to come.
The good news? Ali Zafar makes an impact and he does well on the big screen; Maya Ali matches him and looks good (great, in fact) too; the soundtrack is terrific; the opening extended action is possibly the best I’ve ever seen in a Pakistani film (the fight scenes are expertly choreographed throughout); the whole film looks sleek from beginning to end. The bad news? The parts are greater than the whole and the movie never quite comes together.
Firstly, there’s not much meat on the bones – the plot is predictable and the film could have easily lost about 30 minutes of its runtime. Then the comedy feels mostly forced and there are perhaps just a couple of genuinely witty lines. The romance doesn’t really quite convince either (though Ali and Maya look good together). I lay most of the blame on the script/screenplay and that responsibility has to be shared by both the director and the producer/star who co-wrote the film (along with Ali Zafar’s younger brother, Danyal). Having been aware of Ahsan Rahim’s creative endeavours going all the way back to his National College of Arts days and having great faith in his abilities, the disappointment is that much greater. There was a lot of potential here but it really never gets fulfilled.
Cut to chase: The parts are greater than the whole.
Dir: Shashank Khaitan
*ing: Ishaan Khatter, Janhvi Kapoor, Ashutosh Rana, Kharaj Mukherjee, Shridhar Watsar, Ankit Bisht
Dharma Productions, Karan Johar’s film company, has taken the hard-hitting Marathi blockbuster, Sairat, and sanitised it for their target audience. Not only have Johar and his writer/director, Shashank Khaitan (Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhaniya, Badrinath Ki Dulhaniya) transplanted the setting from central Maharashtra to postcard perfect Udaipur but have also stripped the movie almost entirely of its core. There’s hardly a mention of the thorny issue of caste in the whole movie and it is more economic status (that old chestnut) that separates the two young lovers than caste. And, if a movie is going to be all about young love than it needs to burn with the red-hot intensity that becomes all-consuming when first love is involved. Dhadak doesn’t.
That said, the movie turns out to be better than I expected. Ishaan Khatter (Shahid Kapoor’s half-brother) and Janhvi Kapoor (Sridevi’s daughter) are likable – nepotism (Karan Johar’s favourite casting methodology) aside. The movie also hums along at a brisk pace and the ending is also well-handled and is nerve-fraying in its tension.
Cut to chase: Not much new but better than expected.
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Rating system: *Not on your life * ½ If you really must waste your time ** Hardly worth the bother ** ½ Okay for a slow afternoon only *** Good enough for a look see *** ½ Recommended viewing **** Don’t miss it **** ½ Almost perfect ***** Perfection