It was with hope, trepidation and a desperate desire for Pakistani cinema to finally take off that I sat back with my popcorn and diet 7 Up to take in ‘Ghabrana Nahi Hai’ – Ghabra toh hum rahe they, kyunke this Eid is being termed as the ‘Revival of Pakistani Cinema’ by many, or … the ultimate downfall?
Covid has come and gone and film projects had kicked off, been delayed, shelved or lagged behind schedules for ever and ever. Film makers worldwide who suffered the trials of this pandemic and played on till we finally got to witness their hard work on the big or small screen deserve incredible respect and admiration.
Well then. The big question is, was it worth the watch?
Here’s what went down in just under 3 hours of watch time.
To Start Off
Ghabrana Nahi Hai dropped like several teasers rolled into one big motion picture, at least for the first 20 minutes. Scenes transitioned on a canvas that rolled by at accelerated speed, giving us bite-sized chapters to take in the world of Zuby, Vicky (Bhai), and Sikander in a snap with Bhai Mian playing a central role in bringing the story together.
What Struck Me At First Look Was The Humour
Please note, an actor’s transition from the small to the big screen is no mean feat, and he did it with ease which was totally smooth!
When Vicky winces at being called Bhai, when he yearns for Zuby’s love, when he drinks his 100th cup of tea, when he shows his unconditional love for the love of his life and strikes a fine balance between comic and genuine, he made us sympathize with him, laugh at him, (and with him) and truly enjoy every moment he appeared on screen – that too, with a dashing (ly) debonair Zahid Khan aka police officer Sikander as serious competition (both vying for Zubeida’s heart)
Zahid Ahmed & His Youth Exilir
Zahid Ahmed has shown tremendous potential in the comic genre too. His expressions, pauses at just the right moments and rolled up police officer sleeves alternating with leather jackets gave off a super cool feel – Zahid Ahmed you seem to be drinking the magic potion to appear younger, and definitely hero material onscreen.
Saba’s Smooth Transition Never Disappoints
Now we come to our leading lady, Saba Qamar.
Saba’s expressions are so subtle, yet impactful, from pursing her lips to looking her hero straight in the eyes, she demands the camera to focus on her alone and take in her performance, lest it misses out on a precious moment if it looks away, even for a second – THAT is the magic of Saba Qamar captured on the big screen – 100% riveting.
Comic Villain Too Villainous?
Moving on to our Bhai Mian aka Nayyer Ejaz did a commendable job as the comic villain who turned slightly too villainous at times, however, he seemed to spring right back into action with his oily voice, desirous of Zubeida Begum, his threatening tone, and appearance, maintaining the comic element despite the shady deals – Bhai Mian gave us a colorful villain with a touch of 007’s MI6 agents who threatened to dethrone Bond – are we stretching it a bit too far? Well, maybe, but if you catch sight of his first kill, early in the film, you’ll know what I mean. He was halfway there but then, he came to a screeching halt, don’t know why.
Noteworthy performances from Afzal Khan as second in command police officer to Sikander was well worth the watch. It was great to see him back in action, totally shaking off Rambo and giving us moments to laugh out loud. His camaraderie with Vicky aka Jibran took it to the next level. And while on the topic, Dodi Khan made an excellent second for our villainous Bhai Mian. His muscle man, moustached look certainly gave off feels with expressions to match.
Now here’s the catch. Were you waiting for it too?
First Half Different Than The Rest?
Whenever we discuss a Pakistani movie, we end up dissecting it as a before and after the interval affair. Why, dare I ask, does this happen? The first half had us rolling with laughter, literally.
And it wasn’t just slapstick, lame comedy, it was situational comedy, dialogue comedy, expressions comedy, and just plain comedy. From Zuby calling Vicky Bhai at the train station to Sikander and Zuby locking eyes at the police station to Bhai Mian fantasizing about Zubaida Begum and offering her moon dekhai (you have to watch the film to know what that was) – the first half had us in fits!
It is fair to say that the story continued to unfold at a flowing pace, but stretched a tad. Perhaps when Sikander attempted to plot and scheme, or Saleem Mairaj’s character hit the screen with a resounding thump, literally, bringing along the Chinese. Perhaps it was in the execution of the scheme being hatched to overcome Bhai Mian or perhaps it was a slacking in tempo, both romantic and comic.
See Here’s What Happens
When you set out to watch a movie that pulls you in because of the laughter, the sidekicks, the witty one liners and the lame-funny characters, then you expect a rise and rise of the same. But when the movie attempts to go serious, but doesn’t really, and attempts to keep the funny, but doesn’t really, when the romance isn’t all that sizzling anymore because the director thinks, oh, I’m done with that now, then, the audience falls into a ‘pick me up phase’ as in, viewers can be seen talking in their heads, “pick up the pace will you! We want to see more of what happened in the first round, remember?” Now, having said that, the second half, post interval was not a downer by any stretch of the imagination. The humour managed to make a comeback, the dialogues stayed crisp, but perhaps, the new elements introduced in the story needed to carry more substance, because that’s what we expected after watching Zuby, Vicky and Sikander at play in the first half.
Moreover, although the movie’s first song made an entry quite late in the show, a note of appreciation on that one, perhaps a pick me up number on the title phrase, Ghabrana Nahi Hai might have turned up the fun factor for audiences!
Round Of Applause
Saleem Mairaj is an actor of great caliber, the Chinese factor could have added so many more laughs but the combination of the two was slightly understated. For me, it did not match up to the first half, yet, it seemed to meet them halfway, which is credit to Saleem Mairaj’s (as always), brilliant performance!
The humour in the dialogues must be credited to writer Mohsin Ali who rolled out a script with a great deal of punch. The scenes were well executed, shout out to the wardrobe guys and gals with Sikander & Jibran’s wardrobe. Saba Qamar aka Zuby looked stunning in her wedding jora.
Direction woth Saqib Khan definitely scored points for keeping it real, not swaying from the story, giving us critical information in flashback mode, closing in on expressions, and demystifying plots to keep the story flowing. The inside of the bus where all 3 protagonists were seated in communication with Saleem Mairaj’s character was a micro example in detailing.
Cut To The Last Scene
To wrap it up, Ghabrana Nahi Hai sought to entertain. Did it? Yes. It did and with many stars shining bright, Did it achieve a crescendo, a peak, a point where we sat with eyes wide open and jaw-dropping breathlessness, hmmmm … perhaps not totally, but it did nearly make it there! Notice I’m reluctant to criticize it because I really did have a jolly good time with my popcorn and my diet whatever by my side.
Note to the music department, turn it up a notch for your next movie will you?