‘The Legend of Maula Jatt’ sets new benchmark for Pakistani cinema
After way, too many delays cinemagoers were ecstatic when The Legend of Maula Jatt was released in cinemas across the country and worldwide. Despite the stellar cast and the grandeur of the movie we watched in the trailer, it seemed like people were sceptical about the movie overall, keeping the cinema history in mind. The perspective of a Pakistani movie changed amongst the audience as soon as they walked out of the hall in awe.
The movie, rightly so, is receiving rave reviews and it is safe to say that we are all in the same boat. The movie is almost flawless and it all became possible with the filmmakers’ vision to create this cinematic masterpiece, which got the standing ovation that it deserves. Directed by Bilal Lashari, Produced by Ammara Hikmat, Dialogues penned by Lashari and Nasir Adeeb (who also wrote the dialogues for the OG Maula Jatt); the film stars Fawad Khan as Maula Jatt, Mahira Khan as Mukkho, Hamza Ali Abbasi as Noori Natt, Humaima Malick as Daro, Gohar Rasheed as Makkha and Faris Shafi as Mooda in the leading roles. TLoMJ is the remake of the 1979 cult classic which became the trendsetter in its time for all Punjabi gandassa movies. Although the genre died down, this classic remained iconic for its dialogues and action.
The movie does not fall short of its hype when we talk about the acting, the production, the sets and the cinematography. For those who have watched the trailer, it is no rocket science to understand that the story is simple yet predictable; a story about Maula seeking revenge for people who did him wrong. His confidant and friend Mooda follows him around like a shadow to make sure Maula doesn’t get into unnecessary trouble and boy, when I tell you that Faris Shafi did a brilliant job with his character, I mean it. This character was one of the highlights for me because not only did he do justice to Mooda, the comic timing, and the Punjabi, you end up developing a very soft corner for him. Is there something Faris can’t do? Well, we are yet to find that out.
Moreso, Fawad, who gained a few kilos for the role to look his part as Maula looks brilliant on the screen. His performance is effortless as if this character was meant for him to play in this remake. Fawad, in an interview, said that keeping up with Hamza’s performance was a task, but he left no leaf unturned when it came to his acting. Although he delivered the dialogues with ease, the shortcoming was when the Punjabi accent went a little off-track. Similar was the case with Mahira’s Mukkho; however, here it makes sense as the actor is not a Punjabi. Although her screen time was limited, whenever it was, her chemistry with Fawad was magical and that is exactly what the movie did in those certain moments.
Moving on to the Natt clan, Noori and Daro were the stars. Hamza’s protagonist was evil, charming and funny – all at the same time. There was a spark in his screen presence that made you fall in love with the villain. The Punjabi was on point, and the dialogue delivery and comic timing were just the right amounts of crazy. Humaima’s character was fierce and badass and no one would have done Daro better than her. She’s ruthless but she knows her worth and will not back down from her goal. Gohar’s Makkha was the perfect amount of psychotic (like Joker psychotic) the Natt clan needed. The supporting cast for the movie was as brilliant as the main. In addition to that, the hair & makeup by Maram and Aabroo and costume designs by Fahad Hussayn and Zara Shahjahan were impeccable. It breathed life into each character that was portrayed on screen by the cast.
With the brilliant acting came brilliant cinematography and sets. Lashari and Hikmat gave the Pakistani cinema the movie that it needed, with all the right ingredients. The focus on every detail and every shot captured the emotion of the character that we needed to watch on the big screen. The action sequences, VFX and sound were smoothly incorporated into the movie, and even the long duration of the film doesn’t bother you so much because you are just hooked to a specific scene or situation. We can easily say that the action sequences were some Hollywood stuff right there, and the blood – the blood did not look fake at all. This very tiny detail is a major one because we’ve had too much of it in our movies. For years and years of seeing Pakistani cinema using underwhelming props like fake blood, TLoMJ took a page out of Hollywood’s book because everything from the costumes and makeup to the real (fake) blood seemed very authentic and as close to real life as possible and that is a big deal. It is a big film and it shows because it lives up to the hype, it knows the actors’ worth and even the characters, it doesn’t take too much of your time and manages to give you your money’s worth. One can even say that after all these years of waiting, we just almost witnessed a small cinematic miracle.
If you are looking for a visual treat and are in favour of Pakistani cinema (and why shouldn’t you be?), The Legend of Maula Jatt Is a movie that shouldn’t be missed, especially on the big screen. It is worth your time, money and energy. You’ll be mind-blown after you watch this masterpiece on the big screen.