Trailors for Pakistani movie ‘Waar’ surfaced more than a year ago and immediately generated curiosity and enthusiasm due to it’s slick promo. After a delay which seemed like forever, ‘Waar’ finally released on Eid. Last few days I have been reading public opinion on the movie on various social media platforms and they were usually on extreme ends.
There is a section which calls this movie another example of revival of Pakistani Cinema. They think we have outdone Bollywood, heck also Hollywood. While other side claims ‘Waar’ is sponsored by ISPR (Public Relations wing of Pakistan Army) and is as dumb as – well insert whatever you like here.
The truth for me is somewhere in between. While the director Bilal Lashari has come up with a beautiful body, it sure lacks a soul (screenplay). Director for sure knows how to constructs a beautiful shot, ‘Waar’ has a grand look to it in terms of production values and one wonders if it really is a local produce.
Credit should be given where it’s due. ‘Waar’ is definitely the best looking movie to have come out of Pakistan. But that is not the end of it. There are some geneuinely good moments in the movie and stunning shots. The murder sequence just before Interval stays with you due to it’s timing and excellent choice of background score (Song ‘Saathi Salaam’ by Indian artists Sawan Khan & Clinton Crejo). Also the scene where Ali Azmat is standing alone in a balcony imagining an applause. But they are too less to make an over all impact.
‘Waar’ has a major sore point, and it’s the storyline. Full of cliches and stereotypes, it unfolds at a slow pace and tests the audience. Major Mujtaba’s background unveiling takes forever to complete. It also throw’s a possible political debate, is India really responsible for all of Pakistan’s problems? Shouldn’t Islamic extremism share some of the burden?
As for performances, almost every actor’s accent is forced. I understand the urge to make movie in English, but why accents? Apart from accent, Shan gives a natural performance. He underplays his character, restrains from being over the top and looks suave. Shamoon Abbasi as the bad guy is adequate. Ali Azmat and Mishal Shafi surprise you while Ayesha Khan doesn’t gets much scope. Hamza Abbasi has some genuine moments.
Background score is to the point and leaves impact. Director Bilal Lashari exceeds in cinematography and editing departments, but falters badly as a storyteller. Over all, I would give it 2 and half out of 5 for it’s visual appeal.
‘Waar’ fact: 6 (Six) – is the number of times Shaan takes off his Ray Ban glasses only to put them on again in the movie.