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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Movie Review : Salakhain

Salakhain (drama)
Cast: Zara, Ahmed, Meera
Direction: Shahzad Rafique

AFTER Khuda Kay Liye , this is the second Pakistani film to find a theatrical release in India. Yet, unlike Khuda Kay Liye , this one is pure mainstream, providing a dekko at the Pakistani film formula, which is so very desi. The guys have their guns and their glares, the girls have their rain-drenched chiffons and their item numbers, the moms have their moments coupled with emotional hysteria and the gangsters have their molls to spray acid on. All in all, it's familiar terrain.

Thematically, the film is like your average revenge masala, where a college boy falls prey to the political mafia and emerges from the salakhain (read jail) as a one man army against the goons. All he wanted to do, when he was not dancing in the rain with his pretty padosan , was to fulfil his abba's dream and become an afsar with a kursi . But all he ends up doing, when he is not crying on his moll's shoulders, is roaming the streets and spraying bullets at his tormenters. In between, he is caught in a gang war and ends up losing his family too. Not much left for our crusader, other than his bloody crusade. And yes, his comely comrade-in-arms (Meera), the gun-toting club dancer who seems to be wedded to sorrow.

Ostensibly, the film which was released in 2004 was declared a blockbuster in Pakistan and reportedly ran for 75 weeks. It does have enough masala to keep you in your seats, but stylistically, there is a dated feel which reminds you of Bollywood in the 1980s. Today, when Indian cinema is resplendent with a techno-sheen that compares well with the west, it would take meaning or mega-glitz in film imports to lure the fastidious film buff, not masala alone.

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