Why Chambaili is a must watch

Published: May 7, 2013

For a film that touches upon such a vast number of issues, Chambaili is very well-paced and all the issues weave in coherently to form a strong plot. PHOTO: https://www.facebook.com/Chambaili

 1. Ehteshamuddin:

The theatre actor and director, who has also tried his hand at television, is definitely the highlight of Chambaili. He is a perfect fit for his role at Musa, the idealist journalist-poet who leads his friends to stand up against an influential politician and his son.

2. Dialogues:

Extremely well-written lines, particularly for Ehteshamuddin, are really the icing on the cake. The Urdu is crisp and clear, unlike the terrible language we hear on TV nowadays. There is no mixing with English, neither is there the Bollywood influence. The dialogues are so good that they manage to make an impression even with Shahzad Nawaz’s sub-par acting.

3. Pro-democracy:

Although the film is certainly a little soft on the military and its role in Pakistani politics, I would disagree that Chambaili is anti-democracy. In fact, in its essence, the film is thoroughly pro-democracy as it urges the viewers to do nothing more than exercise a civic, political duty: vote.

4. Message of pluralism:

The main analogy in the film is Prophet Moses (RA) and Pharaoh and one of the main characters is quite clearly Shia. In the end, the new president specifically addresses all Pakistanis, who are shown praying in a church, a gurudwara as well as a Hindu temple. Secondly, on the wall where Maira Khan’s character has put up framed pictures of all the revolutionaries of the world, Gandhi’s photograph is prominently displayed.

5. No preaching:

Overall, Chambaili is a great, great film that successfully transmits a very strong message without being preachy. The film manages to be patriotic without being jingoistic.

6. Clever making:

Full credit to producers Shahzad Nawaz and Abdullah Kadwani, and director Ismail Jilani for the brilliant idea of setting the film in a mythical country called Mulk-e-Khudadad (Country given by God)The country has an uncanny resemblance to Pakistan, but since it isn’t Pakistan, the makers were able to say everything and anything about the country.

7. Kiran:

The character, played by Maira Khan, is one of my favourite parts about the film. She is known as a true, strong idealist who says it as it is and refuses to back down when her brothers/male family members are contemplating calling off their strike. She is the one who stands up for what’s right and is the epitome of the strength of a woman. Through her character, the film reaches out to women in a way that few other films do – even in Bollywood.

8. A well-integrated plot:

For a film that touches upon such a vast number of issues, Chambaili is very well-paced and all the issues weave in coherently to form a strong plot, without making the film a drag.

9. It’s a Pakistani product through and through:

Have you ever complained about why Pakistanis cannot make good films? Well, here’s your chance to be part of something that could spell the revival of indigenous Pakistani cinema.

10. Better than what else is available: 

Aashiqui 2 and Oblivion are just bad, bad films. Your money will be better spent on Chambaili.

PHOTOS: https://www.facebook.com/Chambaili

Read more by Zainab here or follow her on twitter @zainabimam 


Zainab Imam

A journalist, on a hiatus to pursue a Masters in Public Policy at The University of Chicago. Gender parity advocate, urban policy enthusiast. She tweets @zainabimam (twitter.com/zainabimam) and blogs at gulaabjamun.wordpress.com

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • chugtairizwan

    I simply loved the movie, i think its a must watch for every Patriotic Pakistani! Great Concept! Hope to see a change in reality as well! and everyone in cinema was ready to vote for change… Recommend

  • ss

    Nice blog, have already planned to see it. Recommend

  • Asjad

    Lets take out the Pakistaniyat in our ourselves and judge it. Dialogues I would agree with the article apart from it no.As a film its integral features i.e. character building, Camera Work,Voice related work,Music, pace of the film everything seemed rushed and unprofessional.It looks like a Imran Khan fan, trying to come up with a movie in 15 days to cheer up with emotional crowd for May 11 and it probably has served it purpose.However, as movie it (considering myself a neutral film freak) I was disappointed.Recommend

  • Sajid

    @Asjad: “As a film its integral features i.e. character building, Camera Work,Voice related work,Music, pace of the film everything seemed rushed and unprofessional”

    You are obviously trying to compare this film with well established film industries of Hollywood & Bollywood. The film is at least very watchable my friend, much better than all those Gandasa films that have came out of Lollywood. Support this film for an out & out Pakistani product (No post production done in India) & and the message it brings about.

    Chambaili, Bol, Ramchand Pakistani & Khuda Ke Liye are the films that Pakistanis can be proud of!!!Recommend

  • Stranger

    Hmmm the last good / compact / pertinent Pak movie I saw ( apart from scores of Waheed MURAD ones) was Bol . wow it surely made an impact on me. I will try to watch this now Recommend

  • ahmed

    zainab imam i just love you for writing this blogRecommend

  • Mikaail Ahmed

    While your ‘well integrated plot’ assessment is completely off – the plot was anything but well integrated, it was too scattered and the transition from one scene to the other felt too rushed, which impeded the viewers from making an emotional connection with the characters and the scene – I agree Ehtashamuddin really stood out. He was actually very good by any standards. Also, I think one of the most significant factors that will bring people to the cinema is the political and revolutionary theme of the movie, something Pakistanis seem to respond to the most.Recommend

  • http://www.centcom.mil/ur US CENTCOM

    It is encouraging to see Pakistani cinema’s revival. Culture and Arts are so vital in the development of a country. This movie is getting raving reviews and hopefully we will get to see many more good movies from Pakistan’s film industry that used to produce hundreds of movies every year. Kudos to the producers, director and the cast of Chambaili.

    Abdul Quddus
    DET-United States Central CommandRecommend

  • cinemalover

    chambaili was a great watch!!! so proud to support something Pakistani!!Recommend

  • http://brandsynario.com Brandsynario

    A brilliant movie in Pakistan’s history..!!! It’s must watch before elections so you get to know more about politics and alRecommend

  • Mohinder Sandhu

    Might be a good movie.I may never get a chance to watch it unless somebody upload it on you tube.But, the point is why compare it with bollywood or suggest people to watch this movie instead of ashqui 2 or oblivion,because those are bad bad movies according to you.Good or bad that is for the people to decide, All you can do is to write a review and then let people see if they agree with you or disagree.Recommend

  • jehanzeb

    i am sorry asjad … but if u start judging film in vacuum then it will make half of the films in the world pretty bad. Yes the film has its flaws and which ones dontt, the film does not claim to be some phenomenally perfect piece of cinema.
    I am not overriding ur opinion but as a film lover; I believe u cannot judge film in the vacuum without any affiliations. With all its flaws intact the film clicks because the film associates with Pakistanis, and yes with its cliched moments it does connect because it talks about the problems and issues which are persistent.
    U have to give credit to director for making a film which is this good even in his maiden effort.. so please. Recommend

  • hassan

    The plot was anything but well-integrated? chambeili = WORST MOVIE EVER ! Bol and khuda kay lye were good pakistani produtions. they had story. they had plots. chambeili, needless to say had nothing. it was filled with over acting, irrelevant scenes and was simple a bad collaboration, i think the author has seen some other movie and shes confusedRecommend

  • Aimen

    @Zainab thank you for the article!I would like to see more of such articles on both Pakistani dramas and Pakistani cinema.Recommend