Chhalawa: Don’t waste your eidi or your time

Published: June 5, 2019
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The film seems to not know what direction to take. PHOTO: IMDB

What happens when you announce a film with the leading lady of the Pakistani film industry, who has also recently been honoured with a Tamgha-e-Imtiaz? Expectations are bound to skyrocket.

With a comparatively newer cast alongside box office superstar Mehwish Hayat, Wajahat Rauf’s latest film Chhalawa released yesterday.

Azfar Rehman will be seen playing a leading role for the first time here; he was last seen on the silver screen alongside Hayat in Punjab Nahi Jaungi in an extended cameo. Will Rehman be able to make it big with Chhalawa? Can Hayat carry an entire movie on her shoulders? Let’s find out.

The plot is largely made up of some basic and half-cooked ingredients hurriedly added in the film, which is largely made up of four aspects. There is of course a hurried romance followed by some forced puns, after which we have some yawn-inducing emotional drama that feels entirely unnecessarily, all capped off with some unrealistic events added to make this yet another ‘brainless entertainer’.

Unfortunately, Chhalawa seems to tell a story which is formed around its dialogues, if that makes any sense. With zero character development and forced humour, it follows Zara (Hayat), a small-town girl who falls in love with Sameer (Rehman), a rich boy from the city.

However, Zara is locked in her house by her father (Mehmood Aslam) as he wants to marry her to his brother’s son Jalal (Mohsin Ejaz). Trying to win her family over, Sameer’s friend (Asad Siddiqui) pretends to be a pir to get them both access to Zara’s house. How is a Chaudhry fooled by a fake pir into allowing both him and his friend to stay inside his house? We will never know.

The script is boring and terribly tries to stretch every scene, and yet entirely fails all the nine Cs of communication. It tries to bank on its dialogues, but they are weak and clichéd. If the attempt was to make people laugh, the film achieves the polar opposite of that objective. Written by Yasir Hussain, this is by far one of his weakest attempts and makes one question his skills.

The music is the least terrible part of the film, but seems to be forcefully added because its placement makes no sense. Songs just appear and people start dancing. Why? Keep guessing!

Performance wise, Chhalawa offers nothing the audience will discuss once they leave the cinema. Hayat is wasted in Zara’s character, which had a lot of room for development. Watching an actress with a Tamgha-e-Imtiaz, whose impeccable performances in Punjab Nahi Jaungi and Load Wedding made her deserve the honour, try too hard here with a fake accent and a shallow character is a sheer disappointment.

Rehman is easily forgettable and tries hard to ‘act’ but fails to leave an impression. On the other hand, Siddiqui excels in a few scenes, and so does Zara Noor Abbas.

The problem with all the performances in Chhalawa is that the entire cast goes overboard (read: loud). Every single character seems to overact in this so-called family entertainer, but it doesn’t achieve the desired effect.

It is thus quite a task to remember the plus-points of this film. In the name of rom-com and family entertainer, Rauf delivers a film which is neither exciting nor creative or thoughtful. Seeing this film feels like watching a movie you have seen way too many times before, and that too done better.

The film seems to not know what direction to take. A few scenes that had the potential to affect the audience were amateurishly directed. The makers clearly thought adding lengthy dialogues, unnecessary puns and stereotypical performances will save the project, but this is what ends up destroying it.

Those in the audience who held hope that the climax would redeem the movie are further proved wrong when what they get is something that is more nonsensical than it is entertaining. The ending somehow plays games with sensible minds in the audience. The entire time you just sit there as things happen and wonder why they are happening and how someone could possibly come up with this script and also get someone to fund it.

My rating for Chhalawa is generous, given everything I’ve said about the movie. Adults will be bored throughout. Kids might like it, but mature and sensible audiences can easily save their Eidi this year by not wasting it on Chhalawa.

All photos: Screenshots 

Shafiq Ul Hasan

Shafiq Ul Hasan

The author is an avid movie lover and reviews films and dramas regularly. He is a professional digital inbound marketer. He has worked with a silicon valley-based social network as a content analyst. He blogs at www.shafiqsiddiqui.com and tweets as @shafiqulhasan81 (twitter.com/shafiqulhasan81)

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