The Nueplex Cinema in Karachi witnessed a phenomenal turnout for the premiere of Teefa in Trouble Thursday evening. Along with friends and family of Ali Zafar, one saw Ahsan Rahim loyalists who have known the ad and video filmmaker for over two decades and swear by his creative excellence. There were great expectations from the film and cinema enthusiasts walked out quite delighted with what they had seen. One saw hundreds of beaming smiles as the lights turned on at the end and credits rolled to the irresistible beat of ‘Item Number’; people were delighted by the quality of cinema they had just witnessed.
“Thoroughly enjoyed watching #TeefaInTrouble. Fantastic visuals, excellent direction and top-notch performances by the cast. Congratulations to @AliZafarsays, @mayaali07 and @theotherahsan,” Humayun Saeed tweeted after watching the film.
Humayun was at the premiere along with a bevy of celebrities and people from the entertainment industry. One spotted Sheheryar Munawar, Feroze Khan, Maria Wasti, directors Wajahat Rauf, Saqib Malik, Asad ul Haq and of course the fan club of the cast. It was great to see Mehmood Aslam on the big screen and at the premiere; he was a great match for Jawed Sheikh who appears as his friend and ultimate rival in the film. There is one scene in the film where Butt Sahab (Mehmood Aslam) and Bonzo aka Basheera (Jawed Sheikh) are Skype-calling each other and break out in full, expletive Punjabi when their understanding falls apart. Priceless.
Popular comedian Faisal Qureshi – who’s been a part of the Ahsan Rahim/Ali Zafar universe for ages – was also spotted at the premiere. He’s done a great job in the film as Tony (Dot) Shah, Teefa’s friend and partner in crime in Poland. Faisal is a frequently seen comic but his appearances in ads have been more impactful than his work in television plays. This big screen appearance was very refreshing.
Ali Zafar, of course, was present with his full force of friends, family and fanfare but ultimately it was the fans that swaddled him with love. This is Ali’s eighth film, albeit his first in Pakistan after having done seven in Bollywood and he’s used to the hype and hoopla that comes with a film premiere. It was the very lovely Maya Ali, wearing Nomi Ansari on the red carpet, who came as a breath of fresh air. Maya plays Anya, Bonzo’s ‘rich little poor girl’ who has everything but is pining for love and attention from her busy father. She looked the part and looked beautiful in the film plus Maya can dance, which always works in a film star’s favour. The nervous energy of being a film debutante will wear off with time…in Paray Hut Love, to be exact.
Love for Maya flowed in all evening and she was all smiles. “I’ve been really nervous this last month but I’m so relieved now,” she said in the interval, sensing that the film would be a success.
Teefa in Trouble released nationwide, as well as in 25 countries worldwide yesterday, and though it wasn’t scheduled as an Eid release, it definitely got the same kind of traction.
“You don’t need any special occasion kyun ki I feel like it’s Eid already,” Fahad Mustafa tweeted. We didn’t see him at the premiere but he must have seen the film in a later show to have said, “#TeefainTrouble a much needed hit ... what a film, what performances ... people don’t miss this one, go watch it and feel proud.”
“As for the film itself, directed by Ahsan Rahim, in my honest opinion it’s raised the bar for all Pakistani films, not only in terms of technical expertise (cinematography, editing, sound, top notch) but also in terms of its script,” tweeted Hasan Zaidi, film critic and Editor Dawn Magazines after posting a video of the small group of protestors chanting outside the cinema. “I’ll write a proper review later but the Ali Zafar controversy aside, this is the first Pakistani film targeted at a mass audience that can hold its own against any Bollywood film. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say Teefa is going to break box office records.”
This weekend will determine what kind of reviews and numbers it generates and whether or not Teefa in Trouble breaks box office records, as experts are predicting.