Instep Today

Hit and a Miss

Instep Today
By Omair Alavi
Thu, 06, 19

Wrong No. 2 ***: Wrong No. 2 has so far done pretty well at the box office but it could have done much better had the toilet humor been reduced and had more screen space been given to the lead pair, Sami Khan and Neelam Muneer.

Yes, it is a Yasir Nawaz Production and features the actor/director in a prominent role but, that doesn’t mean that the audience needed a pair of binoculars to search for the actual hero and heroine. It has a plot that could have been handled better but post interval, things got so out of hand that the makers had to stoop to cheap tricks to keep people engaged.

The film revolves around a working-class individual named Mehboob (Yasir Nawaz) who needs a significant amount of money for his daughter’s surgery. He and his wife (Sana Fakhar) try everything but to no avail until he is mistaken for Zoya’s secret lover by Gulnawaz’s hired goons (read detectives).

Zoya (Neelam Muneer) is the daughter of an aspiring politician, Gulnawaz (Jawed Sheikh) and loves Omar (Sami Khan), son of her father’s secretary Wazir Ali (Mehmood Aslam); their affair is unknown to both fathers. Add to the plot Zoya’s admirer Sexy Shaukat (Danish Nawaz), suitor Happy (Ahmed Hassan), his father (Shafqat Cheema), Sexy Shaukat’s family (Ashraf Khan and others) and their unnecessary neighbor (Irfan Khoosat) and you get a muddled story that if handled well would have been a great comedy flick.

The first half revolves around character development whereas the second is spent trying to make amends for the first. There was no villain in the film until Happy enters the scene later in the second half and he looked too well-built for a worthless addict. He does make people laugh but he could have been a little crappy for a change, to impress the audience. However, he has the most awkward lines in the film and it is not until the fight sequence at the climax that we start rooting for the hero who tries to win his girl the old fashioned way.

Nevertheless, Wrong No. 2 brings Sami Khan back to commercial cinema, 15 years after he made his debut with Salakhein (2004). He is paired with the ravishing Neelam Muneer and the two would have looked good together had they been given more screen time. Sami Khan is wasted in a ‘lover boy role’ as he has nothing else to do but follow his ‘girl’ around. Yasir Nawaz, the actor, does well but it is the director in him who should have learnt that toilet humor puts the audience off. Since it is Danish Nawaz’s story and Ahmed Hassan’s dialogues, they are also to be blamed for trying to derail a franchise that could have carried on and inspired others to make a good clean comedy.

The film has been shot in Karachi and parts of interior Sindh including the beautiful Sukkur Barrage that is prominent in most of the sequences. It is the equivalent of Howrah Bridge in Kolkata and was beautifully incorporated in the narrative. Same is the case with Rani Fort where one of the songs have been shot and will make the audience visit the place for sure. It would have been much better had the intelligent TV director in Yasir Nawaz upstaged the film director in him to give quality entertainment.

Instead, the audience was treated to below-the-belt humor such as a scene echoing Kal Ho Naa Ho with three people hugging each other like SRK – Saif Ali Khan, and a rich widower falling for an extremely sexy maid just because she had the same name as his deceased wife. Such comedy works in single screen cinemas but sadly, they are dying out and the urban multiplex audience may find the film too ribald for comfort.

Chhalawa **1/2

Wajahat Rauf’s latest outing may feature Mehwish Hayat, one of Pakistan’s leading actresses, but is it enough? Not really. The writer-director underutilizes Mehwish Hayat as well as a decent troupe of supporting actors who still give it their best.

The story of the film takes place at a mansion in Punjab where Chauhdhry Rafaqat (Mehmood Aslam) lives with his two daughters, Zoya and Haya (Mehwish Hayat and Zara Noor Abbas) and son (Aashir Wajahat). Zoya is in love with Samir (Azfar Rehman) but her father wants her to marry his own nephew (Mohsin Ejaz), something the younger Chaudhary (Adnan Shah Tipu) is banking on so that his son can inherit the empire.

Samir’s best friend Luqman devises a scheme to con Chaudhry Sahab, posing as a pir, and helps Samir and Zoya elope. It is only after the interval that the film picks up but sadly it’s too late because the audience is already fed up with the TV-style treatment, the unrealistic execution and too many pop culture references that could have been lessened.

Mehwish Hayat looks a lot like her character from Punjab Nahi Jaungi and is all too familiar. The film’s surprise factor is the onscreen pairing of the real-life couple Asad Siddiqui and Zara Noor Abbas. He is there from the first scene till the last and carries the story with Zara, who reminds the audience of a young Bushra Ansari. Combine her aunt’s two iconic characters – Bijli and Saima Chaudhry – and you have Haya who loves Hollywood and Lollywood, and wants to marry a Prince Charming and nothing else. She can dance, she can stare and she has the spark that’s generally missing in newer actresses.

With Parey Hut Love on its way, Zara might end up as a director’s top choice in coming years.

Director Wajahat Rauf’s son, Aashir also impresses as the youngest sibling of the Chaudhry household.

Azfar Rehman, in his first major film role, plays the traditional hero but his real-life friendship with Mehwish makes them look like good friends and they lack onscreen chemistry.

Adnan Shah Tipu plays the black sheep of the family while his onscreen son Mohsin Ejaz does a ‘good’ job of being the bad boy. The lesser said about the script – co-written by Yasir Hussain and Wajahat Rauf – the better.

Shiraz Uppal must be commended for doing a wonderful job with the title track and ‘Chirya’ which is going viral due to Mehwish’s

dance steps and Wahab Shah’s choreography.

But, no amount of foot-tapping songs, brilliant performances and cinematography can fill in for the hurriedly-written script and nonchalant direction from which the film suffers. Yes, the fight sequence was choreographed but when no blood appears after so much fist fighting, or even after a bullet wound, the audience tends to lose their minds as well as attention.

– Omair Alavi is a broadcast journalist and can be contacted at [email protected]