Saturday May 28, 2022

New films at the box-office

By Aijaz Gul
December 03, 2021

Multiplexes and single screens are alive again with popcorn, coffee and cold drinks. Let us get to what’s on the screen. As most of us know, films on Analog (35 mm) are now history and all movies are screened in cinemas on DSP (Digital Cinema Projection). Also foreign films, if not all, most come simultaneously with the world capitals.

‘Resident Evil’ - is a horror drama scripted and directed by Johannes Roberts. It begins and ends in an orphanage where children are used for deadly research and experiments. And you know what happens when these kids leave the orphanage. The plot is actually derived from Japanese video games. It is one thing to see this on TV but the big screen is a different matter. Paper-thin characters lack substance. This is also a sequel to earlier hits. What we see here is lots of fire, bloodbaths, motor rides, crashing helicopters, zombies and dog bites. If this is kids’ stuff so it is meant for kids.

‘Ghostbusters — Afterlife’ - is also another sequel directed by Jason Reitman. Here what is different from the past is young players in the leads: Carrie Coon, Finn Wolfhard and Paul Rudd. The seniors from earlier ‘Ghostbusters’ are seen in minor supporting roles. Two boys and girls visit a haunted house. ‘Ghost Traps’ from the past and news of earthquakes are part of this haunted house which has to be cleared in a supernatural but comic way.

And now the local films: ‘Shenogai’ is an extremely low-budget film made at a lean1.6 million. Directed by Abu Aleeha, this is an account of a stunt biker played by Marina Syed whose family came from Afghanistan. In the film, her parents are divorced. She hates men, takes her motorbike and is on the road here and there-everywhere. This is a kind of road movie which turns into acts of violent orgies. The heroine is brutally attacked by three men (what else do we expect from unemployed youth for girls on motorbikes riding at night!).Here the story takes a turn and she hits back with equal force and high dosage of savage ruthless acts of brutality. To keep it simple, she kills her rapists. ‘Shenogai’ is a brave attempt in filmmaking, taking on a demanding social ill spreading like a virus nationwide. Here the law enforcement is just a silent amusing spectator and the victim must become vigilante, take law in one’s own hands.

Abu Aleeha must be credited for taking on this subject with minimum resources and a documentary style seldom seen before. The film has no routine music, songs, comic relief or the item numbers deeply rooted in ‘commercial cinema’ catering to the age-old box-office formula.

Another film which comes close to this realism but in a different way is ‘Khel Khel Mein’, directed by Nabeel Qureshi (Actor-in-Law, ‘Na Maloom Afraad’, ‘Load Wedding’). He is a box-office focused director who enjoys one of the best records and reputation as a bankable director. He hasn’t missed a shot in over a decade.

His new film carries a subject which nobody, but nobody has tried before in 50 ye­ar­s-lib­eration of Bangl­adesh. It narrates the events both in present and dreadful past (in flashbacks).

Filmed in Karachi and Balochistan on location, much of it is re-created in a credible way.