4 reasons 'Maalik' is the most absurd movie you'll see this year

Published: April 20, 2016
The movie is irresponsible in its depiction of Pakistan's ethnicities and women. 

The movie is irresponsible in its depiction of Pakistan's ethnicities and women. PHOTO: FILE

I was dragged to the theatre this weekend ‘to support Pakistani cinema’ as my patriotic mum keeps reminding us. Maalik was the movie of choice for the evening – one that seemed to have generated decent reviews.

Suffice to say it didn’t meet my expectations.

Maalik is a cesspool of ludicrousness which somehow redeems itself just as you’re about to walk out of the theatre. The first half of the film seems to be a warm-up where you’re just waiting for the actual story to begin, and as time goes by (however slowly) Maalik picks up its pace and grasps your attention. Once the movie moves into rural Pakistan, and the language shifts from English to Punjabi, Sindhi and Pushto; it achieves a certain level of authenticity that was lacking before the film’s intermission.

Despite its eventual redemption, Maalik was still absurd in a plethora of ways, as well as irresponsible in its depiction of Pakistan’s ethnicities and women. Here’s how:

1. The stuffed toy

While a Punjabi army officer Asad (Ashir Azeem) is the all-too-brave hero in the film, his wife (played by Bushra Ashir Azeem) is the exact opposite. She clings on to a stuffed monkey, even as she eats breakfast with her husband. While we could assume that she has attachment issues, due to her husband’s dangerous life and unpredictable work hours, was it really fair to give her an inanimate object?

Not to mention, her untimely death is caused by the aforementioned monkey, which she trips over – this may have been the most ridiculous scene in the movie.


2. English is not your friend

The movie only picks up pace, and grasps the audience’s attention after it’s done forcing all the actors to speak in English – a language that they’re obviously uncomfortable speaking in. A scene in which Asad is having breakfast with his wife is especially torturous – her discomfort with the English language eradicates any on-screen chemistry a couple should have.

From cringe-worthy pronunciations to ill-timed dubbing, it’s almost impossible to focus on the content of the film.

Censor watchdog gives ‘Maalik’ Universal rating


3. Ethnic diversity

While Maalik showcases families from a variety of backgrounds, it does a horrible job depicting a fair (and realistic) image of their ethnicities. The two-dimensional portrayal of Balochis, Sindhis and Punjabis is beyond aggravating.

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The heroes of the movie – Asad, his father and the UN security guard – are all Punjabi men, while the villians are Sindhi waderas – a portrayal which is all too simplistic for my taste.


‘Maalik’ collects Rs20m in six days

4. Men run the show

While there are a significant number of women in Maalik, it becomes overwhelmingly clear throughout the course of the movie, that women actually have no purpose, except to play the victim.

To be fair, Maalik begins with the introduction of one vivacious woman Sherry, who uses her wit and prowess to rescue kidnapped people for Asad – but she disappears within the first 15 minutes of the movie and is never mentioned again.

From Asads death-by-stuffed-toy wife, to a female law-student (who is kidnapped and killed), and a young village girl (who is raped by the evil Sindhi wadera), the only purpose of the women in this film is to give men the opportunity to take revenge, if not to rescue them.

If you’re fond of an inconsistent plot, male chauvinism and stuffed toys, Maalik is the movie for you.

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Reader Comments (50)

  • S. Khan
    Apr 20, 2016 - 2:03PM

    2 words we come across these days more often than we used to, “cesspool” and “male chauvinism”Recommend

  • Sundas
    Apr 20, 2016 - 2:23PM

    This is an excellent review. When I first saw the tailor, I was more intrigued to not to watch this movie rather than to watch. dialogues sounded kinda tawdry. Recommend

  • Aly Khan
    Apr 20, 2016 - 2:50PM

    This movie was a technical nightmare! Bad Colour grading, Bad sound editing, bad story arch, plot holes, bad acting and poor script. The director wasted such a great opportunity to utilize Army/Airforce equipment and locations. Complete waste of time.the director could have done a better job but failed miserably. I want my time back! Recommend

  • Surprised
    Apr 20, 2016 - 2:59PM

    Wasn’t the trailer (especially the cheesy Bollywood-esque line at the end) enough to tell you that this movie was going to be a train wreck? Great review though!Recommend

  • t khan
    Apr 20, 2016 - 3:18PM

    i went to watch the movie and i say its a very true and good reflection of todays time in Pakistan. this movie is very close to reality. i believe the acting could have been a bit better but story line and main character did a fantastic job.

    keep it up. we would like to see more movies like this which depict reality.Recommend

  • Fatima
    Apr 20, 2016 - 3:30PM

    Based on the trailer itself, I had decided to NOT watch this movie…so I didn’t. Thanks for the review. Recommend

  • Reader
    Apr 20, 2016 - 3:59PM

    “Dragged to theater”?! then why you are writing movie review?
    It’s a great movie. Good effort by our cinematic professionalsRecommend

    Apr 20, 2016 - 4:33PM

    i dont agree with the review deliver by auther, i saw this movie last sunday and found remarkable in all aspects i.e action, emotion, acting and even comedy, the storey is close to our society issue and politics involved in govt departments,feudalism in pakistan.

    review delivered by the auther is completly unrealistic. I strongly recommend to everyone to see this movie.Recommend

  • Nabeel Yousuf
    Apr 20, 2016 - 4:46PM

    Please appreciate your cinema Pakistani cinema ………its a brilliant movie……….Recommend

  • Waleed Khan
    Apr 20, 2016 - 4:52PM

    You sound racist but pointing out the races so many times.Recommend

  • asy ma wail!
    Apr 20, 2016 - 5:15PM

    Ridiculously unbalanced and unjust review, I must say.

    To say the least, the movie was not for your kind, madam! We are so thankful that you got yourself dragged to prove your patriotism, without which nation can pretty much survive..

    It’s absolutely flabbergasting that a Pakistan, just to prove his/her elevated (but rented) cinema taste, would go bare handed to play a havoc on the newly born cinema scene of Pakistan with rude and inconsiderate commentary, easily forgetting about the age of revived cinema in Pakistan, which was with the grace of their Gujjar’s, almost dead.

    Are you guys comparing your cinema with A class Hollywood? damn it !

    Keeping in mind that Ashir was never a professional director, he never had big screen experience, and the plot wasn’t actually for film but for a tv serial, which he had reduce to a film (hence could not manage to balance it) , despite of the fact that things went terribly boring at times and we had to bear with unwanted details, but his dedication deserves far better than what’s being presented here as a review..

    verdict – pull some Saima clad Punjabi songs and better watch her destroying agriculture or why not play a physics defying B grade Bollywood for yourself?Recommend

  • Hamdani
    Apr 20, 2016 - 5:19PM

    It is not as bad as in this review.

    It could have been a great movie if in the end made more coherent.

    The points in this article for criticism are invalid. The author of this article is unnecessarily bringing up the ethnicity part.Recommend

    Apr 20, 2016 - 5:27PM

    As someone said above, this movie is indeed a technical nightmare. Plus it looks like all it does it show our police and politicians as evil and all men in khaki wardi as “cool” and “honest”.

    That would have been no issue if it was a good movie. But, like said earlier, its a technical nightmareRecommend

  • Bilal
    Apr 20, 2016 - 5:31PM

    Seriously? You had to drag in the gender equality into a movie review. In that case Dead Pool was very offensive too, the lady got very few frames as compared to the hero. Recommend

  • Fahad Haqqi
    Apr 20, 2016 - 5:47PM

    Movies are a work of fiction. you need to enjoy if there is a good work. I myself loved the character of Saeen, showcase of Taliban, presence of some army element, some drama etc. You don’t need to compare it to Bollywood movies in which every thing from A to Z is performed after thorough review and flow of money.

    Chill and take it as a movieRecommend

  • Khan
    Apr 20, 2016 - 8:07PM

    I went to see the movie because I’m a fan of Ashir Azeem and his famous Dhuaan drama.
    This movie is very very well made. The direction of photography was some of the best I’ve seen and was not expecting to see in a Pakistani movie. The plot moved forward keeping diverse elements together (that is a very difficult thing to achieve in any film) and nearly every actor got some good screen time. Some small plot points might seem absurd to some people but I think Ashir Azeem’s plot just aims to be unpredictable. The best thing was that it was NOT a massala film with a complete lack of story/plot (case in point, Jawani phir nahi aani).Recommend

  • Sanober
    Apr 20, 2016 - 9:43PM

    Such a blatant piece of writing . Maalik is an outstanding movie and it depicts thee reality of pakistani politics, people and army. You should have left the cinema if it was too above your interest.
    Plus the fact you were forced to the theater made me reckon you should have enough autonomy and power to decide what you want to watch and what not. You could not say a no to you mother shows how submissive you are. Lets turn deaf ear to such people who do not have a say at their home are giving absurd reviews in public.Recommend

  • Yasir
    Apr 20, 2016 - 9:52PM

    Keep your racist ideas to yourself, please. We are one nation and one people.Recommend

  • Keely
    Apr 20, 2016 - 10:31PM

    absurd review. movie is greatRecommend

  • Usman
    Apr 20, 2016 - 10:46PM

    so u have problem with punjabies not with movie…Recommend

  • SaneVoice
    Apr 21, 2016 - 3:03AM

    What a PATHETIC review. I want 5 mins of my life back. The writer was only concerned about ditching the movie and thats exactly what she did, Her failure to mention the good parts of the movie, only goes to show, she wrote this “Review” with only one intent: Diss the movie. She also has some sort of ethnic complexes which are quite obvious in her rebuttal. A word of advise for all those reading: Dont listen to people on internet unless you have tried something yourself. Recommend

  • Dilu
    Apr 21, 2016 - 5:09AM

    Your rant suggests that it is a great movie. Will definitely watch it.Recommend

  • Malik
    Apr 21, 2016 - 5:51AM

    So the reviewer specifically mentioned Punjabi Army Officer. Why people of Karachi cannot come out their ethnic complex?. Any reason to mention the ethnicity of everyone?. So if the Officer will not be Punjabi then it would be a hit?. A fully biased review with full of ethnic connotations and no ground reality. Recommend

  • Ali
    Apr 21, 2016 - 7:16AM

    Seriously, this is the most absurd movie review i have come across. For God’s sake keep this ethnic hatred out of your mentality. We cry about lack of education but if education hasn’t changed your typical mentality then nothing will. As far as i know Ashar Azeem is from Quetta and he probably has no reason to show Punjabis as heroes and others as villains? When you call someone a Punjabi Army officer, it says a lot about your own mentality?

    As for the movie, it can be pathetic or technical nightmare but i personally believe we have come a LONG way from stupid dancing with cows in fields kind of movies and these technical deficiencies are the last things we should be worried about as viewers (off course need to consider for improvement perspective). Also, it’s funny how people just label some movies as Cheesy Bollywood types but they prefer watching Bollywood anyway?Recommend

  • Pakistani
    Apr 21, 2016 - 10:18AM

    “Malik is the most absurd movie” and in another article of ET “Watching The Jungle Book is one of 2016’s ‘bare necessities”. Stop demoting our local film industry.Recommend

  • Ali Durrani
    Apr 21, 2016 - 10:28AM

    Way Better than masala indian moviesRecommend

  • Ilyas Sahi
    Apr 21, 2016 - 11:39AM

    Thanks for the review comments guys….I had almost decided not to watch this movie after reading this review. But now I know that I cannot trust reviews only. These can be way too biased.Recommend

  • Saad`
    Apr 21, 2016 - 1:56PM

    Absurd and biased, that’s what this review is. Maalik is an excellent movie. Go guys do watch MaalkRecommend

    Apr 22, 2016 - 12:38PM

    Cherish what you have….Recommend

  • sabee
    Apr 23, 2016 - 4:20PM

    the story was good, the movie touched almost all the big issues, a little bit, in Pakistan. from soviet war to Karachi, how the election happen, police’s role and how waders do “awaam ki khidmat”. defined how a political war is painted as religious war. The photography was classy showing the beauty of areas near Afghanistan. but it had some thing missing the main story, so we shouldn’t label it as “the most absurd movie” because it has just started, movies will get better in few years and may be best…Ashir Azeem did his part back then and he has done it now, the least you can do your part is to support such films…Recommend

  • Bilal
    Apr 23, 2016 - 10:47PM

    Maalik is an excellent movie. I don’t understand the mindset of people like the author ..instead of appreciating the efforts put in to make this fabulous movie , mr author chose to label it absurd ! I would highly recommend this movie to everyone .. Go and watch it once , u will surely remember this one for a long time Recommend

  • Shabih Fatima
    Apr 26, 2016 - 2:20PM

    Our expectations were very high,keep in mind the best drama serial “Dhuwan”.sorry to say,movie was not that impressive.Recommend

  • Arslan Asif
    Apr 27, 2016 - 2:58AM

    Strange thing for me as u didnt like this movie Recommend

  • Anjum
    Apr 27, 2016 - 5:59PM

    Maalik is a great movie, you dont know what is good or bad, a very bad analysis and review.Recommend

  • SK
    Apr 27, 2016 - 8:05PM

    Maalik movie must be analysed keeping in view of present pakistani cinema pedestal’ slow paced film but bigger presentable approach. Difficult plot to handle but compliments to ashir for worth a try, keep on champ trying making it better next time. come on champ!Recommend

  • Sindhi
    Apr 27, 2016 - 9:05PM

    I totally agree with the Author.

    The movie could have lot more better, if it had didn’t portray Sindhi’s as waderas and calling the main antagonist ”Saain” all the times. Its a balatant descrimination against Sindhis. They could have called him anything I.e. Waders, Peer, Meer, but ‘Saain’. The film has further propogated the orthodox notions against Sindhi’s n Balochs. It was disheartening to see it, instead of portraying them the victims, they had showed them as accomplice. Sad ! And yet people ask why Sindhi’s n Balochs are getting rogue against the state.


  • Be pakistani
    Apr 28, 2016 - 2:06AM

    Bad review.. people like u watch indian movies based on fake stories.. we dont appreciate talent in our country.. yes if it was a indain film review should have been totally different.. someone who dragged u inside shuold have kicked u out.. sick mind. Get some life.. i have not watched movie yet.. but after ur review i think it is worth to watch.. everything u mentioned is reality based.. Recommend

  • M
    Apr 28, 2016 - 2:21AM


  • Raider
    Apr 28, 2016 - 3:01AM

    After reading this unbalanced and idiotic review, i have decided to watch the movie. If someone’s trying so hard to portray this movie as a failure, there must be something right about it.Recommend

  • Pireh
    Apr 28, 2016 - 11:38AM

    Quite interesting and different critic. Recommend

  • Suleman
    Apr 28, 2016 - 8:13PM

    That review depicts the feminism of Pakistan. If Sindhi Waderas that much holy then kindly stop the crap spitting over the leaders of this community. This movie is worth watching. Recommend

  • Xnain
    Apr 28, 2016 - 9:00PM

    Two things make a great sell in this country 1)Religion 2)Patriotism Pakistan’s addition of being labeled as patriots generally can make them go any lenght. I saw the movie WAAR before, much hyped movie could only offer me stunning graphics and brilliant use of weapons. The movie had an acute shortage of acting and story which are usually the key ingredients. Anyhow ISPR knew that Pakistanis would spend $s on watching everything which satisfies their obsession for patriotism.Recommend

  • Apr 29, 2016 - 7:49AM

    Well I do not agree to the article completely. Tell me Waderas are not the villains in our real lives? They have abducted hundreds of men, raped unlimited women. They occupied lands of poor people and made them slaves. Movie is based on real script. You just need to support the industry and truth.Recommend

  • AZL
    Apr 29, 2016 - 9:35AM

    The Movie may not be the best but is worth watching. I think a good effort was made to portray our politicians reality.

    Your review is biased and I believe you prejudged the move when you sat to watch it. Banning this movie is not justified as it show more of a dictatorship style then a democratic.Recommend

  • Avinash Advani
    Apr 29, 2016 - 11:42AM

    I am eagerly wanted to watch this movie but after reading this article, it is surprised for me to having the cultural and ethnographically based movie. Guys I am against corruption but it doesn’t make any sense that We all Sindhi’s are Wadera and five fingers are not equal – there shouldn’t be discriminate to anyone just believe in facts and figures. Initially, We all are Pakistani and Corruption is social evil. Recommend

  • Saeed Hashmi
    Apr 29, 2016 - 11:55PM

    I usually never watch movies, but your review convinced me to make sure I see this movie. I hope it is shown in US soon.Recommend

  • Ali
    Apr 30, 2016 - 5:32AM

    Unjust reviewRecommend

  • Ayesha Saeed
    Apr 30, 2016 - 1:55PM

    dancing half naked in the midst of lewd men…. now that’s a worthy role for women!!!Recommend

  • Khurrum
    May 1, 2016 - 3:20AM

    A very myopic view presented in the article above. When there is time to encourage the Pakistani film industry which is coming out of slumber and degradation, such like reviews discourage others to go and watch the movie. What does the writer wants? straight away a film out of Hollywood standards. Is it possible without giving time to improve? The writer would go over board while clapping for cheap, unrealistic and sexy Indian film portraying Heavily muscled half clad Salman Khan i.e Dabang. Writer is visibly angry over the character of Army Officer’s wife……..has she ever met a wife of a commando who lives in perpetual fear of her husbands safety round the clock and around the year………. Infact, Writer needs a reality check and must come out of cheap Indian film aura.Recommend

  • Annie Wei
    May 18, 2016 - 9:11AM

    Interesting comments – I loved the information . Does anyone know if my assistant could possibly find a blank a form example to fill out ?Recommend

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