KARACHI : There are films you watch without any expectations and come out of the cinema pleasantly surprised. At other times, whatever you watched turns out worse than expected; further down the mediocrity scale. Thora Jee Le definitely falls on the negative side.
Directed by debutant Rafay Rashdi, the film is about six friends who decide to take a road trip to help a friend who happens to be a drug addict. While this may remind you of other road trip films to come out of Pakistan, Thora Jee Le is unlike any of them because the film is a bump on the road itself.
Rashdi seems to be trying too hard to juggle six characters and almost forgets the plot in the process. For the better part of the film, we merely see the characters goofing around without any developments to the story.
The film has entire sequences devoted to nothing but banter which does little to move the film forward. And if you pass the test of patience, you will even see a few horror scenes which hold no relevance except to lead to another unnecessary song. It’s almost like Thora Jee Le doesn’t know what it wants to be.
While the director’s vision of ‘Six Degrees of Separation’ turns into six degrees of psychological torture, the cinematography just adds to it. The entire film is shot in close-ups which doesn’t allow the audience to breathe and view the scenes in their entirety. Instead, one feels cramped with a bunch of talking heads crowding the screen for two-and-a-half hours straight.
A film’s narrative arc has to fluctuate to give a sense of the highs and lows of the characters’ stories. Instead, the tone is monotonous here as all the scenes trudge along on the same frequency. Delayed reactions and sloppy editing result in a lack of urgency in the plotline, leaving the audience unconcerned about the direction the film is going in, if any direction at all. Also, the flawed sound design takes away whatever little positivity the audience expected.
While the production values completely diminish Thora Jee Le’s potential, the performances prove to be the last nail in the coffin. Rizwan Ali Jaffri (Kaizaad) reminds one of Bilal Ashraf in Janaan: expressionless and stiff. In contrast, Kasim Khan (T.C) and Salman Faisal (Andy) overact as if they are being paid per facial expression and body movement. Ramsha Khan (Misha) and Bilal Abbas’ (Party Khan) performances will remind film students of their third semester acting class projects but still relatively show some edge over the others. Although the whole film suffers from badly written dialogues, it specifically affects Ahsan Mohsin Ikram (Azaad) and Fatima Shah Jillani (Bahaar), who merely exists to look good and fill space.
Suhaib Rashdi deserved a better vessel to showcase his musical talent. The songs are catchy but serve no purpose but to add to the pointless cluster of scenes joined together to make Thora Jee Le.
Overall, Thora Jee Le is a mediocre debut that harms Pakistani cinema more than it does any good. While the director’s decision to opt for new talent and the fact that he put his heart in the project must be commended, unfortunately, it doesn’t translate on to the screen. Rashdi must understand that a good-looking cast can’t necessarily hide a film’s obvious flaws. Here’s to hoping that he bounces back once he has mastered the craft.
Verdict: Don’t watch Thora Jee Le because it will kill your faith in Pakistani cinema, which might be dwindling anyway.
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