Review: This Jalaibee is greasy not juicy

Published: March 19, 2015


KARACHI: Academy award-winning screenwriter Bruce Joel Rubin once said, “Movies to me are about wanting something, a character wanting something that the audience desperately wants them to have. You, the writer, keep him from getting it for as long as possible, and then, through whatever effort he makes, he gets it.”

The sense of emotional urgency which develops in the audience when they see Farhan not being able to marry Naina in Na Maloom Afraad is what Rubin is talking about. And that is what is totally missing in Yasir Jaswal’s Jalaibee; a film that offers captivating visuals but stands on a weak foundation.

An inverted frame as a car steams through a dark alley, two masked men trying to avoid a chase. The car gets over-heated; they get off and boom! It explodes along with a lot of money in it.  The men remove their masks and we see Billu (Danish Taimoor) and Bugga (Ali Safina) crying over their fate. That is how Jaliabee begins and from there on we witness the consequences of their actions and how Adnan jaffar (Dara), Wiqar Ali Khan (Ali), Uzair Jaswal (Jimmy), Sabika Imam (Eman), Sajid Hasan (Akbar) and Zhalay Sarhadi (Bunno) get involved in it.

The main challenge of writing any crime caper, that too in an industry where there is dearth of screenwriters, is to connect a complex chain of events. Jaswal hits the bull’s eye with that but ironically fails to engage you enough to sit through the duration and witness those dots connect. Apart from the moment when the rickshaw driver gives Billu and Bugga shady looks and Safina gets irritated, there is not a single moment in the film to cherish as the after taste.

Only a couple of one-liners in the film are funny while some really dramatic moments are wasted due to poor editing, such as the intense interaction between Hasan and Imam in Hasan’s office.

Although Ali Safina does a commendable job by trying to entertain the audience by playing a more animated version of his actual personality, the other actors fail to pitch in. Danish Taimoor has a dominating character yet he came off as more loud than domineering. He desperately needs a lesson in how to focus on his character rather than obsessing over how he appears in the camera. Wiqar Ali Khan and Sabeeka Imam both are used to up the glamour quotient in the film but giving them so many lines in Urdu, accompanied by a mismatched Automated Dialogue Replacement (popularly referred to as dubbing) was a bad call. Sajid Hasan appears briefly but gets noticed for his presence.

Adnan Jaffar, one of the finest actors from NAPA – however is a real disappointment. Seeing him evolve from his debut theatre play Oedipus Rex to his big screen debut is rather fascinating but shocking at the same time. It is shocking because he has not moved on from the loud and over-dramatic (relative to screen) stage space. Instead of moulding his thespian “stage energy” to match the needs of the camera, the director lets Jaffar’s massive stage presence devour his character in the film. Film, being very dissimilar to theatre requires dampened under-stated au naturel drama, which sadly wasn’t channeled adequately by Jaffar. He was so powerful as Dara that he didn’t seem to be a part of the same story line as the other characters. This resulted in his solo shots emerging out as entirely odd.  Jaswal should have worked at blending him into the character.

Zhalay looks as ravishing as ever. In fact she looks like Priyanka Chopra in a few scenes but one couldn’t contain a yawn in her item song. She lacks the flex while the set and choreography seems something out of those typical Bollywood-inspired musicals by Lahori and Islamabadi theater troupes often staged at the Arts Council.

Verdict: All in all Jalaibee has its moments but it is definitely not entertaining. It does pick up a little in the second-half but what kills it towards the end is a dragged moral debate for a film that purely stands on immoral choices and of course a very  Na Maloom Afraad climax.

Rating: 2/5

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Reader Comments (24)

  • Mar 19, 2015 - 5:16PM

    Thanks for saving my money.Recommend

  • CrazyCritic
    Mar 19, 2015 - 5:34PM

    I have never ever read anything positive from this writer about the Pakistani movies. A review is supposed to be balanced and have some relevance to the market in which the product is made. Recommend

  • xari
    Mar 19, 2015 - 5:36PM

    mr rafay mehmood u critiqued all and sumdry on their acting except the only female about whom u just went in say “she looks ravishing”Recommend

  • shaun
    Mar 19, 2015 - 6:32PM

    I had high hopes for this one, thanks for bursting my bubble. Recommend

  • zeak
    Mar 19, 2015 - 7:57PM

    Thank you for that well crafted review, and sparing me from such disappointments.
    Praise for their efforts, but not all glitter is Gold.Recommend

  • Ahmed
    Mar 19, 2015 - 9:43PM

    Now DAWN says that this is a good movie . Same was the case with WAAR . DAWN said that it was bad and ET said that it was good You guys must have some kind of a rivalry going on . Recommend

  • Parvez
    Mar 20, 2015 - 12:23AM

    Criticize the movie keeping in mind the restrictions our artists work with…….and remember that that nothing motivates like constructive criticism coupled with a firm pat-on-the-back. At this stage our industry needs motivation.Recommend

  • Lucid
    Mar 20, 2015 - 12:50AM

    I don’t understand why Pakistani filmmakers are copying bollywood so much?? from accents( really annoying) to kinky item songs!! Its their style,not ours and suits them not us.Anything copied will always miss the mark. We viewers want to watch a decent thought-provoking movie with some ‘originality’…is that too much to ask for?Recommend

  • Sanan Khan
    Mar 20, 2015 - 4:02AM

    Let the people watch and give the verdict.Recommend

  • S
    Mar 20, 2015 - 5:14AM

    Danish Taimoor is a very poor choice. Not every television actor is suitable for the big screen.Recommend

  • khoobsurat
    Mar 20, 2015 - 7:41AM

    Man I am reading something sane in tribune entertainment news after awhile. Such a smartly written revieew. Thingy knows how to convince you. Poor Jaswal I am convinced Recommend

  • Mar 20, 2015 - 12:47PM

    I cant say much about the movie as I haven’t seen it yet. but what I have witnessed the music, It really amazes me .. Recommend

  • Sahir
    Mar 20, 2015 - 5:48PM

    I will rather watch the movie and decide it myself. Recommend

  • Iftikhar
    Mar 21, 2015 - 4:17PM

    Regardless of whether the film is good or not, i will b watching it to support the revival of Pakistan’s film industry. Bollywood has been instrumental in Spreading the beautiful image of India and i believe we can spread the positive image of pakistan by making its film industry succeedRecommend

  • Ramiz
    Mar 21, 2015 - 7:37PM

    This one is an awesome movie. I rate it 4/5. Far better then many recent indian thriller movies like NH10 badlabur etc etc. You guys should watch it.Recommend

  • kashmla
    Mar 21, 2015 - 11:15PM”Flip side of Coin” its more of a media war since the film comes with ARY FILMS banner so obviously we might expect some jealousy from other media groups..Recommend

  • Zehra
    Mar 22, 2015 - 1:16AM

    I agree that u didnt comment on the female actors. And i dont agree with ur comparison to priyanka as “bunno” looked Really Old in contrast with Priyanka who just looks her age!
    But the rest of the article is pretty accurate and a very good review of the movie. Well-written!
    My husband’s firm did the special effects n post-production so we definitely wud see the movie. But i agree that we shud watch the movie to encourage our budding producers, directors, actors, etc. otherwise the new surge of pakistani movies will end w/o blooming.
    I also think our movies need more original style instead of aping Bollywood! The item number was certainly not our style! Very wanna-be!Recommend

  • Ahtisham Khawaja
    Mar 22, 2015 - 2:16AM

    Media war or not but this article is spot on.
    I’ve seen the movie and the DAWN review made no sense to me. It was like that writer had watched some other movie.
    Weak plot, dialogues, acting and a real good camera do not sum up to a good movie!Recommend

  • Shk
    Mar 22, 2015 - 3:26AM

    Warning contains spoilers. I just saw the movie tonight and I would have to say that I agree with you to the dot. Literally you pointed out every annoying thing that I was thinking about after watching Jalaibee. Pros: The visuals are amazing, the beat is reasonable good, Ali Safina is a treat to watch. Cons: Almost all the actors are stiff and many a times display mismatched expressions (or no expressions) and you can tell most of them are faking it, there is no character development, the plot is flawed, Danish taimoor makes you feel like boiling your eyes out (throughout the movie he only cares about how he looks on camera and only has expression), events take place in the movie without any apparent consequences (like all the friggin murders), the end doesn’t make sense and is stupid. A lot of major characters are killed off for no reason. So yeah the only reason to watch the movie is to see the natural beauty of Pakistan and Islamabad. Recommend

  • Saira Khan
    Mar 22, 2015 - 3:44AM

    You hit the nail where it hurts the most. ET has nothing but a bunch of money craving writers, defending the hand that feeds. They wouldn’t have given a better review had an oscar winning team made the movie and then won oscars later that year. They probably didn’t get invited to the premiere after-party. Recommend

  • qazi
    Mar 22, 2015 - 1:25PM

    for me this movie was better than WAR .. some critique here could be correct … but all over this article is shocking …. those saying will not watch after reading this are at lost as this surely is best picture Pakistan made i have ever seen … amazing story and plot .. very fitting to name of the movie .. very deep message to the movie as well .. rating for this article 0/5 , for the movie 4/5. May be the reason for all negatively could be because its not a typical romantic happy ending movie that indian movies are; this has a unique style of everything .. hats of for every one involved for making such a masterpiece … Recommend

  • Ehtisham
    Mar 23, 2015 - 8:39AM

    Sorry but I want a honest unbiased review. this one is totally one sidedRecommend

  • Naina
    Mar 23, 2015 - 3:49PM

    The only thing I didn’t like about the movie was that girl who played Sajid Khan’s daughter. She made me so uncomfortable. Every time she was on the screen delivering her dialogues, I kept waiting for her lips to fall. That was really really annoying. Zhalay was a treat to watch. Killing of all the characters was a funny take on “nature takes its own revenge” thingy. You are right about saying that Yasir Jaiswal has connected all the dots perfectly. Danish Taimoor’s entry was smashing yet he became irritating as the movie progressed. Ali Safina was so cute.
    Verdict: No more that “lips fall off” girl movie for me. Never watching her on big screen again. Recommend

  • hina khwaja bayat
    Mar 24, 2015 - 1:12AM

    It is very unfortunate that we as a nation have zero tolerance for criticism. We may not always agree with a review but we should not attack the person who wrote it – just as some people liked the film, some didn’t. Personally, I find this review fair and honest. If we really want Pakistani cinema to succeed, we must face and accept our mistakes otherwise we may kill it with kindness! Recommend

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