Omair Alavi Published February 10, 2018
Allahyar & The Legend of Markhor may be the third animated film from Pakistan but it garners a lot of audiences because they get to see animals talking and humans conversing with them in Urdu.
Gone are the days when The Lion King and other foreign films captured our imagination because now, we can have animated flicks with our own local themes which can tackle our own problems in the most ‘Pakistani’ way possible.
The film revolves around the life of one Allahyar (voiced by Anum Zaidi) who detests bullies and poachers. His life is turned upside down when a friendly Markhor named Mehru (Natasha Humera Ejaz) lands on his door in a cage and he decides to save her from the hunter Mani (Ali Noor) and his accomplices.
In the process of escorting Mehru to her home in the mountains, they make friends with Hero, the Chakoor (Azfar Jafri), and Chakku, the Snow Leopard (Abdul Nabi Jamali) who, despite their flaws and shortcomings, are good-hearted individuals. They battle poachers, wolves and even the darkness of the night to stay on their mission, which is to warn the Markhors of imminent danger and save the animals.
The film also has its shortcomings — the language at times is too hard for kids to understand, while the pace takes a break every time it moves from one scene to another. There are a few jokes that might not be appropriate for both kids and adults, without which the film might have done even better. However, the cinematography, the quality of animation and the choreography of songs is top class and makes you want to take your children to watch the film where animals speak Urdu and humans save them instead of killing them.
If the message Allahyar & The Legend of Markhor delivers — of peace, harmony, and bonding — is understood by the audience, then it will help in shaping a better generation for the future.
Since animation is a new industry in Pakistan that is evolving, there is scope for improvement and not everything must be criticised.
The success of this film will help other people to take up animation as there is a lot of scope in the genre. So go ahead and watch this film for the love of Pakistan, its animals and above all, a story that can only take place in the land of the pure!
Published in Dawn, Young World, February 10th, 2018