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Movie Review: Chakkar

Written by Omair Alavi

Before Eid ul Fitr, Yasir Nawaz’s Chakkar was the most-talked film because of its different genre (murder mystery), its cast (Neelam Muneer in a dual role), and its soundtrack. However

Before Eid ul Fitr, Yasir Nawaz’s Chakkar was the most-talked film because of its different genre (murder mystery), its cast (Neelam Muneer in a dual role), and its soundtrack. However, out of all the four Urdu releases on Eid, it came out as the weakest flick that could have been a contender had the director given it the time it required, rather than releasing it half-cooked.

The last time he released a film – Mehrunisa V Lub U! – he blamed the reviewers for its failure, some of whom actually published their reviews soon after the film’s release. However, in the case of Chakkar, most of the reviewers kept quiet for a couple of weeks and reviewed the film when its fate was sealed, with the result not being much different. Instead of blaming others, it’s time the director accepted his mistake and gave something worthwhile to the audience that pays to be entertained, not confused.

The Plot

Zara Khan (Neelam Muneer) is one of the top-yet-controversial actresses in the country whose brother-in-law Kabir (Ahsan Khan) has forbidden her twin sister Mehreen (also Neelam Muneer) to interact with her. He believes that the two sisters should stay away from each other because Zara is always in the news for the wrong reasons. One day when Kabir is away on a business trip, the two twins trade places and that’s the day when one of them gets murdered.

Inspector Shahzad (Yasir Nawaz) investigates the high-profile murder where everyone is a suspect. Who murdered the victim and why? Was it a premeditated murder or a simple case of mistaken identity? How will the nosy neighbor Advocate Cheema (Ahmed Hassan) prove what he knows and whether it will help out the person who is behind bars for a crime he didn’t commit. Chakkar has all the answers, all you have to do is watch the film!

The Good

On paper, Chakkar seems like a good murder mystery, a genre that isn’t touched in Pakistan. It had the thrill, the action, it the glamour, and the shock value, all rolled into one. Yasir Nawaz’s police inspector was a welcome change since he looked realistic instead of the over-the-top cops that India and Pakistan love to see in their movies. Ahsan Khan wasn’t far behind either, although his character could have developed well instead of being shown as always angry for no reason.

Watching not one but two Neelam Muneers was always going to be the main attraction for the audience, and most of them went to watch ‘the Neelam Muneer film’, not Chakkar. However, the one person who dominated all was Ahmed Hasan as the nosy lawyer who is always there to help ‘Mehreen behen’ be it fixing the fuse or getting rabri from Burns Road. It is that very rabri that helps him solve the case, but by the time he does that, it’s too late.

Naveed Nashad’s soundtrack is also not to be missed for he carries the Nashad legacy forward in a beautiful manner. Although the film has only a few songs, it has the trademark touch of his grandfather Nashad and father Wajid Ali Nashad who had given countless hits since the 1960s.

The Bad

Ahmed Hassan might be the best thing about Chakkar but his accent varies on occasions, confusing the audience. But that was nothing compared to the ‘too many twists’ that reminded me of Abbas-Mastan, the famous Indian directors who twist the story so much that no one remembers the end. Had the director wanted the film to do well, they could have simply started with the murder and then revealed the twin sister angle, just like it was done in Dhoom 3 where no one had any clue about the second Aamir Khan. However, with the Parent Trap switch revealed in the trailer, ‘suspense’ took the back seat and the audience had less reason to look for the grand finale.

Secondly, the background score of Chakkar reminded the audience of the 1990s when sample music was used to give the film a filmi feel for no reason. Add to that Saleem Dad’s cinematography, which was the main difference that sealed the fate of the film as a flop. It took you back to the time when unforgettable thriller films were made, released, and forgotten within a week. It’s really sad to see Yasir Nawaz not being able to come up with a good murder mystery, considering he is amongst the best directors on TV and has attempted all kinds of genres successfully.

Naveed Raza and Jawed Sheikh were wasted in minor roles, and the same could be said for Adnan Shah Tipu and Shamoon Abbasi. There was no need for Shoaib Malik to appear in the film, and that Danish Nawaz sequence could easily have been edited, for it can only be understood if you are into the ‘other kind of films’. The song Chirya tries to give the Om Shanti On feeling but that’s wishful thinking for all the guests appeared separately, doing the same dance steps without any link to the story. Just like the flashback sequence in the second half, where the audience had to guess that there was a flashback!

The Verdict 2.5/5

The film’s cinematographer Saleem Dad blamed the management of one of the cinemas on social media for not screening the film when he arrived to watch it, ten minutes after the show was canceled for no audience. He should thank his stars for the late arrival because had he seen the film with his friends, he would have come out more embarrassed than proud. In many scenes, the framing was ‘adjusted’ to give it an enhanced filmi look, resulting in a pixelated frame that seemed obvious on the big screen. Blaming the ‘bloggers’ for that shows that they pointed out the right thing, and should be given credit for it as well.

The editing was average throughout the movie; one scene that was supposed to take place after one of the characters ran away from the car took place before there was a car in sight. And I am not going to talk about the sequence where on a rainy night, a car was broken into; you will have to watch it to be transported into the 1990s when such gimmicks were used to save money. When you save money, it shows on the screen, and Chakkar would have done well, had the money been invested properly, wisely and in the right way.

About the author

Omair Alavi