2013 – the year when Pakistani film making industry is waking up from a long slumber (sorry but I refuse to use words like revival and arrival with regards to cinema in Pakistan!!) and post the wreckage it has suffered from the disaster called “Lollywood”
The nation has already seen Chambeli, loved Main Hoon Shahid Afridi and rejected Josh – and now it’s Zinda Bhaag’s turn.
In a nutshell, Zinda Bhaag talks of the “Pakistani Dream” of an average Pakistani youth – the one where he is willing to take any route to migrate from Pakistan – be it to Doobai, Amereeka, Europe or Englaand!! – where all his life’s problems will get solved, because that’s where his Pot of Gold is waiting.
The story of Zinda Bhaag is based in the heart of a lower-middle class neighborhood in Lahore, where 3 friends Khaldi (Khurram Patras), Taambi (Zohib) and Chitta (Salman Ahmed Khan) are waiting to achieve their “Pakistani Dream” – while they are enjoying life to a fullest.
From all fun & frolic in the first half (where the characters & setting is building and the story is going nowhere), Zinda Bhaag takes turn for serious and dark in the second half. It is here as Mohsin Sayeed aptly put, “the film leave(s) the viewers with many questions about the state of the country and dangerous black hole of inertia, vision and lack of opportunities for our youth that makes up about 63% of our population.”
Must mention here that if you don’t know Punjabi you are not going to understand the witty and well delivered dialogues – because Zinda Bhaag is over 80% in Punjabi not Urdu (beware: no subtitles either).
Personally feel the story is so any-town-of-Pakistan that the makers could have easily made the movie in Urdu – but Mazhar Zaidi (the producer) said, “making it in Urdu would have not kept the movie authentic to its setting!” Win for authenticity over mass appeal …
Zinda Bhaag – Performances
Performance wise, all the 3 boys are simply brilliant, and not for a minute did one feel that it’s a debut film for them. Amna Ilyas, playing the romantic lead and a budding entrepreneur, is decent in her performance – just wished she looked half as good as she does on the ramp or shoots!!
Naseeruddin Shah is a powerhouse actor and is just flawless in a character of an area don, which has been written with him in mind!
Zinda Bhaag – Music
Zinda Bhaag also boasts one of the best film soundtracks to come out from Pakistan in the recent times and if the movie was marketed properly – this album would already have been a massive hit!
Wish the makers had taken the learning from our neighboring film industry (aka Bollywood) and used the music more for promotional purposes and as adding depth to the narrative. The songs in the movie (while enjoyable) just came across as unnecessary deviation from the plot.
Zinda Bhaag – Technical
Full credit to Meenu Gaur & Farjad Nabi – the director/writer duo – who have not just gotten solid performances from three newcomers, but also for making one of the most technically sound Pakistani movie this year.
The cinematography captures both the soul of inner city Lahore and the essence of past in flashback sequences perfectly and even in styling and sets of Zinda Bhaag catches the kitschy, loud and garish soul of Punjab.
On the editing front felt the story could have definitely done with a snip of a few songs, a shorter first half and a few less scenes of Naseeruddin Shah – however the clever cutting of some of the shots, along with tight pacing in places still makes Zinda Bhaag a well-edited movie on the whole.
Zinda Bhaag – the final word
Have been noticing some shock from people on social media on how serious the story of Zinda Bhaag is – which they were not expecting I guess …
Zinda Bhaag is not your mainstream masala entertainment – it is a film with a message. The final scene of the movie will leave you with some very serious questions about where our nation is headed – and rightly so!!
Go prepared with your thinking hats on and if you don’t know Punjabi, with someone who can translate the dialogues for you …