The Legend of Maula Jatt, the second feature film from Pakistani director Bilal Lashari (Waar), may be about the making of the folk hero Maula Jatt (Fawad Khan), but the origin story of his arch nemesis Noori Natt (Hamza Ali Abbasi) with its unexpected feminist undertones is far more compelling given the prevalence of crimes against women in Pakistan and South Asia. Despite the hackneyed visual approach of draping all the evil actors in pitch-black robes and all the good characters in pure white, it is this knotted abnormality in the antagonist’s DNA that distinguishes Lashari’s new adaptation of the popular Pakistani classic Maula Jat (1979).
Detail of Movie
With a few notable exceptions such as Lashari’s own Waar and Nabeel Qureshi’s Quaid-e-Azam Zindabad, Lollywood (the commercial Pakistani film industry) has been failing, despite the popularity of well-made Pakistani television dramas. The Legend Of Maula Jatt merits a viewing as a potential game-changer, especially given its worldwide theatrical release (with major outliers such as India), the largest ever for a Pakistani film, and potentially paving the way for a brighter future for Lollywood. This is evident in the sumptuous frames, extensive settings, intricate production design, and the camera’s play with light and shadow. This is rumoured to be one of the most expensive Pakistani films ever made.
Action Square of Movie
The action sequences, duels, swordplay, and chases are choreographed as exquisitely as a song and dance number. Lashari assumes the majority of important tasks behind the camera, such as co-writing, cinematography, and editing. In accordance with the post-pandemic pattern for cinematic success, whether in Bollywood or Hollywood, large is beautiful, he recasts the story as a grandiose epic fantasy, retaining the rural story’s inherent primal power.
The Legend… is a well-known tale of family vengeance. A young Maula witnesses the murder of his parents by competing clan members. Despite being raised by a foster mother who prioritises him over her own biological son, Maula cannot shake the nightmares of that horrific night. Eventually, the prize-fighter must leave his usual ring, channel his pent-up rage, and unleash devastation on the tyrants with his famed gandasa (a huge axe-like weapon). Personal revenge must evolve into a just, human pursuit of justice.
Actor Fawad Khan
Fawad Khan, with his hair covering the majority of his face and his weight gain, is a long cry from his beloved refined character. His very first scene — referred to as “entry” in the Lollywood-Bollywood vernacular — has a gladiatorial flavour, as he becomes ferocious with aplomb. Mahira Khan, his girlfriend from the popular television series Humsafar, portrays Mukkho, his childhood sweetheart. Aside from a moment where they sing together on a rickety ferris wheel under the stars, the renowned on-screen romance does not shine as brightly as it could. Hamza Ali Abbasi as Noori and his demonic siblings Daaro Nattni (Humaima Malik) and Maakha Natt (Gohar Rasheed) are the most entertaining due to their deviant behaviour.
Despite the visual splendour, it is fascinating to observe how the story’s traditional campiness persists. The dialogue is oratorical, the humour is homegrown, and the talks and conflicts are stylized. Soniye (‘Dear’) is a sarcastic term that the kohl-eyed, evil Noori uses to menace his adversaries. The continuous brutality is worthy of a slasher picture; it is easy to lose track of the number of beheadings. Despite its obvious shortcomings, excessive length, and drawn-out conclusion, The Legend… stays consistently engaging and enjoyable.
Production company: Encyclomedia, Lashari Films, AAA Motion Pictures
Contact: Moviegoers Entertainment, Pranab Kapadia, [email protected]
Producers: Bilal Lashari, Ali Murtaza, Ammara Hikmat
Cinematography: Bilal Lashari
Production design: Namsa Abbasi, Hamza Bajwa
Editing: Bilal Lashari
Original Music: Sarmad Ghafoor
Main cast: Fawad Khan, Mahira Khan, Hamza Ali Abbasi, Humaima Malik, Gohar Rasheed