That’s also why reviews for Pakistani flicks are similarly identical. If the filmmakers are following the same template, what’s stopping the critics from doing the same?
Every time that done-to-death formula isn’t brought back from the dead to be crucified, it gives us all hope. However, if recent offerings are anything to go by, anything that’s out of the box, usually deserves a multi-layered coffin for its burial!
That is especially true when the local filmmakers have plunged into horror or sci-fi. Abu Aleeha’s Kataksha goes deep into those stormy waters.
Possibly the most obvious positive for the film is that it has a run-time of 95 minutes. As a result, it only steals an hour-and-a-half from your life.
Kataksha is psychological-horror-thriller that fails to convincingly tick any of those three boxes as far as the genre is concerned. The horror one traverses while watching the film is of a completely different kind, the most thrilling experience is the walk through exit door – or indeed to the popcorn counter – and anything psycho has very little logical going on in the film.
Four employees of a news channel go to Katas Raj temple for their upcoming programme. The quartet includes the driver Asharaf (Saleem Meraj), the director of production Salu (Kasim Khan), the producer Nazish (Kiran Tabeir) and the TV host Aiman (Nimra Shahid). At the site, of which Mubeel Gabol is the caretaker, the supernatural meets the media personnel.
Perhaps the crossover between the supernatural and media would make for an intriguing script one day. It could be a half-decent dark comedy. But the script would need half-decent writers, at the very least, which Kataksha absolutely does not have.
In addition to the more considerate runtime, other positives for the film include intermittently striking cinematography, with the lighting and backgrounds occasionally falling in line. The sound isn’t exactly the worst thing about the film either.
Saleem Mairaj expectedly anchors the ship as far as the acting performances are concerned. When you’re doing horror, no matter how adept the actors might be, poor screenplay takes everyone down with them.
And so, while Saleem Mairaj is the obvious differential, the otherwise competent performances of Mubeen Gabol and Kiran Tabeer were drowned by the writing. The lack of character exploration is the most gaping loophole in the film.
We haven’t even touched upon the insensitivity displayed towards a religious site in a country where anything remotely entering those realms can carry the death penalty from those with outraged religious sentiments
The characters take ages to get introduced to the audience. And if you’re concealing something from the viewers for so long, the unveiling should be worth the wait, which absolutely isn’t the case here. Whatever is built up, is demolished by the time the curtain drops.
Similarly, the storyline keeps going on and on, making everyone wait for something to happen – and nothing does. One clings on to hope that it will, one craves something to take a turn for the better, but it does not. And then one finally gives up.
When we’re talking about the characters taking too long to develop and the story being a drag in general, when the entirety of the film runs for an hour and a half, one can understand the sheer vacuum that fills up most of the film.
We haven’t even touched upon the insensitivity displayed towards a religious site in a country where anything remotely entering those realms can carry the death penalty from those with outraged religious sentiments.
Being politically progressive is something one can’t realistically expect of the local films as things stand. Right now, we are awaiting consistent production of films that reflect basic professionalism and effort.