The Good, The Bad And The Ugly Of The Legend Of Maula Jatt

The Good, The Bad And The Ugly Of The Legend Of Maula Jatt
Bilal Lashari made a staggering debut into the Pakistani film industry nine years ago with Waar. The film may have been criticized for its script but was appreciated countrywide for Lashari’s control over everything technical from the cinematography, production design, to the film’s impeccable sound design.

The filmmaker is now back with his most ambitious project yet, with a budget allegedly exceeding 50 crores. The highly anticipated The Legend of Maula Jatt has gone through through many delays and legal battles. But at last, it is finally here and the first day box office numbers are fantastic! But does the film do justice to the years of waiting and anticipation we had to go through? Let’s analyze —without any spoilers.


Cinematography – Bilal Lashari the visual genius!

What usually doesn't work for most Pakistani films is what Bilal Lashari gets right as the cinematographer. This film looks like a film. Unlike many recent Eid releases it doesn’t have the TV commercial or Telefilm look that we often see cinemagoers criticize. Lashari gets the look and cinematography right from the word go. The frames are simply brilliant. Every frame exudes grandeur. It is easily comparable to any big budget Bollywood or Hollywood blockbuster.

Production design and sets

From the very first scene, one can’t help but appreciate the fantastic production design of the film. There are palaces, arenas, dhaabas, a beautifully lit prison, and a village. The palaces have lanterns and beautiful paintings, cutlery that we see in museums, furniture that is seen lavish Netflix shows about royalty. The village has mud houses, a dhaaba/pub, and multiple shops. The attention to detail with each and every little nook is just fantastic and shows how hard Lashari and his production team worked to get the details right. Nothing looks out of place in any frame. The best part? There are no Cornetto ice creams, no bottles of Coca Cola, and no Tapal teabags strategically placed in front of the camera.

Sound design and background score

There's furniture breaking, throats slashed, cutlery thrown, and people stabbed. The plate sounds different from the cup, the gandasa sounds different from the sword, and a wooden table sounds different from a wooden chair. These aspects are often ignored in Pakistani films but this film makes sure that all these minute details are given attention. It's as real as it gets. In addition, the background score is fantastic and enhances the vibe of the film in every scene! Especially where Maula and Noori are face to face.


Bilal Lashari deserves all the applause and accolades that come his way for this one. A film like The Legend of Maula Jatt s not only difficult to conceive but even tougher to shoot. There is so much that can go wrong especially when working in a non existent film industry like ours. The lack of infrastructure makes it impossible for filmmakers in Pakistan to even dream of making a film like this, yet Lashari not only dreams it but also creates it. Every shot of the film justifies why this man takes so long to make a film. It is difficult to make a film in Pakistan, but what’s even more difficult is making a film like The Legend of Maula Jatt.

Humaima Malik - the femme fatale

If the film belongs to anyone apart from Hamza and Fawad, it's her. She looks beautiful yet menacing, sultry yet evil at the same time. As Daaro, she oozes evil and malice, yet you don’t hate her for a second. Instead, one is astounded by the power she holds in every frame where she appears. Daaro is the most badass character written for an actress in a long time and Humaima does wonders with it.

Hamza Ali Abbasi – Noori Natt reborn

This film is Hamza’s showreel. Every frame where he’s present takes the film up a few notches. Hamza doesn’t say much in the film. His eyes do the talking. This man shows up and you know he means business. There could literally be a spin off about the character of Noori Natt and it would work big time! If Bilal Lashari hasn’t considered it yet – he definitely should. His journey from an innocent child into a monster. Hamza sinks his teeth into this character and every dialogue, every expression is simply flawless!

Fawad Khan – Maula Jatt

Fawad had a difficult task to take on not just a character, but a pop culture icon, that has been made eternal by Sultan Rahi. But Fawad does it quite well, even giving his own touch to the character. This isn’t the same Maula Jatt we saw in 1979. He isn't loud, he doesn’t yell, he doesn’t roar. Yet his silence screams revenge. In addition, Fawad Khan shines in the action scenes. Bilal Lashari made sure the scenes are choreographed really well and Fawad excels in each and every one of them.

Gohar Rasheed – a new villain is in town

I don’t think anyone has doubts about Gohar’s talent as a performer, yet he manages to surprise you by surpassing all those expectations. Gohar gets ample screen time and he makes sure he utilizes every shot to showcase his exceptional talent. Maakha makes you hate his guts with how ruthless and evil he is. And that's how you know Gohar has got it right! He gives the best performance in a negative role in years.

Faris Shafi

He was a poet, and he knew it. Faris was absolutely brilliant as Maula's brother/friend Mooda. His character was mainly there for comic relief and his comic timing is excellent. His chemistry with Ali Azmat is fantastic and both bring the house down in many scenes. However, that is not all he’s there for. The audience sees his prowess in the emotional high points of the film as well as a very important action scene! Oh how I wish I could talk about it. But I promised no spoilers so can’t say anything else. Nonetheless, Faris Shafi is an actor to watch out for!

Noori vs Maula

All heroes need a powerful villain. How else would you find out that your hero is worth rooting for? Maula Jatt is Maula Jatt because he faces Noori Natt. Both men are undefeatable. Both men are ready to kill for revenge. Yet, what differentiates them is their intention. Both Fawad and Hamza have an electrifying chemistry similar to Sultan Rahi and Mustafa Qureshi! Every time both come face to face they set the screen on fire. The confrontational sharp lines and action scenes are both equally powerful. Even when they silently stare at each other – their eyes are at war. A powerful protagonist taking on an unbeatable antagonist is what makes a good vs evil spectacle worth watching!

The Dialogue

Nasir Adeeb sahab is a legend who apparently holds the world record for writing the maximum number of scripts till date. It was a smart decision on Bilal Lashari’s part to go for the dialogue writer of the original flick. Not only does he bring back some of his wonderful lines from the 1979 Maula Jatt, but also gives us several new ones. There are multiple clap worthy and seeti worthy lines in this film. Fawad and Hamza definitely get the best ones with some lines so sharp and acidic lines that they can pierce through the thickest glass. The confrontational scenes have the best lines and both Hamza and Fawad deliver them brilliantly. Also, the famous lines from the original film were also used in the best parts and will definitely get some claps.


Mahira Khan

Although Mahira Khan is one of the biggest superstars in the country, she is not a very strong actress. She oozes charm every time she is on screen, but her dialogue delivery is lacking. If one compares her to the original Mukkho (Aasia Begum), one can see that the former played the character much better. One can’t deny the star power of Mahira, but it would be better to say that this wasn’t her film. Mukkho wasn't meant for her. The contrast is even clearer when one compares her to Humaima who was flawless in this film.


Pacing of the first half of the film

Although the film starts strong and the first ten minutes have the perfect pacing, but after the first half hour, the pace dips and then it takes a while to get to the point. This may not have been felt as much had the second half not been as brilliant as it was. Most of the high points of the film are in the second half and it leaves one wondering how much better the film could’ve been if the first half was ten minutes shorter.


Bilal Lashari deserves a pat on the back. He was the director, cinematographer, screenplay writer, and editor of this film yet he didn’t mess up anywhere. Yet on the other hand we have Bilal Lashari flawlessly taking charge of multiple departments of the film and winning in each and every one of them. This man takes his sweet time to make films but when he does he makes sure he wins big.

Overall, the film was a treat to watch. I was extremely proud to see a Pakistani film that can compete with international cinema in every way. No it’s not path breaking cinema, no it’s not a film that sends across an important social message. THE LEGEND OF MAULA JATT knows its genre and follows it. It is a paisa vasool masala entertainer just like the films we see from across the border! If you're worried about not being able to understand Punjabi, let me tell you that the film speaks to you with its visuals.