Wrong ‘un for Lollywood

Daniyal Zahid sees a film industry that relies on masala, poorly done

Wrong ‘un for Lollywood
There’s a reason why all movie reviews for Lollywood flicks appear to read alike. It’s the same film that is churned out month after month, year after year, Eid after Eid.

The local filmmakers have clearly figured out the business model allowing them to produce movies that would earn them enough revenue to justify working on their next movie. The focus is on the film breaking even at the box office in the first week, more than the quality of the movie itself.

The excuse that Pakistani film industry has its challenges has long gone past its sell-by date. There is absolutely no excuse for mediocre writing, which does not require monstrous budgets or overseas technical expertise.

This is not to say that the good old commercial masala flick should have no place in modern filmmaking. But in Pakistan, masala is the only formula, and even the ingredient itself is often of low quality.

Hence, it is no surprise that Wrong No 2 is essentially a rearranging of the same ingredients as Wrong No – just as Na Maloom Afraad 2 and Lahore Se Agey were for their sequel.

Indeed, there is a consistency that one associates with any franchise, but the problem in Pakistan is that all franchises appear to making the different versions of the same film.
Truth be told, Wrong No 2 falls in the better half of recent Pakistani films. But that says more about the local industry than the film itself

There’s either a heist-comedy, or a family drama merged with humour. Pakistani films are increasingly using franchises and even films as an excuse to put together an ensemble of different scenes, loosely strung together with lazy writing with the sole intention of delivering comic punches, which are often more miss than hit.

Truth be told, Wrong No 2 falls in the better half of recent Pakistani films. But that says more about the local industry than the film itself.

Yasir Nawaz’s second directorial venture is an all-out desi masala flick which, true to its billing, doesn’t care much for a plot. Ignoring the political incorrectness – which one simply has to, if one has to sit through most Pakistani films – the humour isn’t exactly world beating.

At the heart of the film’s storyline is a wealthy industrialist and aspiring politician Gul Nawaz (Javed Sheikh), his bold and rebellious daughter Zoya (Neelum Munir) and her ‘secret’ love interest Omar (Sami Khan), whose father Ali Wazir (Aslam Mehmood) works for Gul Nawaz.

Then there is Mehboob (Yasir Nawaz) a hard-working individual who is married to Masooma (Sana Fakhar). The couple have a daughter who is a heart patient.

With Gul Nawaz wanting Zoya to marry another famous politician to launch his political career, Mehboob is mistaken as her lover, owing to a mix-up that is almost mandatory for Pakistani film scripts to extract any humour.

Again, mindless slapstick comedy has its place, but not when the genre and the gags are repeated to death. Javed Sheikh and Aslam Mehmood do provide moments of laughter, but the script as a whole doesn’t work, largely because it simply does not exist to begin with.

Therefore, even though the casting is on point, and actors do decent jobs, they haven’t been given the needed tools to make sufficient inroads. Yasir Nawaz clearly has excelled more as the actor in the film, than its director or writer.

The film already earned the double of its budget in the first week, which means that it has achieved what it set out to do. However, the film industry is crying out for more ambitious projects that have more than sustenance on their agenda, or even comedies that offer something different than the usual run-of-the-mill rehashing in the name of writing.

Otherwise, there will be a Wrong No 5 in 2031, which will be getting the same critique as the franchise’s first two films, while earning the needed money for Wrong No 6.