The young protagonist in Shahzad Ghufoor’s The System just can’t take it anymore. The corrupt politicians, immoral villainous (and easy to buy) police men, rising expense – nothing makes sense to him, so he does what any filmi hero would do: take them down. Or as he says in his own words: “Main system kay saath nahin chal sakta. System ko meray saath chalna paday ga (I can’t follow the system; the system has to follow me)”. How quaint, and maybe, egoistical.
The rebelling youth Haider (Sheraz Ghufoor) is a karate apt, postgraduate son of a masjid imam (the obligatory Nadeem Baig), who often sneaks up to his veranda for some romantic escapes with Sara (Kashaf Ali), the girl next door.
Ghufoor’s movie is neither as drastic nor as desperate – or as easy to anger – as Haider. An act of political game-playing (by a derivative Nayyar Ejaz) implicates him, his friends and soon dad, as criminals. The charges don’t stick, but they do propel him into police service – and the movie’s first action set-piece at a cargo dock.
The villains are, naturally, scared – including his police subordinate played by Shafqat Cheema (unimaginatively named SHO ‘Jimmy’ Cheema in the script).
Cheema is a god-sent to The System. A morally reprehensible soul, Cheema (the character, not the real Cheema), plays Jimmy to the hilt. A baddie turned often-ridiculed sidekick is hardly a letdown – especially in an otherwise pedestrian take on any action movie from the 80’s.
In one scene, Haider stops an “item number” mid-way and forces Cheema to dance wearing a pair of hefty ghungroo over his khaki police pants. Already well in the groove, at least Cheema was having a blast. The rest of the cast, judging from their stunted parts or run-of-the-mill dialogues, are just here for the paycheck – and maybe their dedication to continue making Pakistani movies, good, bad or whatever.
A pat (or not) on the back
We all know the apparent war cries about supporting Pakistani cinema. But there is a difference between supporting, and turning a blind eye on the shortfalls of a motion picture. Filmmakers, sometimes as angry as Haider is of the system, want a pat on the back for a lackluster product. Oftentimes, these productions are inane in technicality, aesthetic, or too driven by the filmmaker’s own enthusiasms or egoistical accomplishments.
The System was made in a budget of Rs7 Crores, and did Rs1.8 Crores in its first weekend; a movie needs to make three times its budget to break even.
In such harrowing circumstances, a motion picture’s success – and especially of a re-emerging film industry – depends on good, commercially viable, wide-ranging, genre specific fare with one chief attribute: an engaging, well thought out, script.
There are over forty Pakistani films under production now; not all of them will see distribution – or a pat on the back for doing a mucked up job.
Hits and misses
The Systems has a few things going for it: It is technically competent; the crisp, high contrast graded, cinematography is by Syed Faisal Bukhari; the songs, by Music Director Shailesh Suvarna, are far from a throbbing headache – Aa Re Aa, Saiyyon Re and Naughty Saiyyan, are fine with a premeditated Bollywood feel; and of course, there is the indispensible Cheema.
The buck, alas, comes to a dead stop here.
Sheraz’s diction is accented and off, his acting skills, limited to gruff and grunts, necessitate heavy coats of polish.
Sheraz is good for a laugh; none of it is intentional though. Haider’s use of The System’s tagline about mending the system to his will may as well be chapter bookmarks, and his other most repeated line – he calls befriended hoodlums “my best friend” – comes with an uneducated, amateurish, tinge.
The Final Word
The System, as incredible as it sounds, is briskly paced. This, unlike Ishq Khuda, is an old-fashioned commercial movie. Its entertainment level can be compared to Son of Pakistan – at once bad, yet forgiving.
Review By : Mohammad Kamran Jawaid
Source : Dawn News
Source Link : http://www.dawn.com/news/1110535