Halla Gulla – A Review

Halla Gulla is an Urdu film released on Eidul Azha Friday 25th September 2015. Termed as romantic comedy the film stars many new and relatively un-famous artists in its cast. The tagline of the film is “Pakistan first solid entertainer”. The film is produced in Karachi (Karawood).

Starring: Javed Sheikh, Ismail Tara, Ghazala Javed, Asim Mehmood, Muneeb, Sidra Batool, Ashraf Khan ,Zara Gul Jasmeen Adil Wadia, Maryam Ansari, Hina Rizvi, Hunain Maniar, Bilal Yousufzai, Jasmeen
Director & Screenplay: Kamran Akbar Khan
Writer: Raheela Mushtaq Shah
Producer: Hamid Mohammad
Designer: EDGE (Men)
Composer: Saahir Ali Bagga
Studio: MFN (VFX Director-1stop Studio)
& Social Media
DOP: Asif Khan
Editor: Nasir Inayat

It is the story of Saahil (Asim Mehmood) who is the son of the a Don named Golden Bhai played by Javed Sheikh. The second hero Udaas (Muneeb Butt) is stuck in a problem which is the cliched theme of two weddings (do shadiyan), both his wives (Zara Gul and Jasmeen) are unaware of each other’s presence and thus Udaas is getting more udaas (sad) due to this. Both heroes are linked via the heroine of Saahil (Asim Mehmood), Muskarahat (Sidraa Batool) who is the sister of Udaas (Muneeb Butt). The tussles and friendship of Udaas and Saahil and settling of their issues is the whole story of the film. In between their are also sizeable performances from veterans Javed Sheikh and Asim Mehmood.

The film has a total of five songs. Out of these four are item cum dance numbers. Infact all four can be classified as item numbers. All the four songs are filmed on a different artists. The film starts with a steamy performance, ‘Zero Meter‘ shot on artist Rubab. Apart from zero meter the other item/dance number are filmed on Mahnoor (song: Thumka), Rachel Gill (song: Halla Gulla) and Mariam Ansari (Ishq Kamla). The dance of all the artists was mostly in sync with the music.

The only soft song is Suroor De in the voices of Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Afshan Jawwad is filmed on the heroine Muskarahat (Sidrah Batool) and Saahil (Asim Mehmood). Suroor De though pleasant to ears, is the most weak song in terms of performance in this film.

Seeing this film reminded of Urdu films made in 1990’s like Munda Bigra Jaye, Muamla Garbar Hai, Miss Istanbul. The Urdu cinema declined in 1980’s while Punjabi and Pashto cinema progressed quite steadily.Thus the majority of few Urdu films made in 1990’s were made by the producers of Punjabi films and the Punjabi touch or influence of Punjabi cinema was also reflected in these films be it dressing or dances. Till 1980’s Urdu cinema had a clear distinction from Punjabi cinema. Even the actors of Urdu and Punjabi cinema were separate. While Sultan Rahi/Anjuman were hit in Punjabi films, Nadeem/Shabnam and Babra Sharif were the leading stars of Urdu cinema. Films of both language have visible differences in songs, dressing, story, dances (Urdu films have very few dances) and performance.

But in 1990’s the distinction gradually faded, the artists of Punjabi films started working in Urdu cinema like Neeli, Reema, Saima, Shaan. So in many Urdu films of 1990’s it was common to see the daughter of an urban Seth wearing traditional punjabi laacha kurta. Also dances of Urdu films became more and more sleazy like Punjabi films, while acting got louder and louder like Punjabi films. But that was a memory of the past which has passed a decade ago. Seeing Halla Gulla reminded me of the same feel of the Urdu cinema of the 1990’s which infact was the lowest point of Urdu cinema in our cinema history. Despite produced in Karachi, the film has a feel of Urdu film produced in Lahore in the 90’s.

Though I watched the film in a multiplex, the film suits more for the audience of traditional single screen cinemas. So it might do well in the single screen cinemas, as compared to Multiplexes.

Here are the high and low points of the film.

The picture quality or the production quality of the film is quite good. Different locations of Karachi are shot skillfully.

The music of the film is also a plus and consists of five songs. Suroor De in the voices of Rahat Fateh Ali is soft and pleasant to ears. While the rest of the four songs which all are dance numbers are also well composed.

The film has four item/dance numbers, and dances on these songs is another highlight of the film. Anyone fond of loud dances on silver screen will like these performances. (Especially the followers of dance perfomances in Punjabi stage shows). Also as compared to the item/dance numbers released this year like Selfiyan (in Wrong Number shot on Sohai Ali Aabro), Tooti Frooti (in Karachi Se Lahore shot on Ayesha Omar), Jawaani (in Jalebi shot on Zhalay Sarhadi), dances here are in sync with music.

The film has many new faces, introducing young blood in the films is a couragous act which should be appreciated. It is the first films for Sidrah Batool, Muneeb Butt, Marium Ansari, Rachel Gill, Hina Rizvi and many others.

Veterans Javed Sheikh and Ismail Tara have performed well as usual and tried to add life to the film, despite weak script.

The backbone of a film is its script, and it is the weakest point of Halla Gulla. The plot of the film is supported by a disjointed and crippled script which in turn badly impacted the performance of the artists as well. The dialogues are also lifeless not providing the desired comic feel.

Major attention or budget of the film is spent on filming the songs, similar attention on the script and screenplay could have also provided a better cinema experience to the viewers.

There are far too many characters in the film, which appear and disappear without leaving any impact. At times even the leading characters feel as side characters.

The dances which I have mentioned as a high point of the film are also a low point of the film for anyone not a fan of Punjabi cinema styled dances. As the songs Zero Meter and Thumka have the influence of traditional Punjabi film. The latka, jhatka and thumka a signature trademark of Punjabi cinema and stage shows is also in these songs.

Performance wise, all the new comers despite their efforts are not able to leave any impact. The moment your are out of cinema, their performance is also out of your mind like the money you spent on the ticket is now out of your pocket.

On the whole Halla Gulla, is a weak and unimpressive effort from Kamran Akbar Khan. Advertised as Pakistan’s First Solid Entertainer it is neither solid nor much entertainig. After Dekh Magar Pyaar Se (released on 14th August 2015), Halla Gulla is another disappointment. The claimed budget of the film was 5 crore, which is enough to make a quality entertainer, but Halla Gulla has not justified its budget. The film might attract viewership at single screen cinemas, but will surely face a hard time at the multiplexes.



Rashid Nazir Ali

Rashid Nazir Ali