Chalawa Review ….Verdict: 4/5 – this one will have you leaving the cinema with a smile on your face
I will admit to being somewhat apprehensive walking into the cinema for Chhalawa. I found Wajahat’s first two outings – Karachi sey Lahore and Lahore sey Agay – to be somewhat lacking. This time around, I am pleased to report, he’s has got the formula right. Chhalawa makes you laugh, serves up some very well executed emotional moments and moves along at a good pace.
Armed with a good story and a good script, Rauf ventures bravely into rural Punjab, where Zoya (Mehwish Hayat) lives with her father, Chaudary Rafaqat (Mehmood Aslam), her sister Haya (Zara Noor Abbas) and her brother Haroon (Aashir Wajahat). Zoya is in love with Sameer (Azfar Rehman) but her father has decided she must marry her cousin, Jalal Chaudary (Mohsin Ejaz). Enter Luqman (Asad Siddiqui), the pir sahib who is entrusted with the job of making Zoya fall out of love with Sameer.
Chhalawa Review: Chhalawa is essentially a romantic comedy but as the story progresses, the characters develop rather nicely and you start to understand them and so, as the emotional moments come, you can truly feel them. Hats off to entire cast for their fantastic performances but Mehwish Hayat and Zara Noor Abbasi really stood out – and amongst them, it was Zara who stole the show with the girl-next-door looks and charm.
The film is full of little details that add so much to the story: from the letters Zoya writes to her deceased mother to the little topical jokes that are well placed with reference to current affairs. The film’s feel good factor comes through very strongly in its music, which is well put together by Shiraz Uppal. The dance numbers are trendy and beautifully shot – Karan Johar style but obviously not on the kind of budget that KJ enjoys. The chemistry between the on-screen couples is fantastic and it’s clear that Rauf and his actors have worked hard to create a colourful spectacle that will be sure to delight audiences.
The story has some twists, giving it a bit more depth than your typical love triangle. Those twists are well placed and they keep the audience interested and help to keep the film moving along nicely.
It appears that Chhalawa has all that it needs to be a hit this meethi Eid. There are many ways that feel-good romantic comedies have gone wrong in the past, but Wajahat Rauf and his team have avoided most of them this time. The ones they could not avoid, you can forgive. Depending on what kind of competition it faces at the box office, I think Chhalawa can be expected to have a good run and is certainly Wajahat Rauf’s best work to date. That is not to say that it’s a perfect film but in a situation where most local productions have been disappointing, this one will make you smile.