2018 is shaping up to be a huge year for Pakistani cinema. Earlier this year Asim Abbasi’s comedic masterpiece Cake raised a new bar for Pakistani Cinema with its ingenious blend of comedy and drama, and now the directorial debut of Ahsan Rahim has proved once and for all, that Pakistani cinema has the potential to be huge.
Teefa In Trouble, starring Ali Zafar and Maya Ali, isn’t like any Pakistani movies that have come before. Sure, the film is a musical romantic comedy featuring an all-Pakistani cast and crew, but that’s where the similarities end.
With witty dialogues, an engaging story, superb acting, stylish directing and awe-inspiring cinematography, Teefa In Trouble is easily the biggest and best action flick audiences have seen from our film industry so far. The movie is centered on Teefa a good-hearted Lahori goon who is tasked by his boss Butt Sahab (Mehmood Aslam) with kidnapping the daughter of his friend-turned-enemy Bonzo (Javaid Sheikh).
Maya Ali plays the daughter, Anya who Butt Sahab wants to bring to Pakistan in order to marry her off to his son Billu (Marhoom Ahmad Bilal). What follows is a fairly predictable plot in which Teefa travels to Poland to kidnap Anya but falls in love with her as he gets to know her.
He is assisted in his efforts by the ever-reliable Faisal Qureshi playing Teefa’s girl-crazy sidekick, Tony. Credit is due to cinematographer Zain Haleem for making the most of both Lahore and Warsaw and because of him, every scene and frame in Teefa in Trouble is beautifully shot.
The film’s overall production value supersedes all Pakistani films before it and that’s very clear throughout the film. Teefa In Trouble’s script is also excellent and the witty dialogues are sure to have the crowds in fits. The film is very engaging and fast-paced from the get-go and because of its score and soundtrack, the first half of the movie goes by in the blink of an eye.
It’s the sluggish second act of the film that squanders what could have been a master class in how to make a really good desi action film. While the first half of Teefa In Trouble skillfully balances introducing the characters and getting the story going, the second half is torn with wanting to appropriately end the movie and add a lot of action.
Don’t get me wrong, the action in Teefa In Trouble is the kind Pakistani audiences have not yet seen in their own films, so it’s a pleasure to be able to see the film execute them so deftly on screen. At the same time though, the car chases and fight scenes in the second half do get weary as the film carries on.
Had the film been forty minutes shorter or so, the movie would have been pretty close to being perfect. Teefa In Trouble’s supporting cast is also quite terrific. Mehmood Aslam and Jawaid Sheikh prove their mettle very early on in the film when the two start insulting each other over Skype, in a scene that showcases just how brilliant the two actors are.
Asma Abbas, Sofia Khan, Marhoom Ahmad Bilal, Simi Rahael, Faisal Quereshi and Nayyar Ejaz also turn in fine performances. Maya Ali’s Pakistani film debut showcases why she has become so popular on TV. And then there’s Ali Zafar.
The singer turned actor has been under fire for Meesha Shafi’s harassment claims and while I’ll let you draw your own conclusions about that, I will say that Ali Zafar is simply phenomenal in this film. It’s not tough to see that Zafar has poured his heart and soul into this project.
Not only is he producing it and acting in it, he has also penned the songs and the dialogues of the film, sung them himself and done all the stunts by himself. From the start to the end, Teefa in Trouble is anchored by Zafar’s captivating performance.
Though the film is not without its issues, Teefa In Trouble is an entertaining film that deserves to be seen on the big screen. Prepare yourself for some solid action, hilarious comedy, catchy music and a post-credits scene you wouldn’t want to miss.