Ratings: 2/5

Pakistani film Daal Chawal, has recently been released in cinemas, is the first since Eidul Azha i.e. nearly 2 months after the release of 3 simultaneous films.
It was initially announced to focus on changing the Punjab Police perception in public view, however the film seems to fail on all accounts, including  acting, direction, story telling (if you there was any) etc. The story of this film should have revolved around the lives of the police officers who work tirelessly day and night to protect the city, but unfortunately, it quickly jumps to a parallel love story which was more of a distraction. Soon the parallel track overtakes the prime storyline resulting in total confusion and that creates complete lack of any relation to the wider audience.

The lead characters turned out to be the biggest disappointment namely Ahmed Sufyan and Momina Iqbal, both of them are making their debut through this film. They had no chemistry at all, their dialogue delivery as if they are reading the book and several intense scenes were quite expressionless. Not even in a single scene they managed to act or deliver their dialogues. The only relief is watching Salman Shahid as Khayali who sells Daal Chawal on a street and Shafqat Cheema as Bhola Pehlwan who plays a common goon famous for extortion in Lahore. Despite playing well, the character of Bhola was never defined properly. At one time he is engaged in extortion from street vendors and acts like a typical goon and suddenly he came out as facilitator of a huge terrorist network.

Directed by Awais Khalid, Daal Chawal is produced by a serving Deputy Inspector General of Police who is also the Chief Operating Officer at Punjab Safe Cities Authority. Akbar Nasir Khan also wrote the story (if there was any) as well as composed its music.

In summary, Daal Chawal is also a story of young Ahmad (Ahmad Sufyan) who comes to Lahore with a Bachelor’s degree in Science from a remote village of Punjab, looking for a decent white-collar job but failed miserably due to prevailing culture of nepotism. He later decides to assist his uncle Khalil Khayali (Salman Shahid) in running a Daal Chawal cart at roadside. Meanwhile, Ahmed meets with his landlord (Momina Iqbal), the daughter of a slain police officer, who works at the safe city project Lahore. The film also depicts several characters as the victims of the common criminals of the city and their perpetrator (Shafqat Cheema), but no one ever dared to raise his voice due to fear of their lives.

The intention seems reasonable, nonetheless, film’s screenplay lacks the finesse and story has nothing to offer. The first half seems rather lengthy, and second half was even boring, despite some action. The actions scenes were filmed quite sensibly and sound effects are really impressive. That was the only time when it feels as if some experts put in a real effort using some basic police textbook skills. The only respite in one of the weakest Pakistani flick is the music which is somehow feel melodious. It has total of 4 songs by Jabir Abbas, Maria Mir and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan. Its title song is performed by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan Hum Zinda Hain leaves its impact when played during the film and during end credits.

Daal Chawal is a really low budget film however, this is not the only problem. The real issue is that story never really gets going. If the message was about safe city project then it should remain as a crime thriller, rather than a half-hearted attempt to make it a love story. The film was completely lost when they tried to put a political message that whoever is fueling protests and staging sit-ins against inflation, etc. is actually playing in the hands of terrorists.

My only wish remain that DIG Akbar Nasir Khan should have made it during infamous 2014 dharna.

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