LAAL KABOOTAR - The Grit and Glamour of Karachi.
The hustle of daily traffic, street fights, high dreams with no money, the bro-like swag, grittiness, glamour, darkness and still great hopes for the future - 'Laal Kabootar' packs it all in 90-minutes. The film is directed by Kamal Khan and produced by Hania Chima and Kamil Chima in collaboration with Geo Films and Nehr Ghar Films. 'Laal Kabootar' has driven its makers to new heights. It shows that not only love stories, comedy or adventure can be good film storylines but stories based on reality are even more interesting.
Precisely, 'Laal' symbolizes love, violence and bloodshed and 'Kabootar' symbolizes freedom and escape. The title suits the film as the characters are in search of freedom from their mishaps but the darkness, misery and bloodshed all around them does not let them do it. 'Laal Kabootar' is not about a red pigeon neither about a pigeon that yearns to fly but ends up in blood.
The plot of the film moves around two people - Aliya Malik played by Mansha Pasha and Adeel Nawaz played by Ahmed Ali Akbar. Aliya is the wife of a reputed journalist Noman Malik. She faces tragedy when her husband is murdered in a targeted killing during a traffic jam. Adeel drives a cab. During rides he tells passengers to give him 5-star ratings - something almost every cab driver does in Karachi these days. He actually dreams about running away from Pakistan and going to Dubai.
The film starts with Adeel talking to someone (he has connections in the underworld) about arranging something for him so that he can go to Dubai. Adeel is not happy with his past and wants to completely alter his life by changing his present and the only way out, he thinks, is to run away to Dubai for which he is ready to take every possible shortcut, legal or illegal. For such shortcuts, Adeel tells his underworld friends to steal the belongings of his passengers which he later exchanges with them and then sells the items.
The film sets off on a rollercoaster ride with Adeel and Aliya talking about 6 lakhs to accomplish each others' motives; Aliya wants Adeel to kill her husband's criminals and take revenge while Adeel wants money in return so that he can go to Dubai.
The plot also zooms in on a corrupt police inspector, Ibrahim, played by Rashid Farooqi, who somehow links to the crime thriller story of Aliya. There were two possibilities for Ali Abbas Naqvi (the screenwriter) - either to merge the role of the inspector with that of Aliya and get the criminals caught. This would have been completely boring as the inspector would continue his dishonest acts in return for money and personal gain, like every corrupt cop does.
To move the film on a realistic track, inspector Ibrahim remains corrupt till his daughter dies in an attack on his house on the orders of Bilal Shahi. Ibrahim is a very loving, caring and concerned father and husband. The character of Bilal Shahi is played by Syed Muhammad Ahmed. He belongs to the land mafia and is a corrupt builder who kills those who come in his way. Noman Malik got killed on his orders as he said that the land fire, deliberately set off by Bilal, was not an accident but a planned incident. Inspector Ibrahim also faces the consequences by losing his daughter since he was threatening Bilal.
The film reaches its climax when the name of Asad Mama, played by Saleem Mairaj, is disclosed as the criminal who carries out attacks on the orders of Bilal Shahi. This is where the revenge takes place. Inspector Ibrahim is soon killed but takes Bilal's son with him by shooting him in front of Bilal as his son was also innocent just like his daughter, but sadly both became a casualty. On the other side, Adeel rescues Aliya from the hands of Asad Mama while Mama himself gets killed by Aliya.
The last scenes of the film show some past videos of Noman and Aliya along with a WhatsApp chat between Adeel and Aliya, which shows that Adeel is finally in Dubai but now wants to return to Pakistan, just like every Pakistani. This last scene is quite realistic but the videos of Noman and Aliya are quite irrelevant. Their placement could have been in the start when the wife was mourning her husband's death.
The film also has Shamim Hilali, Akbar Islam, Syed Arsalan, Saad Fareedi, Hammad Siddiq, Ishtiaq Omar, Meesum Naqvi, Faiza Gillani and Kaleem Ghouri. Mo Azmi, the cinematographer photograps the worn-out walls of Karachi, posters of WWE wrestler Kurt Angle, Raveena Tandon and Rani Mukherjee to give the city of lights an actual touch of reality. The noise of the city hustle, hawkers and horns also portrays the true atmosphere of Karachi. Shooting over 20 locations in 35 days from one end of the city to the other is a stupendous task because it brings out a Karachi never seen before .
'Laal Kabootar' depicts the real Karachi - a good reason that makes the film worth watching.