Shots of the stark beauty of a snow-covered landscape, a bearded man limping across land blanketed in white, and the haunting strains of an ethereal melody that transports you somewhere unknown. All this, encapsulated in a preview barely longer than two minutes, was enough to hold the viewer in captive anticipation for over two years, waiting for Jami’s venture to hit the big screen. You step into the movie theatre a little afraid that after the heightened expectation triggered by the likes of something you’d never seen before locally, the film itself might not live up to the hype you’ve created.
Thankfully, you are wrong.
Morality and the instinct for survival create the focal elements defining the struggle that father and son undergo. Mired in poverty, Wahid countenances pressure from his brother Zahir (Shabbir Rana) and local sardar Lalu (Sultan Hussain) to join their lucrative practice illegally selling off railway tracks and the surrounding land. In a series of flashbacks, he is shown railing against Palwasha’s repeated counsel to not recourse to this measure, in stark contrast to the reluctance that grips him after Palwasha’s death and the desire to uphold his love’s wishes. Meanwhile, Ehsan is the quintessential story of eking out a living from a business of sketchy legal status, in the urban sprawl of a major metropolis, the tale of giving in to the quickest route to money because going straight hasn’t landed him anywhere. Urged on by his friend and partner Imtisal (Ayaz Samoo), Ehsan returns to work from his mother’s funeral with a discomfiture inside him that he refuses to recognize at first, but which explodes when a former client is driven to extreme measures.
The first 40-50 minutes of the film run slowly as you wait for the story to take off. But the film holds your attention, not just with the pleasurable visuals and cinematography, but the superb, superb acting. Hameed Shaikh and Shaz Khan with their gut wrenching portrayal of inner conflict, Ayaz Samoo’s reckless and unabashed pursuit of wealth through any means, Abdul Qadir’s endearing character of the comedic but fiercely loyal servant Bagoo Baba, and Samiya Mumtaz’s passion interlaced with angst. The stunning landscape that unravels your defences, and a wide ranging musical score further conspire together to root you to your seat as you sing praises of the very talented Jamshed Mahmood Raza.
Moor is a triumph of Pakistani cinema, and promises to be the benchmark other ventures must live up to. We share here one of the numbers from the Soundtrack. Enjoy, and then go watch that film.
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