Nitin Kakkar

Sharib Hashmi

Movie Review
FILMISTAAN:A land between Indo-Pak

“Ye pichchar hatke hai!”- Most mainstream Mumbai filmmakers say about their projects but rarely do they mean it. It’s mainly because of a lack of experimentation with the story ideas that the same kind of films are tossed to the audience over and over again. In this context, it’s heartening to see that the filmmakers, as well as producers, have now started to put their money on unusual subjects even in the very mainstream entertainment-cum-business format. Filmistaan is a fresh example.

A struggling, rather failed, actor Sunny Arora (Sharib Hashmi) is obsessed with Hindi films and has been fighting it out in the Mumbai for some years. His passion for acting is commendable but his talent is negligible. He lands up an opportunity to be an assistant director for a documentary film being shot by a foreign-crew in the interiors of Rajasthan. He lands up in Thar Desert only to get abducted by a bunch of cross-border terrorists who mistakenly, because of the highway being surrounded by darkness, take him as one of the Goras! Overnight, our man is transported to a remote village in Pakistan where two militants keep a watch over him twenty four by seven. However, this does not push the film into a different zone as we soon find out that the love of Hindi films and a passion for Cricket are two threads running across both sides of the border. The film explores this theme over next couple of hours, illustrating how close the two nations are regardless of standing divided by boundaries. 

This is indeed a fantastic premise. The set-up is super quick and the film jumps on to the story within no time. The main character draws you in and the surroundings present a thrilling conflict. What follows is a series of incidents summing up Sunny’s misery at the backdrop of his failed attempts at escaping. Another very likable character Aftaab (Imaanulhaq) - a film DVD seller and a diehard Hindi cinema buff, is introduced in whose house Sunny is held captive. These two, somewhat goofy but amiable guys, keep you interested in the film throughout and make the story a success.

The film never loses its lightheartedness due to Sunny’s presence. He mimics in order to entertain kids, requests the kidnapper’s to free him in order to watch Maine Pyaar Kiya which is being played in the neighborhood and recites dialogues when the DVD hits a soundless patch. Sunny’s character is film’s spine that holds it together. The audience likes watching him while completely forgetting that it’s a very rare occasion when they watch a hero who does not have a chocolaty face or six-pack abs. Sunny is super fun all the time but he is also not a joker but this softhearted sentimental man who even after a tough beating manages to say ‘Mazaak pasand nahi hai toh pehale bata dete!’ Sharib Hashmi does justice to his part, as if he is only playing his own reel-life version. To be critical, one might say that his acting skills seem limited but he succeeds nonetheless because the casting has hit the nail. Imaanulhaq as Aftaab is pleasant. 

Filmistaan does not have great flaws but its own shortcomings which do not let it become a memorable masterpiece. The story & screenplay (Nitin Kakkar) remain too simplistic ending up being a series of funny incidents. The treatment, in an attempt at revoking the nostalgia of movie watching, remains sketchy (read filmy) and the conflict doesn’t come across as a real situation. We really don’t see the lurking danger as something serious and this doesn’t let the film rise to the level of some acclaimed Iranian film or like the Italian film Life is Beautiful in which one fears for something terrible happening to the characters. The dialogues (Sharib Hashmi) are funny, hilarious at occasions but at times, repetitive and didactic turning into an insipid commentary on India-Pakistan political relations. 
The production quality and the cinematography, both are topnotch rendering the film an impressive visual identity. Edit is sharp and the background score is fitting. Over all, Filmistaan is quite ‘hatke’ in the real sense of the word and deserves a watch as its success would be a very promising thing for the entire Filmi-Duniya. 


   Dinkar Sharma

Dinkar Sharma is a screenwriter. His film Second Marriage Dot Com was released in 2012. He can be contacted at: . https://www.facebook.com/imdinkarsharma

Click here to Top