To begin with let me admit I was not expecting much of this movie at all, in fact my expectations were so low they slipped over the line to “prejudiced against “this movie. I am a fan of Amina Sheikh but somehow I felt she let the recent telefilm Armaan down and so I thought here we go: another ’attempt’.
Mohib Mirza has also disappointed me recently with some unbelievably bad comedy, which was an almost criminal waste of his talent.Further I am not an intellectual, in fact I refuse to be. I will not make any excuses for a supposedly ‘artistic’ film or drama which fails the basic premise of any cinematic work: which is to engage its audience.
This movie turned out to be a pleasant surprise, flipping any preconceived notions I had on their head. I sat captivated throughout, unwillingly to blink or go for the usual samosa break that I have to compensate for the lack of coherence in the Bollywood movies I have recently watched.
The story of Josh revolves around Fatima (Amina Sheikh) a member of Karachi’s wealthy class and her attempts to find out what actually happened after her maid and Ayah Nusrat Bee, (Nyla Jafri) suddenly disappears. It is based on true events. Amina gives a wonderfully nuanced performance, balancing her character Fatima’s strong will and sense of justice with a vulnerability and gentleness that brings her vibrantly to life.
It was wonderful to see people without buckets of makeup, acting like real people and dealing with the difficulties of life in a system where justice seems to be a far off fantasy rather than an attainable goal. There were a lot of familiar faces from the TV screen and the best part was they did complete justice to each of their roles. Adnan Shah Tipu’s beautifully sensitive portrayal of the conflicted goon and right hand man of the villainous Khan(Kaiser Khan) ,Nyla Jafri , Parveen Akbar , Saleem Mairaj, Navein Waqar , Mohib Mirza and Khalid Malik all deserve a shout out for their superlative work .
The direction was excellent, I am now deeply in awe of Iram Parveen Bilal. She is a relative newcomer and has no ‘filmi “background yet she managed to make this movie by dint of sheer determination and talent.
The story is fairly simple, not that exceptional in any sensational way yet it in her hands it became so compelling I was almost annoyed when the film ended. Most movies about social issues present a dark picture of injustice divorced from reality which makes them difficult to watch. Josh however paints a very balanced image of a society where there are problems, many problems but there is also joy and even success.
Having praised the film, I must also point out a few of the weak points: the main one being Ahmed’s character, who is the origin of Nusrat Bee’s problems. His character was a little ill-defined and his comings and goings with a towel on his head, for secrecy seemed almost comical and out of place in a serious movie.
I also wish the story had been further developed, Amina and Mohib share such great onscreen chemistry (quelle surprise) I just wish their characters had more time to develop a relationship.
After the screening, at the Q&A Iram was available to take questions and mentioned that Mandiwallah entertainment which produced Waar also helped produce Josh. It’s nice to know there is room for all kinds of films and styles in this new age (hopefully) of Pakistani cinema. Iram also mentioned that she was not taken seriously in the beginning because she had no ‘filmi’connections and did not come from a family connected to the entertainment industry.
She did not emphasis it much and it may have been a passing comment but it struck a chord with me. I think the patronage system in Pakistani society is very prevalent in the entertainment industry and it is stifling a struggling industry. I just wish people would trust talent rather than connections.
In case I haven’t made it clear this should be on your must watch list.
Written by Sadaf Haider
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