7 Super factors that give ‘Superstar’ the edge this Eid!

Spotlight   August 9, 2019
Superstar takes the route that made films successful in Pakistan.

The verdict is out – Mahira Khan’s Superstar makes you fall in love again.

It has many factors that make it different than other film releases, including the ones that claim to have done well at the box office. Let’s analyze what are the reasons that make this Hum Films and M & D Films collaboration a not-to-be-missed affair, giving it the edge over the competition this Eid.

Veteran Nadeem Baig in a different avatar

The first name that kick starts the credits in Superstar is that of a real-life Superstar Nadeem Baig. It isn’t a step taken because of his stature but because he gets to play a role that couldn’t have been played by any other person – the role of a yesteryear film director who is relegated to directing theatre. Not only does he get to do something he used to excel at – comedy – but also brings the authenticity of yesteryears, since he himself has been around for over 50 years.

He may be nearing 80 but when he is sharing the stage with Bilal Ashraf, he looks less than 60; the scene where he tries to make him act while moving around the theatre, or when he is performing on Doston, nobody could have done that better than him. He left mainstream cinema for TV nearly 20 years back but it seems that Superstar will make him switch back to the world of glitz, glamor, and glory!

Under-fire Mahira Khan replying with her performance

They called her ‘an over-the-hill actress’, they termed her ‘a good looking model’ but Mahira Khan didn’t reply once. She did what every good actor does and let her work does the talking. Through Superstar she has proven that no matter what others say, she has achieved Superstardom and this film elevates her status, creating a huge gap between her detractors and her.

In the first few scenes when the audience is getting to know her character Noori, she looks a little out of place because both she and her on-screen sister Alizay Shah are too glamorous to live at Bhaati Gate, but Noori grows with the passage of time.

By the time the intermission is over, she is on top of her game, delivering dialogues as if they were stuck in her mind for a long time and ruling the screen like a boss. Her chemistry with Bilal Ashraf will make you forget that once upon a time there was a Fawad Khan, and the latter will have to work hard to get back Mahira Khan in Maula Jatt because right now, Bilal Ashraf is winning the battle.

Rejected Bilal Ashraf makes a strong comeback

Not many would believe how an actor, who couldn’t play a Rockstar in Rangreza, be at ease playing a Superstar opposite Mahira Khan. But Bilal Ashraf had other ideas as he trained hard for the role, took coaching lessons on acting from Sunil Shankar and other people, and came out strongly just to prove that he can and he will.

The impression he made with Dharak Bharak was not that great because he couldn’t lip-sync properly but that was the requirement of the film; he was playing an accidental Superstar with no talent. In the second half, his character grows from just an accidental superstar to a real superstar who wants to win his place back both at the box office and in the heart of Noori. Whether he succeeds or not, he proves that when you have a good director and a will to do something, you can achieve it no matter what the odds.

Supporting Cast takes the narrative forward

Usually, in Pakistani films, the supporting cast is either to oppose the lead actors to support them through comedy; in Superstar the writer-director intelligently use the supporting cast to take the narrative forward. Had Ali Kazmi not played Shaan the director and just remained Sameer Khan’s friend, it would have looked bad; had Alizay Shah not been the irritating sister, things would have ended differently between Sameer and Noori.

The same goes for Nadeem Baig and Jawed Sheikh’s characters who share a history but that isn’t revealed until it’s extremely necessary. The cameo appearances are there too and some of them are way too relevant like Adnan Shah Tipu’s whose antics make the bond stronger between Noori and Sameer.

Azaan Sami Khan’s all-round magical touch

He can compose songs, he can make the frame seem magical with his background score, he can pen a story and develop a screenplay and in coming days he will be seen acting in a film as well. That’s Wonder Boy Azaan Sami Khan for you who makes use of his father Adnan Sami Khan and mother Zeba Bakhtiar’s genes intelligently and passionately in the right way.

The film starts like any Pakistani film but Azaan uses his Bollywood training to steer the film into the fast lane, using songs appropriately to complement the story. At 25, he is easily the youngest person in Pakistan to write a screenplay, compose the soundtrack and prepare a background score that is award-worthy and audience-pleasing. He had one of the best TV directors and the best dialogue writer to help him out and give his film the classy execution it demanded. If there was a Man of the Match award for films, Azaan Sami Khan would bag it for Superstar.

The lethal combination of Ehteshamuddin – Mustafa Afridi

When was the last time you saw a Pakistani film that had good dialogues and was brilliantly directed as well? If you have to think about it, then don’t think; just go and watch Superstar where Mustafa Afridi pens powerful dialogues and Ehteshamuddin executes them the way his longtime collaborator imagined. Although the screenplay was written by Azaan Sami Khan, Mustafa Afridi was brought in to give the lines the filmi touch they deserved, and he did exactly that.

The excellent actor in Ehtesham then made all the actors do it his way and the improvement in everyone’s acting is somewhat due to him. The young-at-heart Ehtesham – Mustafa might remind you of Salim – Javed and one hopes they continue to collaborate for films so that we get one good film a year from which we can take back some dialogues home.

And a Cinematographer with films flowing in his veins

Instead of using the usual television-style frames where a static camera captures the non-moving actors in a theatre-inspired set, Superstar takes the route that made films successful in Pakistan. The Cinematographer Khizer Idrees must be commended for this filmi touch as he moves the camera as per the scene’s requirement, following the characters and giving them the importance that the script demanded.

The scene where Nadeem Baig and Jawed Sheikh have a showdown or the one where Bilal Ashraf’s character realizes that Mahira Khan’s Noor might be the one he wants to spend his life with, are the best ones. The framing is of international level and unlike the modern-era Pakistani films, there was no fade-in, fade-out besides the intermission, which is how a film should be. You forget the ‘jumpy’ shots at the start once you realize that good things come to those who jump!