Back in the 80s, when the original, Sarwar Bhatti’s Maula Jutt hit the screen, I was a school-going child, not qualified enough to go to the cinema. The only screen-related luxury allowed to us was a 10-minute daily cartoon piece on the PTV.
Somehow, I managed to watch Maula Jutt. Perhaps it was during a friends-funded VCR night show when I watched this masterpiece. Those were Bollywood heydays, and I was hardly impressed by the flick. Later on, I watched the film again during my university days, perhaps on a cable channel. This time, the film won my heart. Every scene of the film is an epic classic; every dialogue carries a full film story.
Now, it is 2022 and Bilal Lashari’s remake of Maula Jutt has taken Pakistani cinema by storm. The director, cast, and crew spent 10 years making this masterpiece. Needless to say, the effort was worth it. The Legend of Maula Jutt has become the highest-grossing film in Pakistani cinema worldwide. Not only did Pakistanis enjoy and fill the cinemas across the country, but the South Asian diaspora abroad also flocked to the movie theatres worldwide. Currently, the film has earned more than Rs500 million and with the demand for it, it is likely to earn more in the coming weeks.
The Legend of Maula Jutt has been in the making for the last 10 years. Although there wasn’t much hype created at first, the star-studded film could not be kept a secret for long. In the middle of 2022, the moviemakers sought to advertise the film. Bilal Lashari’s earlier film, Waar, also his directorial debut, became the highest-grossing film of that time. Therefore, the name of the director and the actors involved in the film created all the hype that was needed before the release of the film.
All cinemas around the country and worldwide were at full capacity in the first week of shows. Although the film is completely in Punjabi, people who are not native speakers of the language were equally excited about the release of the film. The star-studded cast of Fawad Khan, Mahira Khan, Hamza Ali Abbasi, and Humaima Malick all played pivotal roles in the film. Three out of these four actors have also starred in Bollywood films, while Abbasi has been a fan favourite in local films such as Jawani Phir Nahi Aani.
This remake of the cult classic Maula Jutt is a masterpiece produced by contemporary Pakistani cinema. It did not need any item songs or any unrealistic Bollywood-style drama to get the viewers to watch it. The beautifully crafted film has the best of locations, cinematography, direction, and storyline. Even though the entire length of the film was in Punjabi, a regional language, the well-justified subtitles helped others understand it as well, which allowed the filmmakers to capture a larger market.
The film is not a basic good versus evil film. The characters are carefully crafted to have layers and no ordinary filmmaker is capable of showing so much depth in a short span of two and a half hours. However, Lashari, with his star cast, was able to do so. The characters were portrayed perfectly by Fawad Khan, Hamza Ali Abbasi, Humaima Malick, Gohar Rasheed, and Faris Shafi, among others. However, Mahira Khan’s performance fell flat due to her poor Punjabi accent. Although Mahira Khan brings a plethora of her star power to the film, she was not a good fit for the film due to her non-Punjabi background, which made the character of Mukho lose its charm. The filmmakers should have chosen someone who had a better Punjabi accent, or Khan could have developed the skills as the actors had quite a lot of time to get in shape for their respective characters. At the end of the day, dialogue delivery and acting make the film what it is, and in comparison to Humaima’s Daaro Nattni, Mahira’s Mukho Jattni could not impress the viewers much.
Nevertheless, the film has garnered massive success around the globe and it is a great win for not just those associated with this film but Pakistani cinema as a whole. The Legend of Maula Jutt has raised the bar and it would take a lot of effort from other filmmakers to achieve this level.