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‘Gul Makai’ Movie Review: Let’s hope Malala Yousafzai never gets to see this Reem Shaikh starrer mockery of a biopic
HE Amjad Khan
Sanjay Singhla, Preeti Vijay Jaju, Dhaval Jayantilal Gada, Aksshay Jayantilal Gada
Reem Shaikh, Atul Kulkarni, Divya Dutta, Om Puri, Arif Zakaria, Mukesh Rishi, Abhimanyu Singh, Pankaj Tripathi, Sharib Hashmi, Kamlesh Gill
Bollywood Bubble Rating
What’s It About
Gul Makai accounts the courageous journey and struggle of 2014 Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, starting from her humble upbringing in the Swat Valley in northwestern Pakistan to her becoming the champion for free education to all women. When Swat Valley was seized by Taliban gunmen in 2009 and Sharia law was imposed upon its people, Malala spoke out for the rights of girls, especially the right to receive a complete education. She started blogging on the BBC Urdu website under the pseudonym Gul Makai, against the oppression faced by them in the Swat Valley. As she continued her activism, gaining worldwide recognition and support, she was hunted down and shot by a Taliban gunman as part of the organization’s violent opposition to girls’ education. ‘Gul Makai’ is about the early life of Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai. The film revolves around how she, along with her father, raised a voice against the oppression of the Taliban terrorist regime in the Swat Valley in Pakistan. What led to Malala getting shot by the terror group? Well, that’s what the movie is all about.
Atul Kulkarni. He is the lone warrior in the film. He is as usual in his element where he looks apt in the character of the activist, Ziauddin Yousafzai. Whenever he enters the scene, he makes sure that the screens are lit up. His screen presence is so strong that you will be left gasping as to how his brilliant portrayal is going down the drain in this film.
Pretty much everything else in the movie is not even worth a mention. Still…
Tik Tok superstar Reem Shaikh has been wasted in the lead role. She does a lot more emoting in her viral videos than she has done in ‘Gul Makai’. She is new, and so maybe she was working under the strict instructions of the makers of the movie to not go overboard and give her special quirky tadka to the character.
Same goes for Divya Dutta. Maybe she was just too swayed away by wanting to work in the Malala Yousafzai biopic that she even agreed to a part which was much below her stature. However, she did the best yet, the abrupt screenplay just didn’t allow her to perform to her full potential.
Stellar screen actors like Pankaj Tripathi, Sharib Hashmi, Arif Zakaria, Mukesh Rishi, Abhimanyu Singh, Kamlesh Gill and the late Om Puri have been totally wasted. I can’t believe most of these actors have just blink-and-miss roles, which could have been developed properly to be a full-fledged character. Sad!
The screenplay by Bhaswati Chakrabarty is so abrupt that at times you will be left wondering as to what is actually happening. To add to it, you have director HE Amjad Khan’s direction which can be termed as nothing but amateurish. For example, the whole reaction shot of Malala (Reem Shaikh) and the other girls in the school bus when the terrorist open-fires at Malala, has not been shown at all. The camera stays focused on the face of the terrorist (Sharib Hashmi). It’s pathetic! The two have squandered the opportunity to make a brilliant film on a very brilliant topic on one of the most popular individuals in the world. The work looks so amateurish that at times you are left wondering whether they made the whole film on a shoestring budget, as the production quality seems terrible.
The film needed a better screenplay and direction. Probably, a Meghna Gulzar would have done proper justice to this intense and intricately layered story of Malala Yousafzai.
To be fair, as a Malala fan, you want to know about the work that she has done, the reason why she got a Nobel Peace Prize, the immense amount of charity and women empowerment work she does all over. You do want to know about how she grew up and what led to her getting shot, but you want to see that 40 per cent and want to see the rest 60 per cent about her work. This film looks more like a biopic on Malala’s dad, Ziauddin Yousafzai.
Amjad Khan decided to give the music for the film himself, which didn’t leave any extra impact on the audiences watching the movie. Amar Mohile’s background score was slightly better, but some seriously chirpy editing by Praveen Angre make that also not stand out. The film could have easily been cut short by another 15 minutes to save the people of the pain.
The least of my favourites in the film would be the cinematography and camera work. What were Madhu Rao and Javed Ethesham thinking? The weird angles on which shots have been taken, and add to that the fast-paced takes used during the gun-fight sequences make you have a splitting headache when you’re coming out of the movie.
To add to that, there are the bad VFX scenes where helicopters, tanks, buses or even people are getting blasted. Even a porn film has better VFX than what we were subjected to in ‘Gul Makai’.
Overall, you’ll be left pulling your hair out.
AVOID! If you’re really interested in watching the story of Malala, check out the 2015 documentary by Davis Guggenheim titled, ‘He Named Me Malala’. ‘Gul Makai’ is just a great story left squandered by some novice direction and screenplay. Sadly, a Meghna Gulzar would have given this movie the proper justice it demanded. I am going with just 1 star for ‘Gul Makai’.
Considering the 6-7 years of delay in the movie being released to the fact that it had the least of promotions, it will be a miracle if the movie is still in theatres by Monday. The clash with ‘Jawaani Jaaneman’ is surely not going to help the movie any bit, as that will eat up into the whole business.
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