Project Ghazi – Could Have Been A Contender!

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Pakistan’s first Sci-Fi film in decades Project Ghazi was finally released in cinemas after a premiere that took place nearly 2 years back. The film had a lot of potential back then but considering that the released version was just an update of the ‘premiered’ movie, it was always going in with negative marks. However, director Nadir Shah must be commended for correcting a lot of mistakes this time around, although a lot still left to be desired.

The Plot

The film revolves around Pakistan Army’s Super Soldier Program titled Project Ghazi where selected soldiers are treated in such a way that their abilities are heightened making them better than an average soldier. Salaar (Humayun Saeed) plays the last remaining Super Soldier who mentors Major Zain (Sheheryar Munawar) who has inherited the abilities from his father. Dr. Zara (Syra Shahroz) takes over Major Zain’s development and helps him be the soldier he is destined to be. Add a rogue soldier (Adnan Jaffer) bent on taking revenge from the people who abandoned him and it all comes down to the safety of the world. Will the Super Soldiers defeat the evil Qataan or will evil rule over the world, watch the film for more.

The Good

Since it’s a Sci-Fi film, Project Ghazi achieves many ‘firsts’ for Pakistani films including a battle between humans and robots; also the VFX used in the movie is top notch and can be compared to any international movie. The plot is quite grand and proves to the world that Pakistanis can also come up with good concepts. The scenes where Aamir Qureshi plays the local Q are quite good whereas some of the action sequences are impressively enacted. Watching Talat Hussain is always a treat because he is one of the few Pakistani actors who know how to excel in the medium they are acting. Syra Shahroz looks stunning in every frame and should be used in films more often; Sheheryar Munawar plays an emotionless soldier and although many would say he was blank, I would say he was perfect for the role. And then there is Humayun Saeed who carries the film on his shoulders from the first frame till the last.

The Bad

The worst part of the film was the back and forth storyline that not many were able to understand; secondly, there was no superhero in the film, just an advanced superhero program which affected the DNA of the tested soldiers. Adnan Jaffer’s Qataan could have been given more screen time because the bigger the villain, the bigger the hero. This time his backstory was explained well but it was still the weakest aspect of the film. Some of the scenes weren’t making sense and that’s why many people didn’t understand the plotline and its severity. The use of a patriotic song at the climax was disturbing as the background score was enough for that. Some scenes still looked as if they were not updated and had they been edited out, the story might have moved smoothly.

The Verdict 2.5/5

Project Ghazi’s release is a good thing for Pakistani cinema; it opens doors for new filmmakers who have grown up on DC and Marvel Comics and have ideas for a Superhero flick. However, it also tells these filmmakers not to go overboard because that’s exactly what happened with this movie. Despite featuring Humayun Saeed, Sheheryar Munawar and Syra Shahroz in the lead, it couldn’t gather crowds because a) there is no footfall in cinemas b) Sci-Fi remains a tricky business in Pakistan. Maybe in a year or two people will realize that Pakistan has the potential to make Sci-Fi films and only then Project Ghazi will get its due.