Chakkar (Review): A Flawed, But Thrilling Murder Mystery Must-Watch

Witnessing an artist explores his work and expand his range is a thrilling experience for both the artist and the observer. A Pakistani filmgoer and lover would undoubtedly pay attention to a filmmaker delving into the new ground which has previously made pictures in the relatively comfortable romcom genre. Among the five Eid films, Yasir Nawaz’s Chakkar stands out for its unusual subject matter and, for the most part, entertains the audience.

The Story

Chakkar, produced and directed by Yasir Nawaz, follows two identical twin sisters: Zara, a diva whose career is swiftly corroding while creating adversaries left and right, and the meek Mehreen, a homemaker whose main goal appears to be to make her marriage work with her hot-headed husband, Ahsan Khan. Mehreen’s husband despises Zara because of her entertainment profession, yet the two sisters enjoy a close relationship.

Zara proposes a switcheroo with her sister to liven up her sister’s monotonous existence and provide some relief from the continuous reversals of fortune that she is experiencing in her work. The flip-flop is quickly followed by the murder of one sister, which sets off a journey and introduces Shehzad (Yasir Nawaz) to figure out who committed the crime.

Yasir Nawaz’s Positive Step

It’s exciting to see a veteran director renowned for successful comedies eager to play with a new genre that hasn’t been explored much in the last twenty years. Yasir also stays true to the film’s whodunit essence, rather than adding extraneous spice aspects to satisfy cinematic expectations, as has done with many Bollywood and Lollywood murder mysteries throughout the 1990s and beyond. The filmmaker demonstrates obvious indications of maturity.

The Dance Piece

Zara is a film actor who has worked with various industry performers. Therefore a dance routine is naturally included. It’s a different story when Nigah Hussain choreographs this dance sequence on an unpleasant set (the dance master needs to establish that he’s not a director’s choreographer and can offer better choreography than in Asim and Nabeel’s flicks). The appearance of a handful of Pakistani celebrities maybe the song’s only redeeming grace.

The Comedy

The sole exception in Chakkar is the inclusion of a silly character for comedic relief. When the finale occurs, Advocate Iqbal Cheema, portrayed by the great Ahmad Hussain, turns out to be a key pivot. On the other hand, Iqbal’s humor does not always succeed, and he appears over the top. Inspector Shehzad and his team of detectives provide moments of humor peppered throughout the tale to lighten up the usually somber material. Fortunately, virtually all of these jokes work. The comedy is definitely “situational,” and “the comedic value complements the character it’s on,” as co-producer Nida Yasir stated in one of her interviews about the film.

Performance of Neelam Muneer

While most of the actors provide good performances, we are mildly disappointed with Neelam Muneer. She has a strong track record on television. Her performance on the big screen, on the other hand, leaves a lot to be desired. She has yet to demonstrate her range as an actor beyond just a gorgeous face or a hot-headed teenager who lives life on her terms (Wrong No 2). Her language delivery seemed wooden in numerous instances, with little variety of emotions. Despite having to portray two personalities, she fails both of them, resulting in a lack of public sympathy for both of them.

Shehzad is played by Yasir Nawaz.

In portions, the same may be said about Yasir’s character. He stays solemn in most places and appears anxious at times, particularly when he needs action. The climactic sequence is hand combat between Yasir and Ahsan, which, while skillfully choreographed, is ruined by the overuse of body duplicates.

The character of Ahsan Khan

Ahsan’s character has some layers, and he plays the part effectively. Still, like the other two stars, his character might have been explored further in the first half, rather than being limited to being an angry guy who despises his sister-in-law.

Downsides

The film’s first half wastes screen time by showing Yasir’s team working on the crime and seeking evidence. Their efforts get tedious, especially because the same background music plays every time his investigators appear on TV. The romantic ballad, despite being beautifully depicted, seems to be forced. Among the film’s flaws, the background score is one of its weaker links. The picture’s tone might have been darkened more with proper lighting and color grading since the serious parts in the film appear overly well-lit, particularly in the early half.

The Selection

On the other hand, the second half solves this issue and, happily, seems appropriately grimy. The majority of the film’s surprises and surprising turns are kept for the final twenty minutes. It keeps you on the edge of your seat, wanting to see how things will turn out. The last act is rather stunning, and the film lives up to its name. However, one of the main characters (Zara) gets overlooked as the filmmakers focus on the starring guys.

Last Word

Despite its obvious weaknesses, Chakkar succeeds as engaging entertainment. If the entire film had been shot and edited like the last 30 minutes, it would have been a genuinely entertaining experience. However, the picture stands out because its distinct genre should work in its favor. Yasir’s departure from romcom to the murder mystery isn’t the only reason to like the picture. Chakkar may not be the finest murder mystery you’ve ever watched, but it’s also not one to pass up.

3.5 stars

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