‘Khel Khel Mein’ is a true story of the darkest chapter in the history of Pakistan i.e. ‘1971 Liberation War‘ resulting in a split between East and West Pakistan eventually giving birth to Bangladesh. We are taken back in the past via flashbacks that unfold the 50 years of mistrust, memories and myths. A group of students led by Zara (Sajal Aly) aims to perform a theatre play on the fall of Dhaka at a competition held in the same city. She faces immense backlash from the management played by (Marina Khan) and (Jawed Sheikh) as they fear that this may spark unnecessary controversy. Will Zara be able to convince everyone and make this play happen is what forms the rest of the film.
First things first, a minute of silence for all those people who were assuming that ‘Khel Khel Mein’ has a striking resemblance to Bollywood’s ‘Rang De Basanti’. No! There is no such thing in the film. Sometimes, I wonder why people jump to conclusions by just seeing the trailer. Anyways, Fizza Ali Meerza & Nabeel Qureshi’s story is fantastic and well researched. It tells about an important event in history that many might not know about in-depth and detail. The screenplay is effective and tight. However, the film could have been tighter in the first half. The dialogues are simple and effective that will surely give goose bumps to audiences in cinemas.
Nabeel Qureshi’s direction is supreme, he tries his best to keep the film as simple and gripping as possible. The first half is where the buildup happens and he reserves the best for the second half with the climax being the best part of the enterprise.
Shani Arshad, Shuja Haider and Asrar Shah’s music do fit well into the film. ‘Nayi Soch’ and ‘Zid Pe Ara’ are soulful and visually great. ‘Hum Laye Hain Tufaan Se’ is like the theme song and enhances the crux of the narrative. Also, the background score is exhilarating and has a vintage feel. Choreography by Nigah Hussain and Bazelah Mustafa is limited but it is impactful. Team Filmwala’s production design is reminiscent of the bygone era. Costumes are realistic. Asif Mumtaz and M. Arif’s editing is neat.
As for the performances, Bilal Abbas Khan is in top form, as expected. He looks dashing and gives a subtle yet massy performance. Sajal Aly surely is one of the major strengths of the film. She delivers such a spotless and flawless performance in this role by staying extremely true to her character. Shehreyar Munawar shines in a cameo. His scenes are dramatic and he gives his best. The young ensemble cast members, Qudsia Ali, Reham Rafiq, Hammad Sheikh, Hussain Mohsin, Fayed Ali and Hassan Bin Javed come across as energetic, dedicated and deliver a fine performance. Veterans Manzar Sehbai, Samina Ahmed, Javed Sheikh and Marina Khan are first-rate.
Kudos to Nabeel Qureshi, Fizza Ali Meerza and the entire team for pulling off a film of this scale in the pandemic and taking a risk to release it when cinemas have just opened everywhere. ‘Khel Khel Mein’ is definitely a step forward as far as the revival of the film industry is concerned. At the box office, the film will surely translate into big numbers.
Ratings: 4.5 out of 5 stars