Manila key Jasoos (2002)
The tension between India and Pakistan has not only preoccupied politicians and generals but showbiz has tapped into it as well. Several films across the border were launched that contained poisonous propaganda against our country. The sole aim probably was merely to make the film a hit and reap the profits, but the worst aspect of such attempts was to dash all hope of peace in this region. Pakistan’s film industry has also been culpable of the same lack of judgment. Previous records show that films that are full of hatred against the Hindu did good business. Shan’s Moosa Khan is the best example that despite poor production, the anti-Hindu storyline ensured that the film did good business.
When formula type films did the rounds on the circuit, Shahzad Gul switched tag and produced Ghar Kab Aao Gay almost three years ago. The film was a big hit and earned huge profits. Families trooped into cinema houses due to its substantive subject matter and better production values. Tere Pyar Mein was another attempt that focused on the Kashmiri peoples’ struggle for independence. The trend setting subject did well in Lollywood and a number of films like Musalman and Kashmir Ki Beti went under production. Manila key Jasoos is without exception, a ditto copy of Ghar Kab Aao Gay.
The story begins with a news flash that India has successfully tested its nuclear capability. This puts the Pakistani people and the Pakistani Army on guard, as the pressure mounts on Pakistan to go for their own nuclear tests. Some very important nuclear equipment for Pakistan is on its way via Manila. This raises the alarm bells in New Delhi and alerts Indian military circles. The Indian leader Dayan hatches a plan to steal this cache of equipment at Manila. In this connection he seeks the services of the notorious Anthony who successfully performs this arduous task.
The complete success of this plan perturbs the Pakistani leadership. Major Jabran (Shan) is asked to take on this patriotic challenge and stage a recovery. He leaves for Manila with his brave fellow jawans. The Indian team that was already in the chase, captures one of Pakistan’s key female members (Sana). Although she is severely beaten she, (naturally) declines to unfold the mission plan they have chalked out. This hide and seek goes on till the very end of the film. At last, these Pakistani jawans recover the hidden items and return flushed with success. Pakistan then gives a befitting response to the Indian tests on May 29. A salute is offered to nuclear scientist Dr. Qadeer Khan for the great services he rendered to this country.
Although Iqbal Kashmiri ‘s filmmaking sense is highly questionable, one must admit his sharp technical skill of filmmaking which inevitably ensures a good box office response. To his credit there are a number of successful films like Sharif Badmash, Ziddi, Ghar Kab Aao Gey etc. Here he worked with the Producer Sheikh Akram on a film with an old subject. He then convinced him to shoot it abroad. Why is Kashmiri so interested in shooting abroad? In one of his previous films Border he had forcibly created a boxing bout between a Pakistani and an Indian in Dubai. The Producer Sheikh Akram told us that he spent lavishly and eventually the budget topped Rs. 15 million, making this film the most expensive one amongst other Eid releases. The film crew stayed in Manila for one month. Besides the artists, there were two cameramen, a cook, a hairdresser, others servants, and dance directors etc. Junior artists and those who had minor roles like Imran Khan, Nawaz Khan, Bilal Chaudhary, Veena Malik and Resham were forced to go to Manila by the Director. The producer was further asked to pay $100 a day to ten Filipino female extras for a very brief appearance. The Production manager was dismayed that Saud and Shaan’s costumes blew the budget. Even Shaan’s daughter’s expenditure including the return ticket was borne by the Producer. “The problem is that if we refuse to pay, these artistes have plenty of excuses to trouble us. So the best thing is to give in,” production manager Sheikh Tahir said.
Some scenes are remarkably unrealistic as when colliding trains crash headlong and yet there is no fire at the end of the bang. The music does not impress because the music director unapologetically copied Indian tunes.
Almost all songs are un-situational. The production manager was proudly boasting about the half naked Filipino’s songs. “What more can the audience want from us? We have presented everything that is available on the satellite TV”. Some vulgar dialogues really shock family viewers as when Mary (Veena) asks the reason from her boy friend for not marrying her, the boy friend coyly states “some medical problem’. Mary is shocked at this revelation and gives way to anger. At this the boy friend takes her into a solitary abode and they spend many minutes frolicking around while the camera pans the sky, the birds and the bees. A disheveled Mary then rises and states archly “You are super fit, dear”. The Pakistani censor board has always done a remarkable job in promoting vulgarity!
The film is doing well in the urban circuit and has managed to collect revenues of more than two hundred thousand rupees in just one day in Lahore. Says much for the taste of audience such films are made for… – M.Saeed Awan
Year – 2002, Genre – Action, Country – Pakistan, Language – Urdu, Producer – N/A, Director – Iqbal Kashmiri, Music Director – N/A Cast – Sana, Shan, Saud, Nawaz Khan, Veena Malik