The entertaining new version of a Pakistan cult movie follows a young noble boy spirited away to a poor village when a rival clan slaughters his parents. The Legend of Maula Jatt is released on 13 October in cinemas.
Imagine Game of Thrones traveled with Gladiator and you’ll have something like this entertainingly old-fashioned action movie with epic levels of throat-slashing, spectacular scenery, and a fair bit of camp. Rumored to be Pakistan’s highest-budget film, this remake of a cult classic from 1979 is the story of a young noble boy, Maula Jatt, who is spirited away to a poor village when a rival clan slaughters his parents.
After a flashback to that massacre, we meet Maula (Fawad Khan) as a young man. The size of a well-fed bear, he earns living fighting in gladiatorial games, pummelling poor souls from neighboring villages. But the discovery of his past sets him off on a path of revenge against the Natt family responsible for killing his parents.
That journey is predictable enough but made juicily watchable by a trio of scenery-chewing villains from the Natt clan. The meanest of them is eldest son Noori (Hamza Ali Abbasi), an untameable mountain of a man who speaks in a menacingly gentle purr. Noori has chosen to live in prison, having heard it’s where the fiercest men in the country are kept. There’s a wonderful weariness in his disappointment at the poor quality of opponents. “Oh God, I ask you for lions and you send me sheep.”
Noori’s little brother and rival are petulant pretty-boy Maakha (Gohar Rasheed). There are shades of Nero in his psychotic smirk, his pouncing on a young woman for sexual thrills and killing her suitor. The last of the murderous siblings are sister Daaro (Humaima Malick). The movie ends, unsurprisingly, with a big fight between Maula and Noori – a fight in which Maula pauses to twiddle his fine mustache. As I said, old school; still, I enjoyed every minute.
According to the latest reports, The Legend of Maula Jatt film is doing brilliantly at the box office inside and outside Pakistan. The film is budgeted between Rs. 45 crores and Rs.55 crores. The film has earned Rs 9.3 crore (Rs 93 million); collecting 4.9 crores domestically and Rs 4.4 internationally.