mai afridi
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Syed Ali Raza’s US$ One billion ‘Main Hoon Shahid Afridi’ (MHSA) had the entire Pakistani audience hooked even before it was released due to its name. Add the ‘Afridi element’ to a two hour and ten minutes Lollywood movie you will surely seize the ever-diverting attention of the audience.

Humayun Saeed together with Shehzad Nasib, who is part of Six Sigma International Films, banked on this very popularity and the ‘unifying’ factor of cricket.

The movie is Pakistan’s first sports-based film and promises to unravel, one of the country’s most prized players, Shahid Afridi’s story. The fact that few days before the release of the movie, Afridi disowned the project, due to ‘inappropriate’ (according to the star) performance and wardrobe of Mahnoor Baloch and Mathira, had little impact on interest of the audience, which had already peaked.

Apart from the title, the movie had lots more to offer. From brilliant acting by the star-studded cast to those humorous punch lines – thanks to the writer Vasay Chaudhry – to an ‘item number’, it had everything a commercial movie should have.

The cast included seasoned actors like Nadeem Baig, Javed Sheikh, Humayun Saeed, Mahnoor Baloch, Noman Habib, Shahzad Sheikh, Ismail Tara, Shafqat Cheema and new comers such as Humza Ali Abbasi, Gohar Rasheed and Ainy Jaffri.

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While the young actors stole the show, critics felt that the elder lot was under-utilized by the director.

The movie premiered at Atrium Mall on Wednesday, August 21, 2013, where the star cast of MHSA and celebrities from both cricket and media fraternity, such as Sikander Bakht, Hira and Mani, came to support the film.

The red carpet was organized by Syntax Communications while ARY films and Mandviwalla Entertainment hosted the red carpet.

People who presumed it to be a biopic of Shahid Afridi might get a little disappointed by seeing the movie revolve around a fan of the start and not the star himself.

MHSA is based on the life of a boy named Noman Habib (Shahid Bhatti), from Sialkot, who dreams to become a cricket sensation like Shahid Afridi but faces many hindrances on his way. However, Shahid Bhatti, the protagonist of the movie, rises to the challenges and looks to fulfill his dream despite all odds.

Brilliant acting and performances can be seen by Shafqat Cheema, playing the drunken father of his dreamer son Shahid Bhatti as Bhatti sahab, denying all bonds with his family and the memorable performance of Ismail Tara as Chotay malik Sahab adds just the right dosage of humor and comedy.

However, Humayun Saeed, the producer of the film and the star-attraction of the movie, seemed to earn low points on the performance graph. Despite playing a powerful character of Akber Deen, a disgraced captain (rings bells for Shahrukh Khan starrer Chak De India) who later trains Bhatti to become a star, his execution of dialogues and non-verbal language didn’t quite sync with the character as required.

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The rural Sialkot has been aptly re-created in the movie, depicting the supportive environment in the city which is known for producing quality sports goods and sportsmen.

The central idea of the movie is that it is all about hard work, an ambitious outlook towards your goal and motivation that enables you to succeed in your current and future endeavors. The movie, besides promoting this message, also delivered quality entertainment to the audience and kept them engaged through the one hour and thirty minutes.

Main Hoon Shahid Afridi also showed some bold scenes starring Mahnoor Baloch in daring attire, which spiced things up, and the very ‘popular’ (for reasons well-known) VJ Mathira.

Although, people find Mahnoor Baloch’s ‘evergreen beauty’ (literally) a bit disturbing but she is certainly has the capability to mesmerize the audience on a large screen.

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Another most important feature of the film was the brand placements. Brands such as HBL, Pepsi, Shaheen Air and others were quite visible throughout the movie, taking product placement to another level.

All in all, it was a movie worth watching and it certainly had elements to interest the masses. However, if we talk about technicalities then it certainly lacked the finesse present in the A-grade Hollywood and Bollywood movies.

But as Pakistanis we should support ‘Main Hoon Shahid Afridi’ and anticipate it to become an initiative which attracts movie makers towards the industry.