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Telefilm: Too late the reformer

July 11, 2010

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Such is the power and influence of film stars that often they surpass the level of hero worship and are elevated by their fans to the level of gods. For that ultimate devotee, watching every film of his favourite film star several times isn't enough to satiate his appetite, but emulating him in every aspect of his life is what will probably give him immense contentment. And this is what Gullu Ustad, the fourth film of the Hum Telefilm Festival 2010, telecast on June 26, looked into.

Written by Ibn-e-Aas and directed by Asad Malik, Gullu Ustad follows the life of an auto mechanic Gullu (Rashid Farooqui) who idolises Ghulam Mohyuddin, a former Pakistani film star. From what one gathered while watching this telefilm was that Gullu has only imbibed the negative traits of his idol such as his antagonism, flirtatiousness and criminality. His chum Rizwan (Adnan Jillani), a former admirer of Mohyuddin himself, counsels his friend Gullu to mend his ways or he may have to pay a heavy price.

This is here when the plot takes a religious route when Gullu is bombarded with messages of haram kamai by his wife and qabar ka azaab by his son. While he is trying to comprehend these messages, his life takes a tragic turn when his son is hit by a car. Grief-stricken and repentant, Gullu goes to every person he has hurt by his obnoxious behavior and asks them for their forgiveness. Gullu Ustad also confronts the film star, albeit through the posters stuck on his walls, only to tell him that he feels betrayed by him. The telefilm concludes when a year later Gullu is shown transformed into a bearded and gloomy-faced man sitting over an epitaph on which the words “Gullu Ustad and his loving son” are inscribed.

The simplistic script is lifted by some of the performances especially Farooqui who essays the main character. No fault can be found in Farooqui's act for he shines in the limited script. The actor has such a wide range of scope that he should only opt for strong scripts and leave the rest to others. Jillani too acts well however it is Farooqui's wife played by Mehjabeen who is a major disappointment. With such a range of emotions in her performance she instead chooses to focus on her make-up which does not crack and not even a trickle of glycerin-induced tears is seen when her son is lying in a coma. Maybe Farooqui could have shared some acting tips with his leading lady.