One look at the ensemble cast Jackpot and you begin to convince yourself that there might be a few laughs in there to be had. For, almost every name in the lineup has the ability to make one laugh on their individual stage prowess.
Does it work on the big screen? Not really, for the makers of Jackpot, appear to know jack-sh*t about the art of filmmaking.
Yes, this is yet another film that has Jawed Sheikh as the villain. Did he lose a bet to someone?
No seriously, how many times is that going to be the case this year? 7 Din Mohabbat In, Wujood, Teefa In Trouble and counting…
Moving on, Jawed Sheikh is a jolly antagonist, named Jojo – too many Js in a movie that doesn’t appear to give too many Fs to actually building the characters that they inevitably randomly throw on the screen.
Jojo here sees his negativity fade away when tipsy. He’s after a coat that has a jackpot lottery ticket and couldn’t care less about getting his hands dirty to snatch it.
There are important, and similarly scattered roles here for Sana Fakhar, Noor Hassan, Adnan Shah Tipu, and Sanam Chaudhary as part of Jojo’s team to get back his coat.
Lucky (Noor) is madly in love with Chandni (Sanam) and wants to marry her. But his ill-fate and lack of money get in the way – except when they don’t. Because Lucky’s wish is to become rich to impress the love of his life.
They somehow do get hitched, followed by a tale of treasure chasing and chaos in general – neither of which, in this particular case, is a description of their married life.
Meanwhile, Mehmood Aslam’s JD is to fart on and off, especially to fill the holes when the screenplay seems to be going nowhere. In that case he should’ve perhaps farted at least another dozen or so times.
Directed by Shoaib Khan and produced by Khurram Riaz and Shoaib khan, Jackpot is written – inadequately one must add – by Babar Kashmiri. For a comedy, Kashmiri’s story could’ve worked, had the punches been remotely funny enough to generate some form of laughter.
The film is set in a hotel, which, again, provides the setting for comic relief, except that it hasn’t been properly exploited.
Sana and Tipu’s exchanges are intended to be tongue-in-cheek. They come close to working initially, only for the sheer desperation to extract laughter to kick in, further reinforcing that it’s the writing – and not the setting – that is absolute shambles.
The film being shot in Phuket, Thailand, offers exotic locations as pretty much the only noteworthy thing it brings to the table. This provides for decent cinematography and the opportunity to be a bit expansive with the camerawork.
As far as the music is concerned, the soundtrack is okay, but the background score seems to be making up for what the writing misses: emphasising and in turn reminding the audience that they’re witnessing humour, in case they failed to notice that.
The songs themselves aren’t exactly great, but aren’t definitely the worst part of the movie – which of course isn’t saying much. There’s an Imanat Ali romantic track that would fail to grow on you. There’s an item number Lovely Dovely which ups the ante on objectification – the raison d’etre of item numbers – and yes, goes full Bollywood.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with no-brainer, slapstick comedy, and the genre in fact often has prime entertainment coefficient. But there really is nothing in Jackpot that would qualify as comedy for pretty much any section of the audience.
There are double-meaning gags and toilet jokes galore, which even at their best – and they are absolutely nowhere near that in this movie – can get on anyone’s nerve, if they’re repeated like a broken record.
It’s a shame however, considering the artists on display in the film. The content clearly lets them down.
Noor, known for his lazy elegance in dramas, hasn’t been able to showcase the same acting prowess here. Jawed is Jawed and his increasingly monotonous roles probably won’t damage his pedigree or following, even if the films he’s actually doing might be increasingly going to the gutter.
Sana and Tipu are often too blunt, while Sanam isn’t exactly the kind of actor you’d want in the kind of movie the filmmakers intended – albeit struggled – to make, considering the comic relief that the film expects to muster.
Saiqa Khayyam, Afzal Khan, Meera, Iftikhar Thakur, and Sangeeta Appa have guest appearances. It’s almost as if the original cast wasn’t big enough.
Iftikhar Thakur’s dialogues epitomise everything that’s wrong with the film – which, to repeat, is the terrible writing. If he had just been allowed to go extempore, which he often does elsewhere, a five minute stint by him would’ve had more value than the entire movie put together.
Lollywood’s aping of Bollywood has resulted in heist comedy becoming the go-to genre for the local film industry. But in this thoughtless mimicry the filmmakers seem to forget that movies like Hera Pheri, Hungama – or even the likes of Dhamaal and Golmaal series – enjoyed success only because they coupled their farcical settings with solid comic writing.
Jackpot and its many predecessors struggle to do that – which is a shame considering that Pakistan has abundance of talent when it comes to pretty much all brands of humour.