With no big names and exuberant marketing campaign, a low budget horror film, Aksbandh manages to stand on its ground.
Pakistan’s first found footage film, Aksbandh, proves to be a good addition in the current revival of cinema. Initially titled as Paranormal Karachi, the film’s title was later changed to Aksbandh to avoid any confusion about its foreign connection.
The film was recently premiered at Nuplex Cinema in Karachi where only close friends and family members of cast and crew with selected media personals attended the private screening. As I reached the venue a little late, I missed the initial few scenes introducing the characters and story line. But from where I watched it, I found the film really intriguing.
The 90 minutes long film starts off as a light and fun journey of youngsters who plans to visit an old guest house in the thick jungle of interior Sindh to record their first horror film. This young gang is headed by Ayaan (Danial Afzal Khan) a snobbish guy who is the director of the film and impose his will on others, Sunny,(Ayaz Samoo) – the funny guy has co-written the film and also acts in the film when Raheel (Bilal Yousufzai) backs off after strange incidents happened on the way. Aaliya (Mahrukh Rizvi) is the beautiful lead actress and all boys are trying to woo her. Saadia (Shehzeen Rahat) is the co-director and the most sensible girl in the gang. Last but not least is Shehzad (Saud Imtiaz) who is handling the camera.
While the youngsters are excited to record their first project they don’t know that fate is taking them to their death where they will face the scariest experience of their lives.
Sans any item number or even songs, the film engrossed audience’s attention with its mysterious plot. While most of the horror films in Pakistan end up looking ridiculous and hilarious (Maya and Hotal) Aksbandh is an exception due to several reasons. The film entertained at all levels – be it intriguing plot, witty dialogues, crisp editing and fine acting by the entire cast.
The transition of tone – from comedy to horror found footage was smooth and showed the brilliance of the director, Emraan Hussain, who gave attention to minutest details in the film.
The apt selection of location and scary sound effects helped in creating the mysterious mood for the film. Although there were limited horror scenes in the film but the last 15 minutes were specifically terrified enough to send shivers down my spine.
Coming to the performances, Ayaz Samoo steals the limelight with his entertaining acts – his funny dialogues further add charm to the film. Newcomers, Danial Afzal Khan, and Shehzeen Rahat are good discovery and both convincingly did their part in the film
If you like mysterious cinema and horror flicks then it is a must watch for you! A decent attempt by a bunch of young and talented artists that surely deserve your attention.