‘Laal Kabootar’ has been directed by Kamal Khan, starring Mansha Pasha and Ahmed Ali Akbar. The entire plot of the story is based on the crimes in Karachi; land grabbing, mobile snatching, corruption and target killing. The storyline revolves around these crimes that have been happening in Karachi in the past two decades. Adeel Nawaz played by Ahmed Ali Akbar, is a small-town rip-off that drives a taxi on the streets of Karachi, while conspiring to rob his own passengers with the help of his other fraudulent friends. Ahmed Ali Akbar has portrayed the character to its true essence, with adapting to the Karachi dialect and the conveyance of a badtamiz attitude perfectly. He also pulls off the street style look of the slums of Karachi, with his bad-boy aura, along with the dream that he will pursue his dream of one day to Dubai, which isn’t going to pay itself now, is it? The character of Aliya Malik is played by Mansha Pasha who suddenly loses her husband in an encounter. Losing her husband to a tragic incident, turns out to be a planned murder. As a woman in Pakistan seeking justice is shut out by many juridical institutions, by corrupt policemen or by government officers, she’s threatened by the murder of her husband to not investigate further, however determined she doesn’t stop. Both Adeel and Aliya cross paths when he becomes her taxi driver, where again a shootout occurs resulting in the death of two people, one being Adeel’s friend and the other a government officer wanting to help Aliya. From there onwards, the story starts to unfold, as Adeel extends a hand for help and both Aliya and Adeel try to uncover the story bringing the slums and the urban together in fiery events. Both Adeel and Aliya cross paths when he becomes her taxi driver, where again a shootout occurs resulting in the death of two people, one being Adeel’s friend and the other a government officer wanting to help Aliya. From there onwards, the story starts to unfold The ‘Laal’ (red) in the title was ingrained in the movie, through the car that Adeel drove, along with the ‘laal khoon’ (red blood) that was shed at a number of occasions and the regular but subtle recurrence of a kabootar (pigeon) in between the scenes. The most important portrayal of ‘Laal’ in this movie in my opinion was the antagonist who was spotted in a red cap whenever he was caught in a shoot and run. Laal Kabootar’s plus point is the cut throat acting which keeps everyone on the edge of their seats. The music keeps you grooving with its bilingual lyrics. ‘Laal Kabootar’ differs from others through the strong and firm expressions of the female character, along with a love affair, which makes the film stand out. Aliya was also shown to be a fearless character especially in the climax where she was seen shooting down the killer of her husband with her own hands, winning applause from viewers. In the film, Kamal also managed to grasp the essence of rural and urban Karachi, with its rural bazaars, archaic colonies and beach houses. However, with the inevitable twists and turns, the story has a predictable and cliché downfall to it. The next turn of events is easily predictable by the audience; there weren’t many jaw-dropping scenes, despite of the thrilling theme of the story. Another was the prolonged beginning of the movie as the pace is pretty slow. The hype created by the movie was a lot more than the actual movie had to offer. One has to hand it over to the makers for exposing the corrupt police force and how misogyny is at its peak in our society. Published in Daily Times, March 21st 2019.