Review: Faisal Qureshi’s ‘Money Back Guarantee’ MBG is entertaining in parts and banks too heavily on a star cast

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Review: Faisal Qureshi’s ‘Money Back Guarantee’ MBG is
entertaining in parts and banks too heavily on a star cast


Review: Faisal Qureshi's 'Money Back Guarantee' MBG is entertaining in parts and banks too heavily on a star cast

A comedy of errors is born when slapstick laughter meets a
case of mistaken identification, puns, and unusual word play. Faisal Qureshi’s
Money Back Guarantee makes a soup with the same ingredients but adds social
messaging and political humour to enhance the flavour. Fans of the
now-director’s screenplay in Teen Bata Teen will recognise his sense of humour.
But perhaps the world has changed since then…

Money Back Guarantee (MBG), which opened in Karachi on
Thursday, was the most-anticipated film to be released during Eidul-Fitr. It
was billed as a full-fledged entertainer, with a star-studded ensemble cast
that included Fawad Khan, Hina Dilpazeer, Gohar Rasheed, Javed Sheikh, Mikaal
Zulfiqar, Kiran Malik, Adnan Jafar, Ayesha Omar, and others, as well as debut
actors Wasim Akram, Shaniera Akram, Muniba Mazari, and George Fulton.

The film explores the dichotomy of capitalism and socialism
as it dabbles in numerous societal problems such as corruption, VIP culture,
stereotyping, theft, political point-scoring, injustice, and discrimination,
set in a strange land that feels part-Pakistan and part-New Jersey – actually
shot in Karachi and Thailand. It establishes the tone for a humorous and
ludicrous brand of dramedy. Money Back Guarantee is brilliant because it
doesn’t take itself too seriously as it collects a motley group of degenerates
to drive its plot forward while mocking the very virtues it wants to impart.

Review: Faisal Qureshi's 'Money Back Guarantee' MBG is entertaining in parts and banks too heavily on a star cast

These degenerates depict Pakistan’s numerous nationalities
as they struggle to avoid preconceptions that society propagates about them,
such as Pushtoons being “dumb,” Christians being “Karanta,
Choora” (slurs), Punjabis being “hungry,” and others. The film
makes extensive use of symbolism, with the setting throwing barbs at the core
principles of the subjects it inhabits.

The majority of the film was shot in Pak Bank, a fictional
bank that houses the money of all Pakistan’s corrupt leaders, with our band of
degenerates planning to rob it. Everyone’s blood has become white – literally,
the Pakistani flag is represented by a WiFi signal, the Pak bank’s design
replicates the map of Pakistan with small adjustments to suit the rich, as it
ingeniously portrays how each province and section of the bank runs – or does
not. A lawyer, not an architect, constructed the country’s “most
secure” bank. The only method to gain access to the millions of rupees
stored within its cells? Biometric, you guessed it!

Review: Faisal Qureshi's 'Money Back Guarantee' MBG is entertaining in parts and banks too heavily on a star cast

A painting of The Last Super hanging inside the bank has
been brilliantly altered to depict the country’s selfish leaders preying on the
poor. And the politicians have been represented by the same actors who play the
robbers-turned-rebels in order to represent “Jesi qoum, wese

The narrative of the film centres around the heist that our
amateur gang embarks on with the goal of retrieving the people’s money. The
scheme, however, is not failsafe and is constantly altering as the robbers fail
one after the other. While this is meant to be amusing, it leaves the film
seeming chaotic, as if it is fighting to find its centre. It also leaves a lot
to the imagination, and not always for the things that should have been left


The plot isn’t woven together smoothly. There are cause and
effect concerns, and it is impossible to determine how or why anything occurs.

The characters, however, are fully developed. Fawad’s
character, Bux, is a cheapskate bank manager who caters solely to the wealthy
and listens only to the powerful. The actor also fits it perfectly since he
finally portrays a non-romantic, non-emotional, grey character, broadening his
acting repertoire and career graph. To say the least, his dialogue delivery and
psychotic faces are stunning.

Kiran, Gohar, Mikaal, Ali Safina, and Afzal Khan, all
members of the robbery group, also have remarkable acting abilities. Gohar
maintains his customary sidekick enthusiasm as an unemployed goon struggling to
provide for his wife. His Sindhi accent, however, does not develop on you as
the film proceeds. It’s also exhausting to see each of the robbers strive to
speak in a specific accent to represent a specific ethnicity. Because of the
demand, the film promotes another another misconception about the nationalities

While that is a creative option, the audience’s ability to
relate with the characters is harmed because MBG also pokes fun at the way
brands are marketed in Pakistani films to placate sponsors by doing the same


Review: Faisal Qureshi's 'Money Back Guarantee' MBG is entertaining in parts and banks too heavily on a star cast

Wasim and Shaniera’s jobs aren’t particularly challenging.
As a result, they excel as debut actors. Mani appears to be trying too hard to
play circuit from Munna Bhai, and his accent continues to irritate.

There are several scenes in the film that could have been
cut, and others that could have been skipped entirely. The opening sequence,
for example, is just too protracted and tedious to captivate the audience. The
last scene, or scenes, are much too numerous to qualify the picture as
well-rounded. It’s as if the editors fought to decide what to preserve and what
to discard.

Writer-directed films frequently suffer with leaving little
breathing room in terms of speech. At times, it becomes overly verbose, with
each character falling in love with the sound of their own voice and each
character having something to say. There is sometimes so much social messaging
that the message is missed. And, rather than depending on the performers’ comic
timing, the characters are forced to laugh.


Overall, Money Back Guarantee is worth seeing for the range of
cast and characters, awami humour, political jabs, and, of course, the
magnitude of production. However, the video might have been cut by at least
half an hour by removing the significant social commentary.

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