Posts Tagged ‘Review’

When producer/ director, Mohamed Aboobakuru aka Maaenboo asked me to write Neydhen Vakivaakah, I repeatedly requested him that he should take it as a challenge to make it better than all the movies he has done so far. After watching the premiere of the film last night, I am really impressed and happy to see that he has risen to the occasion by delivering a pleasantly well-balanced film that the audience thoroughly enjoyed from start to finish. This is his best work to this date by many miles.

Official Poster

Few minutes into the film, I knew the audience was hooked. They had a whale of a time reacting to the jokes, the unexpected twists and turns that were unconventional for a romantic drama including some red herrings thrown here and there. Above all the performances by the entire cast kept the audience fully engaged.  My wife, my strictest critique from whose feedback I always consider if a film I have written has hit the bullseye, rated it as one of the most delightful screenplays I have written so far. Phew!

As usual, the heavyweight actors, Yoosuf Shafeeu, Fathimath Azeesha, Ahmed Saeed and Arifa Ibrahim were a real treat to watch. The role played by Yoosuf Shafeeu reminded me of his National Award winning role from Vehey Vaarey Therein but with more contrast, control and maturity.

Fathimath Azeesha played the sympathetic girl next door who has shut herself from any romantic involvement because of a tragic past. She kept her acting simple and believable as her character comes of out the shell, goes back in, comes out again only to find that she has much bigger sufferings to confront.

There’s nothing more to be said of Ahmed Saeed. In this film, he once again turned in a memorable performance. This actor can play any given role he is offered with his eyes closed. He has proven how versatile he is by playing completely different characters in three of his films that were released this year.

But it was fashion designer/ choreographer, Jaadhulla Ismail in his maiden role in a film that surprised everyone. He was very likable and showed great depth in his acting. He was funny in the first half with his comic timing spot on. He then showed unbelievable restraint in the second half by relying entirely on his acting as he had barely any dialogues to deliver. He understood his character well and was aware of his character arc. I hope he continues to appear in many more films.

Shoutout also goes to Ahmed Azmeel and Naashidha. Their roles were small but they were important to the narrative.

I congratulate the entire team for a job well done. Keep up the good work in entertaining the audience.

Cheers!

When my wife, my life long critique who would stop at nothing to cut me up even at the slightest of opportunities cried, I mean not a drop or two but a lot, after watching Hahdhu, then it’s a reason to rejoice. And it also means she’s impressed big time. Her feedback is all that mattered to me.

Though I have boasted about this movie for so long, this post is once again what I felt after watching it from the silver screen. The film was premiered for the media this evening at Schwack Cinema.

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I am so overwhelmed with excitement and happiness that I don’t know from where to begin. The cast, the crew, I mean every department of this film were outstanding. Period. But I am going to start with newcomer Ahmed Shiban. All eyes were set on him ever since he was cast in the leading role. For me, he has come out with flying colors. He was in his character throughout the film. The way he handled his character’s introvert traits and his slow transition from the start to finish was commendable. Surprisingly, he was way too comfortable with the two leading ladies. And more surprising was his emotions were completely different with each lady. As for those six packs of his, he made the ladies swoon and guys green.

In my previous post, I have mentioned that this film is a tale of two leading ladies. The narrative intercuts between the lives of Yusra and Zamha played to perfection by filmdom’s most sought after actresses, Mariyam Azxza and Aminath Rishfa respectively. Though neither of them shares screen time in the film, they were neck and neck in their performances.

In Hahdhu, Azxza has given a flawless performance in a role that any actor would die for to sink their teeth into. And as Yusra, she bites deep into her character to show a variety of shades from a free spirited girl without boundaries to a girl who has to in the end draw a boundary around her. She was beyond brilliance showcasing a range of emotions as she handled her character with aplomb.

As for Rishfa, she is in a stellar form showing her acting abilities that we haven’t seen from her before. She brilliantly portrays the assured life of Yusra while showing the fragilities and volatilities of life when her own comes crumbling down. She allows the audience to go down with her and succumb to her sadness. She made us easily empathize with her character. She also showed great restraint in her acting. This is one stunning performance.

Dhon Ayya keeps raising the bar with each role he plays. In Hahdhu, he shows his vulnerability and his transformation to accept life as a changed person is so believable and very relatable. Another great performance by this promising actor. I wish great things happening for him.

After a long hiatus from films, veteran actor Fauziyya Hassan returns to the screen as an over cautious mother whose life spirals down to the point of no return when her pride is beaten to a pulp. She made my heart shatter into pieces in one of the pivotal scenes where she shows her acting prowess in a long play shot. Just magic.

This film is packed with stunning performances from the entire cast especially by the veteran actors along with Fauziyya. Add to that list, Mohamed Rasheed. He gives a top-notch performance as an understanding father who is also very philosophical. His performance is very controlled yet in his eyes and in his delivery allowed me to sink in with his emotions. This King rules.

Another veteran who shines and almost steals the shows is Arifa Ibrahim. She takes her acting to another level but supports everyone around her to excel with her as well. She does wonders with her one-liners. Truly brilliant.

Mariyam Shakeela is often an overlooked actor, but in Hahdhu, she gives a mesmerizing performance. Though she has few scenes, she allows the audience to understand her character’s inner and outer self especially in a crucial scene where her transformation is delivered without any dialog. Well done.

Honourable mention goes to Mariyam Haleem, Aminath Rasheeda and Gulistan for turning in equally great performances as strong independent women we rarely get to see in local films. This is by far their best performances in their careers. Also, I add Najah to the list as boat captain Mohamedbe from whose sympathetic eyes we get to witness the toughest of times that the principal characters go through.

The cute girl who plays the happy daughter of Rishfa takes on an emotionally charged role showing talent beyond her age. Her eyes are so expressive.

Lastly, in the acting department, TV anchor Ahmed Fairooz surprised everyone by bringing his small screen charm and charisma to the big screen with an unbelievable performance. He shows he has acting chops to compete with all the heavy weights of the filmdom. And his comic timing is spot on.

This film wouldn’t be complete without the thought-provoking songs written exclusively for the film’s narrative by Theyra and all the songs performed together with his wife Ashfa. Three cheers to them and the formidable and creative team behind composing and arranging all the songs including additional vocals to one of my favorite songs, Thaubaa. Ashfa’s haunting vocals to my favorite scene still lingers. Well done everyone.

On the technical side, kudos to the breath-taking cinematography by Kandi Vishan. Through his lens, he captivates the audience with the beauty of the islands in never-before seen footages in a local film thus far. This will easily register as his best and his finest of work.

Ju Ma has done an admirable job with makeup changing the actors so smoothly from glamorous to gloomy or vice-versa. He kept his tones and shades properly to the situation his characters were in with every scene. Moreover, his choreography to Giritee Loabin, all I can say is bravo!

When he is given a canvas with creative freedom, whiz kid, Ahmed Sajid has shown his magic in post-production. His editing crisp, well paced and color grading looks refreshing. And when his visual effects go unnoticed by the audience, then the job he has done is deemed perfect.

I wasn’t sure when musician Mistee was commissioned to compose the score for this film. But now I don’t see anyone else doing it. His music has given a new life to this film by enhancing the emotions of the actors and tying them directly to the heart strings of the audience. His build up to the climax is praiseworthy. He has done wonders and magic in the most pivotal scene of the film. Even as I type this, the goosebumps haven’t subsided. Brilliant work.

The team Hahdhu was made stronger by Umar Ashfaq and Hoodh Ahmed. They were the hard working production assistants. I congratulate them for a job well done.

I thank with all my heart to Niuma Mohamed and Abdul Fatthaah for producing this film which I wrote some 8 years ago for the latter. If not for them, my screenplay would still be lying on the shelf, collecting more dust and cobwebs. Thank you! Thank you!

Finally, cometh the hour, cometh the man. Abdul Fatthaah is the assured captain who sailed and steered this ship to new heights with such a multi-talented cast and a creative crew. In his long journey to bring my screenplay to screen, he inspired everyone in his team to outshine in their respective departments. I salute him for giving up on his old style of film making and after an absence of two years without directing a film, he returned by revamping himself by applying a very current style of film making for his 12th film of his career. The impact was immediately felt from the opening scene to the final credits. This feels like a film directed by a new director. This I consider his masterpiece.

This film will go down in the history of Dhivehi cinema as the first film to exhibit with 5.1 surround sound. Now that’s what I call setting benchmarks and developing the local film industry. Kudos to Fatthaah for giving the green signal. Once again it was Mistee who was at the helm of this audacious task along with Sajid at designing and mixing the sound. Their hard work has paid dividends and given this emotional roller coaster ride a thrilling experience. But sadly, the 5.1 surround will only be experienced from the cinemas owned by Schwack.

I hope that the audience will talk about this film even long after watching this film. For me, this film has clearly set a new benchmark. It’s well paced, well acted and technically brilliant and even innovative. I congratulate team Hahdhu and I do look forward to another film from them.

Cheers!