Smuggler (1980)

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Smuggler (1980)
Cast: Nimmi, Badar Munir, Mansoor, Ishrat Chaudhary, Nayyar Sultana, Mustafa Qureshi
Director: Javaid Sajjad
Nutshell:  A Smuggler is torn to choose between a life of crime or one of a dutiful son and brother.

 

The film starts off on a very grim and serious tone with a written monologue and a booming voice over on screen that at firsts showers all participants of the film for the earnestness and dedication of their work, the cinema owners and audiences for taking time to appreciate a film of such magnitude and social relevence in modern society and finally about how Smugglers have long been taken with a pinch of salt but now it was the worlds dire need to wake up to their debauched, ruthless mercenary ways before it was too late and how buy purchasing a ticket to watch this important cinema, they would be helping to alleviate many of the key menaces that afflict society.  Clearly, Smuggler is not a film to be taken lightly at all and if you did have any slivers of doubt after the soul stirring monologue spoken in God’s slightly echoey voice, the movies booklet should erase any such notions.

From the Film’s official Promotional Booklet:

“Smuggler is the story of a gang, where members are not called by their names, but are called by numbers.
They do the simful (sic) business of smuggling only for the sake of money
SMUGGLER Signifies those bad characters on their shamless (sic) chariots, who crush all the sentiments of patriotism.
SMUGGLER Own beautiful cars, big furnished bengalows (sic) and wealth – Bu they don’t have peace……..Peace which you don’t find in tintuiabulation (sic) of golden coins, because peace lives in the small cottage of bitter truth’
GREEDY and lusty man of machine age never tries to find the…….way which leads truth.
The innocent wishes of an innocent sister, and the mother by love of a greater mother, all flows like a rubbish in the cruel flow of crime….the great mother does not care for her only son because she is patriotic.
The sister of a smuggler……a patriot?
Nature never thinks before liking the relation between good and bad, when every body believes that there is a beautiful life after death, then why they hate death?
Life is real attractive and lovable and how frightful is death which is chasing a Smuggler.
Smuggler is a game of live and death.  The horrible clash of life and death…..the terrible clash between No. 1 and No. 2.
No. 1 Who loves every luxry (sic) of life and…….
No. 2 a decided death for No.1
The Game of life and death is thrilling and interesting….we are going to announce who meets to death and who deserves life.
We know how anxious you are to know the decision….don’t be excited ….take it easy….you will find the answers of all your confliction – SMUGGLER

UNIT BUM PRODUCTION, Shahnoor Studio Lahore”

Once that producers Public Service Announcement is out of the way, on screen action begins with that venerable Action Man (of predominantly Pashto movies) Badar Munir staggering around some desert dunes in the blazing sun to the strains of Pink Floyd punctuated every now and then by some stirring Beethoven’s 5th.  A voice warbles “Samagalar” repeatedly as Munir, clearly in distress, stumbles around, hallucinating and even being assailed by irate vulture’s keen to hasten his impending demise.  Then a staccato piano strikes up and one of the greatest ever songs from Lollywood or anywhere else in the world starts off and it is worth repeating the lyrics here for they are arguably as masterful as anything written – indeed “Run, Run, Run for Life” is that masterpiece that any author or songwriter would die a dozen times to claim.  This soulful slice of inspiration was penned by a renowned and now immortalised scholar by the name of Professor Arif and here it is in its complete pure form:

Run, Run, Run for Life
Life is Sweet
We May Meet, We May Not Meet
Run Run Run For life

Wealth for all is glamorous sensation,
It is splender, most wondrous emanation
Run Run Run for Life

Past, Present Future are evanescent
Death and Death all around me is Present
Run Run Run for Life

O Let Me Quench the fire of thirst inextinguishable
My end is near and before
are looming forth faces
Sweet and memorable
Run Run Run for Life

Life is Sweet
We May Meet, We May Not Meet

Run Run Run For Life

Viciously attacked by hungry vultures, Badar Munir is about to succumb to his desperate state when he is saved by a young damsel who has completed a frolicsome song with her lazy, shirking girlfriends.  Instead of harvesting the crop these women while away their time singing infantile songs hoping one day that a studly stranger will be passing by and dying of thirst so they can save him and get out their hellish village lives.  Just as the pungent whiff of Number. 2 and romance wafts into the air, sadly the girl’s father tips off the police seeking a fugitive ‘criminal”.  Poor Number 2 (Badar) is trapped and dragged away by the police to be incarcerated but along the way they are intercepted by what looks like Red version of the Batmobile and then some bat gas like venom is pumped into the air causing the Police to pass out! Number Two and his rescuers, including the bodacious Number Three make their escape in the scarlet Batmobile in some considerable style.

 

Turns out that Badar Munir is part of a ruthless crime syndicate run by the Mastermind, The King Pin and also the most incredibly stylish gentlemen by the name of Number One (Mustafa Qureshi at his dapper best with shimmering blonde weave and matching beard and eyebrows).  Every member of Number One’s team is known by a number and Badar Munir is Number two while the shapely Ishrat Chaudhary is Number three and so on.  It’s a tightly managed and brilliantly disciplined group honed to perfection by their cold and calculating and somewhat psychotic leader.  Number two is likewise devoted to his job and his criminal activities but when he returns home for a seasonal break, things start going horribly wrong for him and the love of his devoted mother and gushing sister start to cause complications that he had not anticipated.  Slowly his duty as a son and brother start to intrude upon his life and create a dilemma for Number Two and a dangerous rift begins to form between Number One and Number Two which threatens to destroy their kingdom of crime, lives and ruin their families completely.

Number Two must decide whether to commit to a lifetime of crime and work towards Number One’s ultimate “Big Plan” for ultimate world domination or then reform himself and rejoin the community of good citizens and lead a sober life supporting his mother and invalid sister who surprisingly has an avid love life and is hoping soon to get married but little do they know that her handsome suitor is none other than Number Four (undercover) and Number Four is actually the son of the dastardly King Pin, Number One.

Smuggler has a lot of potential at the outset but sadly that is far from realized during the course of events.  Instead of picking up pace as a James Bond inspired crime thriller the film meanders into dull tale of a man’s moral dilemma between his exciting life as a criminal or his role as a responsible member of a family and society.  Most of the scenes involving Number One and Number Two are entertaining, indeed most of the crime aspect of the film are vintage Bond Style Lollywood with Mustafa Qureshi disposing of various adversaries in highly Bond inspired manners but when the focus of the film shifts to Number Two’s family life; the film becomes a little tedious and are one say odious as well (considering Number Two is known in local parlance to mean “to take a shit” with Number One meaning to take a leak”).

There are some stirring action scenes and only saucy number by Number Three on the way to a predictable if rather bizarre climax with Number One and Number Two professing undying love in what amounts to their final embrace…. their last words to one another, very poignantly…” Number One” to which Number One duly responds “Number Two” before they both meet their makers and pay for their sinful lives as Smugglers.  The Moral of the story?  If you are going to be a Smuggler, avoid deserts and being caught by the cops.

Despite its flaws Smuggler does have a profound moment or two of cinematic brilliance and the sequence featuring the Run Run Run for Life song is worth taking a lot of pain to experience.  Utterly “Sweet and Memorable”.