REVIEW: Despite all odds, ‘Shah’ rises beyond expectations

Photography by: Pyar Ali Amir Ali

A riveting tale of a boxer who refuses to give up and fights the odds, however large they may be stacked against him.

How debutant Adnan Sarwar was able to weave out such a brilliant, action-packed movie is certainly mystifying. Shah isn’t simply a movie that focuses on one boxer’s triumph or his fight against another contender; Shah is about an athlete against the whole system.


The movie begins with a journalist keen on unearthing the story behind Shah’s forgotten legacy and digs deep. A sober yet beleaguered Shah tells his story to an interviewer, and we’re taken back in time. Shah, a young boy from Lyari, is devoid of proper food, clothing and shelter. One day, a man (whom he later on calls Chacha) saves him from a hostile police officer and becomes his guardian.


The young boy Shah labours for work (literally) but his love for boxing finds himself joining a local boxing training center in Lyari. Syed Hussain Shah soon grows up into a fine young man and boxes for a living, earning as little as Rs. 50. His boxing skills and never-give-up attitude earns him a coveted spot; a boxing match against an Indian boxer and that too, in India! The nepotist and corrupt Sports Federation does little to help out Shah though, not even buying him a pair of athletic shoes for his international bouts!

We next see Shah go toe-to-toe against the Indian champion, with the biased crowd booing Shah and egging their local champion on. After a dismal round and being pounded hard by the Indian boxer, Shah takes one look at the relentless crowd spewing hatred for him and decides that enough is enough. As soon as the bell rings and the round commences, Shah forces the Indian champion to kiss the canvas, courtesy killer blows dealt out in a flurry of seconds. As Shah is awarded the gold medal, the crowd goes silent and Pakistan’s national anthem is played in India. Myself along with every single attendee, stood up as proud Pakistanis whilst that scene lasted.


He finally gets some recognition at home and the Sports Federation official (corrupt to the core, by the way) offers him an opportunity to box at the Olympics.And yes, they finally decide to reward him, with a pair of shoes!

After Shah wins the bronze medal in Seoul, he returns back home to a hero’s welcome. Promised a plot of land and a handsome amount, Shah considers settling down and starting a boxing gym. However, things take a turn for the worse as the boxer is defrauded from his prizes and continues to go back to his poverty-stricken lifestyle. Going from riches to rags, Shah is evicted from his house and to make matters worse, his uncle dies. As a last resort, he does to London and fights for a handsome amount.

All in all, the movie has stellar action scenes and is of a unique nature. Shah delivers where most movies fail; Adnan Sarwar carries the whole movie without a song, a melodramatic plot or any high-profile cast. The movie also features a couple of hilarious scenes and sharp-witted comedy. Adnan Sarwar channels his emotional side and plays a boxer who refuses to throw in the towel, perfectly.

As fans poured out of the theaters, everyone spoke highly of the film. Humayun Saeed said the movie was “One of the best films of the year” and also voiced his view that Adnan was a great actor.




Adnan Siddiqui revealed that the movie had a powerful effect on him and that Adnan Sarwar had a bright future in the film industry.



Actor Danish Taimoor had also shown up for the movie and obliged fans when they asked him to click selfies with them.


All in all, Shah is a must watch which will guarantee you your money’s worth and is indeed a quality-oriented film.

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