Shanee (Review)


aka Shaani aka Shani
Written by Agha Nazir Kawish
Directed by Saeed Rizvi

Pakistan goes science fiction for this take on 1984’s Starman movie, Shanee! Of course, it has to get Pakistani cinemaed up first, which means it is full of lots and lots of violence! Shani, Shaani, Shanee, however you want to spell it, is billed as Pakistan’s first science fiction film (and actually is, as far as I can tell) The entire film was a result of Saeed Rizvi, who directed, photographed, and did many of the visual effects. Rizvi started doing effects when he was directing commercials, This was the first of three effects heavy films Saeed Rizvi completed, followed by Beheaded Man/Sarkata Insaan and Mysterious Island/Talismi Jazeera (a Russian coproduction).

Shanee is the first big budget science fiction effects film for Pakistan, and was designed to rival the bit 1980s US effects films like ET, Close Encounters, and Star Wars. It doesn’t quite live up to the hype. There are practical models, glowy aliens, video toaster effects, cartoon lasers and beams and glowy eyes, animated bats, animated crocodiles, a guy with a retractable knife arm, and fakey skeletons. Plus real owls and cobras, and lots and lots of explosions. Even the credits are designed to look like the ones from Superman
Whenever anything interesting is happening, the Shanee theme will blare, the refrain becoming annoying very quickly and unintentionally ridiculous soon after. Now the damn song is stuck in my head and has a good chance of being my last words when slipping from the mortal coil. Damn you, Shanee… There is a limited amount of songs in Shani, but not the no songs that the director claims in interviews. Shanee won a couple of Nigar awards (the Pakistani equivalent to the Oscars) including Best Film, Best Director, and Best Supporting Actor for Asif Khan.
Shanee is an Urdu language film Thus we’re forced to dive in without subtitles. But this is TarsTarkas.NET, and we don’t need no stinking subtitles! Luckily, the film is easy to follow without subtitles, and the few points that were confusing were easily cleared up by the review at the sadly now defunct, accessed through Also because it is Urdu, there isn’t a straight translation of the title, so for opening credits sake we’re calling the film Shanee, but the main character Shani, to avoid confusion by only being a little confusing. Got it? Good! Now let’s get Shaneed!

Shani (Sherry Malik) – Shani was horribly murdered by Shamsher Khan during a failed attempt to bring down the criminal. But now he’s back, because an alien went into Heena’s house, saw a picture of Shani, and then transformed into him. No one seems to notice Shani acts like a weirdo except briefly when he declares he doesn’t want to get married. And this includes Shane using his strange alien powers on people. Shani even saves Korans from falling on the ground, because that’s what super powered aliens do! Sherry Malik was a model before he made this film, and then he moved on to obscurity.
Heena (Babra Sharif) – Local villager Heena mourns the death of her fiance and lives at her parents house, at least until her beloved Shani is back, in strange alien form. But who cares, even if you have an alien baby with the imposter, it’s still love and all. Babra Sharif played the villainess Dolly in International Gorillay, at least until she’s seduced by the power of our awesome heroes and goes good.
Shamsher Khan (Asif Khan) – A bad guy who controls the local area with a bunch of armed goons. Involved in thuggery, theft, murder, and human trafficking. Also he beats his girlfriend. Really hates Shani, and shocked that the guy he killed is not back and impossible to defeat. At one point his arm gets ripped off, and he has it replaced with a retractable knife arm, which makes him awesome. Asif Khan played the villain in Cat-Beast/Da Khwar Lasme Spogmay, and was sporting a mustache.

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