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Aspiring actor and a musical prodigy Aashir Wajahat has been making ripples in the entertainment industry for quite some time. After a handful of small gigs, the young actor is now all set to make his film debut as a leading man in John.

While Aashir’s father, Wajahat Rauf is known for making commercial masala movies, Aashir has ventured into a cadre of independent films for his big screen debut. With Aashir as the titular character, John depicts the bruised and broken lives of one of the most unspoken and marginalized communities of our society: the janitor and sweepers who clean the city.

The young lad in John is calm and collected despite living a miserable life because his mentor, played brilliantly by Saleem Meraj, advises him to live his life with blinkers, much like a horse; to not look sideways and get startled with the opportunities that life doesn’t offer to him.



Saleem Meraj and Aashir Wajahat


John is not about exploring the community’s suffering through a third person’s perspective. There is no posh tourist narrating the story, but the it dives into the deeper end with our protagonist as a janitor facing life with its harsh and bitter truths. As Saleem Meraj delivers it in a dialogue: “Tu eik jamadaar hai jamadaar, aur jamadaar ghareeb hota hai… aur ghareeb ki koi ezzat nahi hoti [You are a janitor, janitors are poor and poor people are not worthy of respect]”.

There is an element of romance in John’s story, which brings in refreshing relief. Newcomer Romaisa Khan plays his romantic interest; they appear to have a sweet track that will make you believe in love. John, who is a somber fellow,  smiles and laughs when he is with her. We don’t see John ever speak a word in the 1 minute 44 second teaser, leaving it to the viewers imagination if he is mute or just reserved.

Read: Haute Review: ‘Parde Mein Rehne Do’ trailer



Romaisa Khan and Aashir Wajahat


The direction is not to be missed here. The frames are gripping and self-explanatory; the dialogues are hard-hitting with fewer words. Saleem and Aashir’s chemistry as a mentor and mentee is one to watch out for, as the two steal the thunder in every frame in which they are together.

There are many elements at play in John: the never-ending class division, the poor treatment of a religious minority who are expected to do the job, the nauseatingly dirty but hard work that doesn’t pay much, and the struggle of the younger generation to escape from it. This eventually leads to illegal and shady activities.




But is there any escape for John? Or is life itself an eternal trap for people like him?

Written and directed by Babar Ali, and produced by Faiza Khanum, John also stars Raza Samo. It is expected to release in cinemas soon.




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