The film opens with the announcement, “Inspired by Mahesh Bhatt”. It is actually the Pakistani version of Mahesh Bhatt’s 1982 classic by the same name, in which the legendary Shabana Azmi was in the lead role. Mahesh Bhatt had directed and written the screenplay for this semi-autobiographical film, Shaan Shahid has done the same for the Pakistani version of it.
The film is shot in the locales of both Lahore and London, and is almost bilingual as the actors switch between Urdu and English with ease, and is accompanied with a good music score by Sahir Ali Bagga to which Rahat Fateh has contributed two superb numbers. Uzma Hassan is a natural as the earnest and unsuspecting wife whose husband is cheating on her. Humaima Malick as the seductive but schizophrenic actor is riveting as a home-breaker, while Mohib Mirza as the struggling but spineless film director fits into his role with aplomb. Those who have seen Humaima Malick in Bol, will be surprised by the versatility of her acting in this role as the proverbial magnetic and destructive femme fatale.
Shaan Shahid is in the lead role as the recently divorced singer whose wife has taken him to the cleaners, and who returns to Pakistan from UK after a hiatus of twelve years, hoping to revive his career in music. He has portrayed the role of a musician trying to pick up the pieces of his life, with a great deal of sensitivity. He conveys the gentleness of a man in mid-life trying to cope with the ruthlessly competitive showbiz world of Pakistan. His acting skills are on full display in a role that is a far cry from his familiar macho portrayals in films like Yalghaar, Operation 021 and Waar.
The weakness of the film lies in the direction: too much exaggeration in some scenes. The film opens with the divorce scene, but the portrayal of his wife is almost farcical. In another instance of the same problem, when he announces his love for Uzma, her reaction is unrealistically prolonged in its negative intensity. Like most Pakistani and Indian films, it could have been edited to make it easily half an hour shorter, and still not taken away from its entertainment value.
It is a film with an interesting storyline and good acting, but the screenplay and directing leave room for improvement.
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