Movie Review: ‘Pinky Memsaab’
‘Everything looks glittering from afar but it’s crumbling as you get closer’ – Pinky
Set against the glittering Dubai skyline, Pinky Memsaab tells us the story behind the stars. We witness how the lives of the privileged rich are played out and intertwined with the lives of the poor who are merely trying to survive. Keeping Dubai as the backdrop to this movie, Shazia Ali Khan weaves a story where the city also takes centre stage to the melodrama around it, almost as if it were another character in the storyline – and a significant one at that. In a way, it represents the underlying doctrine, that what you see is not all real.
“I’m a classic example of someone who’s sitting at home just a year and a half ago.” Inspiring words from debutante director Shazia Ali Khan, whose movie ‘Pinky Memsaab’ is essentially a study of the strength of the human spirit. It’s about the everyday journey we go through in our lives, in this case abroad.
Firstly, the original story line. The movie is not pretentious and does not try to go the route of pure entertainment or slapstick comedy. It’s a movie about real life and real people, and the dialogue matches the realism.
“Life’s a bitch. You just have to stop being afraid of it.” – Kulsoom
Pinky’s life journey has been genuinely rough but she’s a tough cookie. She’s a vulnerable woman and strong too. We see her pitted against the harsh realities of life, having experienced a failed marriage, abandonment, having to earn for her family, to being mistreated under the guise of being taken care of in a new environment – All that glitters is not gold.
Secondly, the characters portrayed are convincing. The young boy Ahad, (Ahmed Ali Khan) who plays the son, deserves special mention. His dialogue delivery was natural and his acting on point. We see him in several scenes, and every time he performed, he managed to outshine both his parents onscreen.
Pinky (Hajra Yamin) was ‘escellent’ in her role, as the naïve, young country bumpkin making her way in the world. In the words of Santosh, (Sunny Hinduja) the driver who is sent by the Memsaab to pick her up from the airport: “You remind me of my innocent self when I first arrived here.” As the story develops, we see the characters flesh out and develop, forging real friendships despite the religious barriers, but only up to a point.
Last but not not least, it is commendable that Shazia Ali Khan gave us a script that does not rely on masala dialogue or item numbers to make it engaging. Bravo to her in taking the initiative of hiring new talent along with some veteran actors.
The strong script of the movie is what holds the story together. Kudos to Shazia Ali Khan for making this a relatable movie on so many levels. The characters all have shades of people we’ve met and know in our own lives – or perhaps ourselves too.
Success lies in the finer details – the wardrobe and sets aptly support the ‘bigger picture’. Kudos on paying attention to detail which rendered an authentic look to the film.
A point to be noted: The characters didn’t really need to smoke or associate smoking with a glamorous lifestyle – a bit dated concept that. One must ask, did the roles really require it?
Dazzling Dubai can be fickle! Keeping up with the Jones’s is part of the problem when Pinky is taken under her employer’s wings to groom her in language skills. Shades of ‘My Fair Lady’ raced through my mind. The grooming is less about a lesson in generosity than it has to do with the self. Pinky’s Memsaab’s insensitive words to her guests mirror this internal conflict: ‘No, she’s not my sister but my maid.’
‘My mother was right, I am cursed.’ – Pinky
Pinky’s misfortunes seem to follow her from her village to Dubai. Yet, she persists and battles to survive. The movie shows the different faces and lives of Dubai: up-market and unblemished Jumeirah juxtaposed against the seedy part of town with the dance bars and perhaps, an underworld. Dubai with its underlying layers and shades is very much a central character in our drama.
Pinky is All of Us yet … So Much More
‘I don’t want to become a maid again’ – Pinky
Pinky represents not only our struggle and desire for a better quality of life, but also the strength of the human spirit. Pinky forges friendships outside her comfort zone within a short span of time. She does not allow her lack of education and finesse to hold her back. She realizes that Dubai has changed her after sometime. Yet, through it all, she retains her sense of self and dignity. As the story unfolds, in the 2 hours of screen time, we manage to see Pinky’s transformation and that is what is truly heartening.
Verdict: I give this film a 4.5/5 for not being a masala movie, for its fleshed-out characters, attractive costumes and memorable music. Go Watch!
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Maha holds a Masters Degree in International Security from Georgetown University USA as well as a Teaching Certificate in Elementary Education from New Jersey. She is currently working in the field of education.
She dreams of opening a school of her own one day. Maha loves to write, read, travel, and do sports and yoga. She believes in becoming the best version of herself. She has travelled widely, and has engaged in voluntary and non-voluntary work on multiple occasions: Developments in Literacy in Washington D.C and SOS, Islamabad Pakistan, to name a few.
Maha loves watching a good Bollywood film occasionally and lives by the motto: Count each day as a blessing and practice more gratitude.