Parde Mein Rehne Do – A FUCHSIA Review
Every film that approaches the cinematic runway has at least one if not more selling points to tempt viewers to watch the first day, first show. Parde Mein Rehne Do had 3. What, you might ask were they? Scroll down to find out!
3 Selling Points Of The Film!
1. For one, it was the storyline. Taking on male impotency is a novel concept indeed. Novel in as film makers haven’t been there yet (and should have).
2. The pairing of Hania Aamir and Ali Rehman Khan on the big screen is perhaps casting tuned in to the heartbeat of Pakistani fans – Hania is going as strong as ever presently, and pairing her with Ali Rehman, a male lead who has shown yet again that he seeks meaningful roles and carries tremendous potential in both departments – talent and good looks – gave us hope.
3. If the film is blessed enough to hit it off in the music department, pre-launch, then we don’t need a better advert to fill the seats. And Peela Rung Suit Karda was that song. It had all if not totally bought over audiences with instant hummability!
If anything, the makers made sure the film run time did not ‘stretch’ into the ‘drag time’ as reviewers often complain. The story was compact, the wardrobe was impeccable – Hania Aamir looked positively ravishing with threads that had many young girls wishing for her summer style diary.
The performances matched the wardrobe – both Ali and Hania as Shani & Nazo respectively, including an ensemble cast with Javed Sheikh, a spirited and not enough seen Umer Aalam and new comer Hasan Raza brought in a refreshing feel to the screenplay.
The humour started off on a ‘hot’ note. Oh yes, the film raised expectations from the get go as Javed Sheikh’s character aka Rana is treated to boiling hot water while seated on the ‘throne’, and we settled in for some quirky fun romance, a few quick laughs and lots of drama.
Were we disappointed? Did the tempo carry through?
Step By Step Analysis
Here’s what went down in a 190 minute debacle of a project.
A one day match should not, cannot be played like a 20/20 tournament. Because this only makes the viewers feel they walked out of a long play visavis a proper cinematic experience on the big screen.
But remember, they didn’t come for the 20/20. They came for the one day match
Parde Mein Rehne Do was a project with monumental promise, the match could have been played better… but there were some winning moments.
The winning toss was the topic itself. Like I mentioned earlier, male infertility is a topic that will resonate instantly with a large part of the population – two factors – curiosity, and relatability will drive audiences to watch. It is also a topic that can be treated with a sprinkling of humour (to drive home the point), albeit, with great sensitivity. It is a topic that has no competition yet, since it hasn’t been addressed enough if at all, in our society.
In essence, the playing field was wide open to hit a boundary – several boundaries and one or two sixes as well! However, the issue was treated with a degree of insensitivity, especially where the doctor drops the news on Shani that he can never become a father. It is critical for a film maker to know when to use humour and when to refrain. While the comic timing was appreciated when Shani went in for the test and when he attempts to find a way out of his condition by seeking various desi totkas, the plan was dampened because:
1. The quest for totkas became a tad ridiculous and stretched into an eternal (and senseless) string of possibilities with no seeming end to the torture.
2. The moment of truth – when he was told he cannot ever become a father should have been treated with more sensitivity. The use of humour, that too, in a relatively crude manner could have been avoided. Also, if the project aimed to create awareness, some serious medical advice could have enlightened many on a topic that is still considered very taboo in society.
Not only did it make light of a very serious situation, but also threw shades at the medical community and how they treat a matter of such intimate and personal nature.
The Saving Grace
The saving grace was Ali Rehman’s performance soon after when he burns his test results and hides the outcome from his wife. Both instances tugged at the heart strings and made us feel the total helplessness and sense of shame he felt as a man, perhaps a feeling many men have felt in his position. Ali has played it subtle throughout the movie, his performance mirrored many young men who ‘think’ they are very liberated mentally, but still need to step out of the cage society has placed them in – his character was not at all cliched (thankfully), yet could have been defined better.
It has to be said that Shani’s attempt to hatch hare-brained schemes to treat his impotency made us realize that many women, throughout their lives, have sought to do the same, despite being educated and literate in the ways of the world. Often we judge such people, demanding why they put themselves in such a position, knowing fully well that medical science has pronounced the ultimate death sentence on the hopes of them ever biologically parenting an offspring. However, Shani’s misery needed closer scrutiny for us to understand both sides of the coin, and for us to feel deeply for his dilemma.
1. That blaming a couple, man or woman for not bearing children and resorting to a second marriage is both unjust and highly prejudiced. It has destroyed many lives amidst us. Here, Ali’s father, Rana played it well to mimic society.
2. Secondly, the sense of shame a man or woman undergoes when faced with this revelation is unfair to say the least. It is a medical condition like any other, and to ascribe shame to it, to label them, make them suffer in silence and seek to destroy their relationship must stop. Despite the odds against it, Parde Mein Rehne Do attempted to step out of its comfort zone to address the topic in all its ‘shame unworthiness’, and for that, it deserves due credit!
How it executed the plot is the problem – an ongoing struggle to date for Pakistani film makers!
But Did It Do The Job?
So here’s the thing. For us to fully feel for the characters, for Shani, in his misery and disbelief and then attempting to mend fences with Hania’s character (his wife) aka Nazo, and for Nazo, who gave up everything for her relationship including covering up for his shame and sense of guilt, we needed to see two full-bodied characters, and a more alive, breathing relationship – both were lacking.
Both Ali and Hania’s character was treated with a surface glance and the story teller never scraped beyond the surface. What made their relationship or their bond so strong? Yes, they had spent 10 years together, but we failed to experience a sense of romance, emotion or manifestation of that relationship on screen. This is in no way criticism of their individual performances, which were as good as they could get, given a limited script and direction that developed half-baked characters.
A note on the romance – we need new and creative ways to add this magic ingredient into our films, a pillow fight does not quite do the job anymore, in fact, it never did. Try something different, fun, refreshing and out of the box – we know you can!
What made Shani tick? What made Nazo into a force to be reckoned with? What made us feel for our hero and heroine? Nothing? It was a story of a man who had to come face to face with an unexpected reality, a woman who loved him enough to sacrifice her reputation as a ‘complete’ woman? It should have been a very moving narrative – but we failed to shed more than a few tears for them.
Did we? Did you? I doubt it.
They were characters in a play. They could have been anyone, x,y,z who faced trying circumstances and eventually came out on top. But they were not our Romeo and Juliet or even a hint of Zaroon and Kashaf, or Ashar and Khirad because, though we knew they suffered, we didn’t feel their suffering because the makers failed to draw that connection with the audience. We even failed to forgive them because we didn’t feel angry enough at Shani in the first place.
And here I come to my main point. You can have the best actors onscreen, the best hit single, the best plot, but if the script and direction do not come together, the movie might not convince audiences to recommend it to their best buddies. The movie might not make them walk out and say: “What a film! I think this one’s a winner!”
What the movie did do was, make us feel for the project. What a lost opportunity. It failed to tell a convincing story – a project that had all the potential to hit the roof, and nearly succeeded.
But This Is What Still Stood Out For Us
However, Parde Mein Rehne Do scored major points on one scale.
Just like that lone batsman who goes ahead to give it his best, regardless of the wins, he’s there to play his game and entertain the crowds – and that transpired in the film’s closing scenes. The makers brought us home.
There is no doubt that the topic was treated with a great deal of sincerity as Bilquis Edhi’s Home popped up onscreen, greeted by loud whistles and cheers from the spectators – the example set was absolutely stellar and one demanded from the script, in fact, if anything, this was your teary eyed moment rolled into a single winning point for the film! Also, not sure why the song we all waited for was screened right at the end?
So Do We Recommend It?
Parde Mein Rehne Do is a movie you can watch for the light hearted humour, a leading pair that pulls off good looks and performances, a few laughs and hummable songs. Yes, it’s a watch as long as we do not attempt to read too much into it. It is a project that could have been stellar but met us halfway there. Hopefully, it started conversations, if that is what it meant to do.
As audiences, we have a right to demand the best, we have the talent and the potential, all we need is to get back to the drawing board and honestly examine where we are going wrong. My message to film makers – take the cue, it’s never over till it’s over.
Go watch with a bag of popcorn and a drink, grab the cheese and nachos too as you might feel like swaying to the Peela Rung beat towards the end!
Parde Mein Rehne Do is penned by Mohsin Ali and produced and directed by Wajahat Rauf under the banner of Showcase Productions. Besides Hania Amir and Ali Rehman as leads, the film’s ensemble cast also includes Javed Sheikh, Sadia Faisal, Munazzah Arif, Muhammad Hassan Raza, Noor ul Hassan, Shafqat Khan, Sonia Nazir, Umer Aalam & Saife Hassan.