Anyone who has watched it must have tasted the mess of a movie that it is
To support Pakistani cinema, at this sensitive stage when it is struggling to get back on its feet, would be to lend it a hand of support but at the same time allow it to build on strengths. And the strength of a film depends on so many things: an engaging story, screenplay, performances, music and cinematography, perhaps in that very order. To think - albeit delusionally – that any film can succeed because of the way it has been styled, is a recipe for disaster. Anyone who has watched Dekh Magar Pyaar Say must have tasted the mess of a movie that it is.
Here’s a list of 5 things you should know before you decide to watch DMPS…
1. Style is its strongest suit
The USP (Unique Selling Point) of DMPS is its style and as far as the cinematography goes, it is impeccable. Lahore has been washed in a lost grandeur: the Mall Road, Quaid-e-Azam Library, the Old Tollington Market and even the GPO look polished and vintage. It’s hard to find fault with the lead pair either; Sikander Rizvi and Humaima Malick are both very pretty to look at. Unfortunately two hours of eye candy, whether geographical or anatomical, doesn’t save this film that is easy on the eyes but is otherwise very hard on our sense of cinema.
2. The film is an advertisement of the film
Posters of the film are part of the set throughout the film. The protagonist, Sikki (Sikander Rizvi) drives a rickshaw and the rickshaw is numbered #DMPS; the words "hashtag Dekh Magar Pyaar Say" are even incorporated in the script. There is too much self promotion of the film in the film itself, which is actually unheard of anywhere in the world. "Even Karan Johar wouldn’t do this," someone in the audience commented, knowing how much K.Jo loves to promote himself. Directors have been known to have cameos in their own films but never have films had cameos within themselves.
3. The film is an extended advertisement. Period
The director, Asad ul Haq, is an accomplished ad filmmaker but that shouldn’t have meant that his debut film look like an extended advertisement, which it does. Karachi Se Lahore was branded by HBL and Cornetto; I believe Shah has a lot of Alfalah Bank in it. DMPS has been shot in a florescent bottle-green tone, with frequent visitations by Sprite itself. Moreover, in one scene, when Sikki and Annie are wondering what to order for lunch, they sing out the entire McDonald’s jingle and promote the Spicy Chicken Burger as well as the McRoyale. But I wouldn’t blame the director for this, not entirely at least. Corporate sponsors should be wary of peddling products in creative avenues just because they’re financially supporting a venture. Movies need money to be made and that money will come from sponsors but the sponsors need to play a mature role and not interfere with the creative process of filmmaking.
4. The soundtrack is super groovy
The soundtrack of DMPS is actually very good, especially if you hear the full versions and not the short clips played in the film. Even the short clips are shot beautifully, our favourite being the ‘Mamma Mia’ inspired ‘Tauba Tauba’ sung by Sara Raza. It frames Lahore in a gorgeous light while the good looking couple looks just as groovy in their element. The techno take on ‘Kala Doriya’ is contemporary and ‘Kabhi Kabhi’ by Adnan Dhool and Alina Najam is catchy. Soch have done a superb job of putting this ensemble of songs together. Buy the OST when it’s available, even if you haven’t seen the film.
5. The script is…there is no script or story
There are no two ways to say it; the script is awful. Call out the clichés and there’s nothing beyond them. DMPS is an overload of senseless phrases that are uttered on repeat, ad nauseum, and one wonders how an experienced journalist like Saba Imtiaz, could come up with this. Her debut novel Karachi, You’re Killing Me was no work of literature but this script is beyond tasteless. There is no originality in the story either. It seems like a regurgitation of so many classic films thrown together.
PS. Smoking is cool?
Cinema is an artistic avenue but one that is increasingly cautious when promoting a health hazard such as smoking. The advisory usually pops up on screens as soon as a cigarette appears or is posted before the movie begins. We can appreciate the leading lady’s character and it’s a relief to see Humaima Malik (as Annie) playing a bold and independent women as opposed to being weepy and whining (as is customary for Pakistani heroines) BUT she lights up way too many times for it to be cool.