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February 20, 2022

The new SeePrime short film Hill Station falls rather flat.

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Hill Station☆☆

Staring: Esha Shakeel and Raza Ali Abid

Written by: Arsal Amir

Directed by: Akif Farooqui

While it has been refreshing to see local filmmakers wander off the beaten path and explore different topics in digital short films, more often than not, their output hasn’t quite lived up to the potential of their ideas. That’s the case with Hill Station, a well-meaning short that can’t scale past its many technical weaknesses.

The clip – the latest release by digital channel SeePrime – tells the tale of a guy named Hashim (Raza Ali Abid) who finds himself stranded along a scenic roadside in the mountains after his car breaks down. There, he meets a fellow traveller, Isha (Esha Shakeel), who then calls a man to come and fix the broken-down vehicle. As the two await the repairs, they strike up a conversation and realize they have opposite views: Hashim is an architect who wants to construct a hotel in the hills while Isha is an environmentalist who is vehemently opposed to the idea.

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Their dialogue is meant to present the two sides of the debate, but the weak script never goes beyond stating the obvious and struggles to make the encounter compelling. There’s no subtlety, no creativity, no spark. Instead, we find ourselves watching a short that comes off as unpolished and amateur. From the pedestrian writing to the subpar sound engineering/mixing and the grating background score, Hill Station is burdened with several flaws that dampen its storytelling attempts. The performances aren’t memorable either, with the acting being just passable at best.

But while the filmmakers’ efforts might not be entirely successful here, it is still refreshing that our creatives are no longer looking through the myopic lens of rishtay and relationships and are trying to examine a diverse range of subjects. The team behind Hill Station certainly deserves points for the commendable theme behind their film. It’s a pity though that they don’t do something more inventive with the concept. Faltering shorts like this keep highlighting just how important the script is to a movie and how the lack of good writing can keep a project from making its intended impact.

The views are beautiful and the idea behind the clip is well-intentioned – props especially for not giving us yet another dose of relationship drama for the 9352714th time! – but, all in all, Hill Station comes off as simplistic and dull, and in dire need of a better screenwriter and a more technically accomplished crew.

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