As a nation we love romantic sob-fests. We revel in the whole shebang: brooding hero, moony-eyed heroine, song, dance, death and an inevitable happy ending.
And we adore bright colors, fabulous fashion and pretty faces. Most girls don’t come prettier than Mahira Khan and because of all this, Hum Films’ Bin Roye is probably going to be a box office success.
Hum Network is renowned for its hit dramas and following that lead, does Bin Roye occasionally slip towards drama mode? Yes, as expected. With drama director extraordinaire Momina Duraid at the helm, the movie certainly is replete with dramatic pauses. Even the storyline — adapted from the novel by Farhat Ishtiaq who also wrote the much-acclaimed ‘Humsafar’ — is reminiscent of the romantic angst that one identifies with Momina’s dramas.
At most times, though, directors Momina Duraid and Shahzad Kashmiri have struck an adequate pace for the movie, refraining from letting scenes drag and keeping the plot interesting. Bin Roye comes candy-wrapped in shiny Karan Johar-esque foil, complete with a doting dadi, happy parents, strong family values and enough moolah for our protagonists to have grandiose weddings, make spur-of-the-moment trips to the US and be clad head-to-toe in designer-wear. Yes, the family does occasionally get balked by the odd death or two but they are able to get over them miraculously quickly...
Mahira Khan’s Saba is madly in love with her cousin Irtiza (Humayun Saeed). But he fails to register her hints and on a trip to the US, promptly proceeds to fall in love with another cousin, Saman (Armeena Rana Khan)
|It's a love triangle, no surprise!|
You couldn’t possibly know that this well-coiffured bunch lives in crime-ridden, loadshedding-struck Karachi. And heck, who cares about power shortages when there are dilemmas of the heart at hand?
Mahira Khan’s Saba is madly in love with her cousin Irtiza, played by Humayun Saeed. She flirts with him coquettishly, makes him buy her bangles and ice-cream and dances with him on Chaand Raat. The befuddled Irtiza, however, fails to register these very obvious hints, considers her his very ‘good friend’ and on a trip to the US, promptly proceeds to fall in love with another cousin, Saman, played by Armeena Rana Khan.
In a twist of fate, it is revealed that Saman is actually Saba’s sister and a thunderstruck Saba watches helplessly as Irtiza falls in love with her sister and marries her.
The story veers into complicated twists and turns and there are plenty of tears and heartbreak leading up to ‘happily ever after’. The movie is shot well, ricocheting from the cheerful colors of weddings and Eid to darker shades and shadows in the second half. Sets are well-conceived, the cinematography is smooth and the plot is pure Mills & Boon.
|Bin Roye is Mahira's movie, and she carries it well.|
Mahira Khan possibly delivers her best performance to date as Saba tries to master jealousy, rage, guilt and pain. In one particularly riveting scene, she breaks her bangles when Irtiza ties the knot. Bin Roye is undoubtedly Mahira’s movie. She’s featured in almost every scene and she adroitly carries the plot through on her svelte shoulders.
Javed Sheikh and Zeba Bakhtiar are insipid but adequate as the smiling archetypal parents who, somehow, are too lost to realize what’s going on in their daughter’s life. Armeena’s soft-spoken, inane Saman is barely noticeable. Humayun Saeed is believable but a trifle boring. He certainly looks older than his two young heroines — as the plot stresses, he’s ‘above the age of 30’. Perhaps a younger pairing would have looked better on-screen but Humayun acts well. He’s had years of experience playing TV dramas’ favorite lover-boy and it shows.
The plot could have been wittier and the dialogues more interesting. But these are but minor cribs against a movie that has been designed to entertain, not provoke
|Armeena could've played a more assertive Saman.|
Interspersed intelligently throughout the movie is the very melodious soundtrack. Abida Parveen and Zeb Bangash’s ‘Maula maula’ is hauntingly sad; Rahat Fateh Ali Khan is at his soulful best with the romantic ‘Tere bina jeena’ and the shaadi song ‘Balle balle’, guest-directed by Asim Raza and featuring Adeel Hussain in a cameo, is foot-tapping fun.
The plot could have been wittier — there is hardly any comic relief — and the dialogues could have been more interesting. The story could also have been meatier had the makers made the effort to develop shades to every character. Instead, the spotlight is on the vivacious Saba; tousle-haired, bee-stung lipped, Mahira looks naturally beautiful. Her wardrobe is one of the movie’s high points as she brings the short shirt, lacy short sleeves and baggy shalwar back in vogue and turns on the glamour in Feeha Jamshed, Sania Maskatiya or Elan.
In contrast, Armeena invariably wears clothes that are far too blingy. She is overly made-up and looks like she is going to a wedding, all the time. Humayun Saeed looks good when in shalwar kameez and plain silly at other times. In one scene he stands in sweltering Karachi, talking to his dadi as she buys plants for the house, dressed in a coat. More logical styling could have made the characters look better.
|Is Bin Roye a desi version of the tried and tested 'chick flick'?|
But these are but minor cribs against a movie that has been designed to entertain, not provoke. Momina Duraid is a veteran at filming intense love stories and she brings this talent to play with her cinematic debut. Sure, the crying and heartbreak can get tedious and the perpetually lovelorn characters easily slot Bin Roye as a desi version of a chick flick. But it’s a good one and interesting enough for even men to sit through it.
It’s also a sign of just how well our cinema is faring on its quest for ‘revival’.
Maliha Rehman is a fashion and lifestyle journalist with a penchant for writing, all the time! Log on to Twitter for more updates @maliharehman