Humayun Saeed and Mahira fall flat in Bin Roye's music vids. What went wrong?

Humayun Saeed and Mahira fall flat in Bin Roye's music vids. What went wrong?

The film's music is suffering from an identity crisis: is Ballay Ballay a mehndi song, an item number or a commercial?
Updated 11 Sep, 2015

While upcoming film Bin Roye's trailer left us wanting more, the teasers for songs from the feature film are a testament to the expression 'be careful what you wish for'.

Bin Roye is a tragic story about love, hate, sorrow and how our worst colours come out when we don't get the things we want. We couldn't deduce much about the plot from the trailer or the music videos except for the fact that Humayun Saeed's character's name is Irtaza.

Dubbed a music-driven movie, it has some big names behind its soundtrack, such as Abida Parveen and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, to name a few.

Eager fans have been given a sneak preview of two songs from the movie, Ballay Ballay and Tere Bin Jeena. Maybe it's because the movie, which will also be turned into a television show for HUM, has been in the pipeline for so long that everyone's expectations have sky-rocketed.

Read: Mahira Khan's Bin Roye trailer intrigues, leaves us wanting more

I can't speak for everyone else but I was disappointed. So what exactly do Bin Roye's music videos get wrong?

Identity crisis: Is Ballay Ballay an item number, a wedding dance song or a commercial?

The video for Ballay Ballay features your typical song and dance performed at a mehndi. One would assume a girl in a lehnga choli dancing on a stage = item number, right? Wrong! Not when it's the beloved Mahira.

Sohai Ali Abro performs her latest single from Wrong Number, Selfiyan in a similar set-up. Compared to Mahira in Ballay Ballay she shows off a bit more of her navel, coupled with dimmer lighting which has led us to call her an item girl, which makes me wonder: What makes an item number an item number? Just the lighting? Or the amount of skin you show?

Sohai is a better dancer than Mahira, that's for sure.
Sohai is a better dancer than Mahira, that's for sure.

Well, you'd assume it's the latter but it seems like that's not the case. Take Zhalay Sarhadi's Jawani from Jalaibee — She showed even less skin than Mahira but because the movie's theme was grittier, the song had slightly more racy lyrics and the atmosphere was grimy, that was categorized as an item number.

Okay, maybe Mehwish Hayat deserves the title (R), as does Ayesha Omar (L) but what about Zhalay?
Okay, maybe Mehwish Hayat deserves the title (R), as does Ayesha Omar (L) but what about Zhalay?

Just because Bin Roye comes off like a high-definition glitzy Dil Toh Pagal Hai, Mahira is excused from that label.

Maybe it's because the song's too wholesome to be an item number anyway. The main aim of an item number is to entertain and this failed to do just that. The beat isn't catchy, the lyrics are boring and the choreography is all over the place; We see better performances at mehndis these days so celebrities need to step up their game.

I, for one, am curious to see if Hamza Ali Abbasi has anything to say about it. He is the king of deciphering what an item number is, after all! I guess we'll know in due time.

Read: Item numbers are a borrowed trend from India: Hamza Ali Abbasi

Somehow, I don't see this being the IT song of the summer wedding season.

However, I can totally imagine Mahira and Adeel breaking out teacups at the end, in typical Tapal style. Commercial it is!

In fact, the Tapal ad (L) seems to have more zest.
In fact, the Tapal ad (L) seems to have more zest.

Is our favourite leading lady to blame?

Clad in a stunning Feeha Jamshed ensemble (probably the only redeeming quality of the entire song!), Mahira Khan looks chirpy and happy... as usual.

Mahira has established herself as the girl next door and it looks like she has no qualms about sticking to that image. While the trailer didn't promise us anything much different, I was still hoping for more; more oomph, more spunk from her, just more.

Perhaps that's why the little exchange in the beginning with Adeel Hussain falls flat; can we really digest her flirting? I'm afraid Khan has pigeon-holed herself into a quintessential goody two shoes and she isn't trying hard enough to expand her horizons.

Or is it the production?

With such bright, harsh lighting and a picture perfect backdrop, I think it's safe to say that the movie is most likely not rooted in reality at all — it's too colourful, too pristine, and most importantly, we fail to see how it reflects the story's pathos.

Farhat Ishtiaq's novel of the same name, which Bin Roye is based on, is heart-wrenching and intense. What organic value does all this naach gana bring to the plot? Does it propel the story forward in any way whatsoever?

This is particularly a shame because that's the one thing our cinema has going for it — the fact that our movies and television shows are relatable and raw, not unrealistic like everyone at an event bursts into the same dance routine knowing exactly what to do.

It's also no secret that the film went through its fair share of obstacles: Bin Roye is co-directed by Momina Duraid and Shehzad Kashmiri, the latter having stepped in after the film's original director bowed out. Perhaps, this hodgepodge of direction is what led the otherwise talented stars astray.

Read: Directorial woes didn't deter Bin Roye, says Mahira Khan

Another thing that's really irking me is: Why is the charming Adeel Hussain wearing a bile coloured kurta and a vest made out of Farah Talib Aziz lawn?

On-screen chemistry doesn't make it to the finish line

Let's be real; Humayun and Mahira are no SRK and Kajol but you'd expect them to at least be Shahid and Kareena but no, apparently that's having really high expectations too!

Tere Bin Jeena is meant to be a romantic number but where's the spark? You can tell that they're trying hard individually, but it's not coming together for some reason — Saeed didn't look like such a deer in the headlights in his scenes with Armeena Rana Khan. In fact, when you see the two interacting in the trailer, it's quite adorable but that same sentiment is not ignited by him and Mahira,

Armeena Khan makes her debut in Pakistani cinema.
Armeena Khan makes her debut in Pakistani cinema.

Humsafar was the mammoth success it was mostly because the audience loved the on-screen connection between Mahira and her co-star Fawad Khan. She has said in the past that the reason their chemistry came off as genuine was because she was quite comfortable around him.

Even though Sadqay Tumharay dropped the ball, her chemistry with Adnan Malik was still admired -- the two are known to be close friends off screen. Maybe the comfort level, or lack thereof, with her Bin Roye co-stars hindered her performance.

Mahira and Fawad (L) stole hearts worldwide as Asher and Khirad in Humsafar whereas Adnan Malik and Mahira worked together with ease (R)
Mahira and Fawad (L) stole hearts worldwide as Asher and Khirad in Humsafar whereas Adnan Malik and Mahira worked together with ease (R)

The duo fails to achieve an undeniable intimacy on screen and it's apparent. I mean, what's with this awkward hand touching scene? In the scene in question, Humayun Saeed's character raises his hand in a movement that looks pretty aggressive, as if he's about to hit Mahira — we cringe, but then seconds later it's turned into a romantic moment!

I wasn't a fan of the lyrics or the music composition either — it sounds haphazard. Somehow, they almost managed to make Rahat Fateh Ali Khan sound average and out of place. Now, that's an accomplishment!

I can overlook bad music production but how much elbow room must we give them when it's meant to be a "music-driven venture"? That being said, I remember being excited to watch the movie when I first saw the trailer because I was impressed at how well Humayun was presented as his character, Irtaza. There were glimpses of promise then, so who knows, the movie could go either way.

This seems to be the year of commercial cinema anyway — I think Pakistanis have seen enough of espionage themed movies.

Bin Roye is slated for an Eid-ul-Fitr release. I'm still contemplating whether I want to spend my hard-earned Eidi on a movie ticket.