Film review: Mahira Khan is stellar, but 'Bin Roye' is sob fest
Pakistan's pedigree of veteran entertainers are rallying in the trenches, pumping new lifeblood into the veins of an industry that has perhaps indulged more CPR attempts than some of the on-screen characters it has killed off behind a mask of shoddy filmmaking and budget constraints.
However, whatever the illness that may have plagued it's talent pool in the past, credit needs to be given to pioneers such as Momina Duraid for their tireless efforts in this next wave of resuscitation.
'Bin Roye' has a lot of things going for it: a sum of successful names that have breathed life into Pakistan's hugely popular television industry; along with a renewed sense of urgency by those within the entertainment arena who support this effort with zeal.
Yet, somewhere along the way 'Bin Roye' fails to ride this wave of positivity, bogged further down with a weak story that never really pulls in the viewers to sympathise with its string of characters or their unfolding melodrama.
And don't be fooled by the title, mind you.
Literally translating into 'Without Crying', the movie turns on the waterworks with gleeful abandon, perhaps with the same enthusiasm as it kills off several pivotal characters and promptly forgets them as they host yet another celebration in this complex household.
Fans of novelist Farhat Ishtiaq's works, whose 'Bin Roye Aansoo' sets the premise of this film, may perhaps decipher several sub-plots that are mentioned in passing in the big-screen adaptation.
However, those who have never read the book will discover several holes in the story, with sidebars in the runtime that are never really flushed out to become the sum of all its parts that tie up into a crisp script.
While too much happens too soon in the first half to keep up, post intermission, ‘Bin Roye’ promptly curls up with boxes of tissues to wipe off the excessive glycerin in every frame as tears flow freely.
That the climax proves a tad anti-climactic is a whole different story.
The plot is a fairly simple love triangle, reminiscent of perhaps Bollywood’s ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’ in the first half.
Mahira Khan plays the fun-loving Saba, whose world comes crashing down when the man she has loved since childhood, her best friend and cousin Irtiza (Humayun Saeed), finds solace in the arms of her sister Saman (Armeena Rana Khan).
As Saba fights to survive her avalanche of emotions, a tragedy befalls on the family, forcing her to face her demons and perhaps, find true love again.
Along the way, new characters are introduced, who then disappear in the next few frames or are dead the next minute.
A potential suitor may have also shown up for Saba in the song ‘Balle Balle’, but we don’t know for sure; the ‘item boy’ in question is confined to delivering pining looks at the lead star, only to never return again.
A lot of these gaffes can easily be overlooked if compared to the powerhouse performance delivered by Mahira. The actor, who has proved her craft on the small screen, excels in every frame and still manages to look exceptionally lovely along the way even if it is through tears post intermission.
From her childlike innocence to her rapid descent into a guilt-ridden hell, Mahira expertly weaves each emotional transition with surprising ease. This actor can certainly go places following next year’s Bollywood debut opposite Shah Rukh Khan.
Meanwhile, lead star Humayun may be the ‘Shah Rukh’ of Pakistan, but his wooden performance proves anything but.
While professing his love to Saman, the passion in his voice or the emotion on his face could very well place him in a dentist’s chair asking for a root canal and it would perfectly fit right in.
Other characters such as Armeena are left to smile and pout for the cameras on cue, while the powerhouse Javed Sheikh is wasted playing the father of the two girls; Zeba Bakhtiar, as their mother, appears to fumble along the way.
The film is ultimately Saba’s story and director Momina manages to beautifully capture the character’s human side, making it resonate with anyone who has loved and lost.
Her penchant for close-up shots and flawless premises do make ‘Bin Roye’ aesthetically appealing, while the stellar music weaves in beautifully without jarring.
How you wish though someone had weaved a much firmer hand – ideally armed with scissors – at the editing table and ‘Bin Roye’ could have raised the bar, backed with some fine visuals and an ace performance by its lead star.
But trial and error is the name of the game, and those who like the story, can perhaps see a lot of the confusing elements explained when the story appears on small screen in the form of a television show.
However, if you are one who happens to be rooting for the resurrection of Pakistan’s film industry, then do give ‘Bin Roye’ a chance this Eid; who knows, you may even enjoy it with your families.
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