LAHORE: Pakistan’s film industry has lifted off since the past decade but it still hasn’t reached a point where it can be considered great and is yet to be hit by the new wave of cinema. Although we have seen some movies making it big at the box-office, it can easily be said that there is still a lot of room for improvement.
Arth- The Destination, that released worldwide on 21st December 2017, was definitely a good effort to up the revival game of the industry.
The movie is based on Mahesh Bhatt’s original of the same name that came out in 1982, and is directed by Shaan Shahid. Although it has taken inspiration from the original, Arth- The Destination is improvised, has been made for the modern time and revolves around the cosmopolitan life.
The story revolves around four lives; Uzma and Umar- a married couple and a writer and director, respectively (played by Uzma Hassan and Mohib Mirza), Ali – a forgotten musician (played by Shaan) and Umaimah – a superstar (played by Humaima Malick). It is all about how Uzma’s life is turned upside down when her husband falls in love with Umaimah and leaves her. Following the heartbreak, she finds solace in her friend, the musician Ali, who helps her get through the tough time and also becomes the reason for all the characters crossing paths with each other, in some way.
The central theme that Arth focuses on is human relationships. From unfaithful marriages and heartbreaks to friendship and love, the movie seems to have it all. It also shows the audience how each character finds their destination in the shape of love or regret, following their successes or failures.
With a gripping storyline and an ensemble cast, it is expected that if nothing at all, the acting will be top notch. Thus, it does not come as a surprise that each actor tries to do justice to their respective character through their acting skills. Not only that, the intensity of the emotions is visible throughout.
Those who have watched the movie would agree that Uzma Hassan was the lady of the hour. Except for a few overdone scenes (as being Pakistanis we tend to go a little overboard), she definitely managed to make her mark with a powerful performance.
In addition to that, Shaan did equally well on his part as an actor bringing out the emotion needed for a struggling artist and friend. Whereas, Humaima and Mohib shared the screen space but with less screen time. Their respective characters added the glamour to the movie along with some strong acting. However, due to less screen time, their characters were not given space to develop, unlike Shaan and Uzma’s characters that seemed to have more substance and proper development. Moreover, there were scenes where the actors gave such a strong and excellent dialogue delivery that the audience was willing to overlook the flaws in the film.
Coming to the musical score, in my opinion, it is the most significant part of any movie and Shaan, in this case totally nailed it. Sahir Ali Bagga, known for his memorable tunes was definitely the best choice for the music. Songs like ‘Mushid Jee’ and ‘Sanwar De Khudaya’ topped the list with amazing shots throughout keeping the audience emotionally hooked.
Although the cinematography in most parts was very nicely done for a Pakistani movie, the film uses too many close-up shots, especially in the first half, leaving no room for the audience to understand where the particular action is happening. Not only that, another thing that caught my eye was the choppy editing; the director kept jumping from one frame to another in some scenes, leaving the audience confused for a while as to what was happening.
It felt as if the first cut of the movie was released. Had this been executed properly, the respective scenes would have been magical; rather the movie would have had a more powerful impact on the audience. Another thing that put me off was the unnecessary use of the English language in an Urdu language movie followed by the coarse language; which to my surprise did not catch the attention of the censor board, unlike the other superfluous issues that catch their attention immediately.
My final verdict is that Arth isn’t a flawed movie; one wouldn’t call it a complete fail, but wouldn’t categorize as a perfect movie either. Despite its shortcomings, the acting, musical score and cinematography cover it up.
As it is often heard that our industry is undergoing a revival, one can cut some slack and give a huge round of applause to the team that added another feather to the cap of an industry, which is growing gradually. If you want to go watch a good movie with a good musical score that keeps you hooked throughout, Arth will do the trick for you.