At first glance one is instantly swayed and enthralled by Reema’s slick promo for her film Love Mein Ghum. With Ali Zafar’s vocals and a glittering roll call of the film, television and fashion industry’s (arguably) finest, the film’s title track, “Love Mein Ghum”, reeks heavily of another title song, “Om Shanti Om” and the over arching camaraderie that it sought to project and promote within the Indian film fraternity onto the screens.
That particular song worked brilliantly for the film since it spoke of all ‘stars’ (a pun on constellations and film icons) gathering together and tied in with the film’s plot that surrounded a film star. Reema seems to lift the formula wholly to supplant it in a local context. It even has veterans like Nadeem Baig, Omar Sharif and Javed Sheikh make a dignified appearance akin to what Amitabh Bachan would possibly make. Interestingly Javed Sheikh makes a similar appearance in the Bollywood edition as well in “Om Shanti Om.”
While one cannot make an overall connection of this buffet of stars to the film as a whole, the song works as an excellent strategy of identifying the key players in the show biz industry today. He also breaks down barriers between what was always understood to be a philistine film industry and an elitist and esoteric fashion coterie — a connection that one hopes will finally stylise Pakistan’s guache film industry that desperately needs a new lease of life.
“We wanted to revamp mainstream cinema,” said Nomi Ansari, a designer known for his use of vibrant colour, who has been roped in to do the costumes. The title song shows Reema sporting a few of his signature and iconic pieces from his fashion week collections: The flouncy circus inspired dress for one, which unfortunately sits rather uncomfortably on the starlet (Mathira in fact manages to pull it off well save for that contrived sexy pout that she wears). “We wanted to do something very filmy so we chose costumes based on colour and what would look good on screen in terms of the choreography and dance sequences,” added Ansari, justifying his choice of the wardrobe for Reema and the other female star cast ensemble in the video.
Although it is laudable that the fashion industry is making a foray into film, the styling, despite having pros like Nabila and Sabs onboard leaves much to be desired. Reema is unable to carry off dresses with the charm and grace that she usually manages to carry off eastern ensembles.
But it’s not just Reema that falls off the mark. Saadia Imam, who typically stars in dramas and soaps as the middle-class girl next door, tries to turn on the sex appeal that doesn’t resonate with her usual on screen persona and she seems thoroughly out of place as a saucy siren gone wrong. Tariq Amin tries to put on an Andre Leon Tally-esque look replete with a crown that may suggest his repressed desire to be crowned the ultimate stylist but ends up looking rather amateurish and foolish. What works however is the endearing pairing of Rambo and Sahiba whose chemistry and styling is perfect for the happily ever after that all films preach.
On the whole, Reema managed to take a bold step that may encourage others in Lollywood to solicit the fashion industry’s support for future ventures and made a bold statement whereby we may not just yet write off commercial cinema in Pakistan. We can be as slick and glamorous as Bollywood and offer our own version of the Bollywood dream, in a refurbished Lollywood ‘ishtyle’. But to do that our choreography cannot look like a cheap version of Farah Khan’s moves and the titles of our movies have to stop looking like a Xerox version of Love Aj Kal. Reema’s taken a step in the right direction and opened the channel for communication between two industries, film and fashion.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 26th, 2011.