I had run out of words; I needed a moment to gather my thoughts, but I couldn’t. The impact was so heavy that for a while I wanted to disappear.
But I couldn’t — in my head, the words danced, seeking answers, but all I could give them was denial. The unravelling had touched upon some deeply camouflaged complexes; suddenly I was reminded that I’ve been here before, hit by an overwhelming sense of déjà vu, and I knew the feeling of dismay was to continue until I let it all out.
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The absurdity of Lahore Say Aagay is directly proportional to the pointlessness of Karachi Se Lahore, and quite in sync with the politics of Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaaf, where cities change but nothing else does.
There’s no inquilab for Wajahat Rauf as well. Indian films broke records and got banned, the world has moved on and evolved, but he has a ‘locked down’ formula which he truly believes in. He will even draw numbers because the audience want to witness what he promises to deliver, even if it’s only for the lack of a better alternate.
But the film itself is nothing more than an extended chase sequence, garnished by funny one-liners which are mostly irritating and eye candy that is often unattractive. It has worked before and it will work again, but it’s not going to work in the long run.
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Moti (Yasir Hussain) is chased down at a barber shop by goons hell bent upon killing him. He dodges them through the narrow streets of Lahore, only to run into Tara’s (Saba Qamar) concert. Wearing shredded jeans, Tara amuses an eager crowd through her singing and guitar playing but receives flak from her boyfriend at the end of the concert.
Irritated by that, she stomps out of the venue, driving around until she runs into Moti, who is crossing the road. A series of arguments follow, at the end of which Moti ends up getting a ride with Tara with the goons chasing him. With cold-blooded murderers hot on his tail, Moti continues to deliver one-liners almost till the ending scene; which takes about five minutes too long to finish.
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The lack of cinematic appeal has been, and continues to be, Wajahat Rauf’s kryptonite. He may have gone all the way to Pakistan’s scenic Northern areas to shoot his latest film but unfortunately the topography does not transpire into the cinematography. The shots are neat and well-framed but aren’t grand enough to explore the natural beauty, a cardinal sin when treating any road movie. This adds to the monotony of the narrative while also failing to detail the location — which is more of a character and less of a backdrop in this genre.
But even decent visuals can’t save a film hanging on an overall weak skeleton. Like its prequel, Lahore Se Aagay lacks a genuine plot, a real sense of anticipation and even Yasir Hussain’s signature performance and dialogues don’t make up for the vacuum. Some of his lines are genuinely funny but most of the poignant ones rely heavily on showbiz industry-centric jokes, which may be relatable on premier night but might be lost on the viewers during a public show.
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Saba Qamar graces the screen with a lot of impact, but a few wardrobe malfunctions and an overall shallow character and poor script mean she has very little to play with. Everything else seems forced; apart from the Dagha Baaz number where she proves she is the only leading lady among the newer crop of actors that is both an able actor and an elegant dancer. Others are either not good actors (see: Sohai Ali Abro) or no longer new (see: Iman Ali).
Let’s just hope that Vasay Chaudhry’s prediction turns out to be wrong and there is no Islamabad Se Peechay in the making. If it is, then at least let Imran Khan take over Islamabad by then, so that senselessness can reign supreme.
Verdict: Watch it because there’s nothing else running in the cinemas. I wouldn’t have recommended it to you otherwise.
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