Oh go away!

Daniyal Zahid wraps up on the Eid releases

Oh go away!
This week completes our roundup of the Eid releases that are still being screened in many multiplexes across the country. These were, of course, Superstar, Heer Maan Ja and Parey Hut Love.

Last week we presented the case for Heer Maan Ja perhaps being the pick of the trio, not realizing that this would inadvertently result in some variation of a spoiler for Parey Hut Love, which now has to compete with Superstar to avoid getting the unwanted accolade of being the - shall we say? - least best Eid release. Although truth be told, in this little annual royal rumble of Lollywood, this particular award is arguably harder to decide.

Loosely based on Four Weddings and a Funeral, a rom-com, emotional, fast-paced romance, fun, quick heartbreak, regret, dreamy climax – these are all the things that Parey Hut Love either wanted to be or wanted you to focus on.

You, meanwhile, won’t be able to help but focus on other things. What was the cameraperson high on during certain segments? What purpose did some scenes serve, not just for the film, but for the self-respect of many who consumed some variation of energy to bring them to fruition? What genre does this film, or perhaps what piece of art does this experience, qualify as? And, if you were one of the daredevils in the truest sense of the word, why on Earth did we sit through each of three Eid releases?

Indeed, PHL makes the strongest case for being the worst Eid release. It can only provide fun to those who have not seen a film – at least throughout the 2010’s –, do not own a television or an online streaming subscription or owe money to the filmmakers.

If two-hour excursions into nothingness, refusal to exercise any of your nerve cells, and letting a big screen wander at will, are your thing, Parey Hut Love is for you.

Just a word of warning though: the film will appear as though it has a story, chemistry between humans and the joy that weddings bring, but that is only a shroud to serve its actual agenda.

Customary as it is, we have to give a brief outline of the storyline, which revolves around Shehryar (Sheheryar Munawar), who is a struggling actor. Apparently he also likes to go to a lot of weddings as well, wherein he meets his love interest.

Saniya (Maya Ali) is a strong, educated and independent girl who has come to Pakistan after living in Turkey for several years. At the end of the wedding, the two main characters decide to explore the nightlife of Karachi, fall in love, and vow to stay in touch – in that order.

But Shehryar, who is afraid of commitment and runs away from the idea of his own wedding, gradually reduces contact and Saniya’s unanswered calls and messages just keep on piling.

Our hero eventually realized his love for Saniya. But, as expected, it is too late and for better or for worse, she has moved on and is now engaged.

So, can he win her back? Will it will be a happy ending? For Shehryar that is, we can promise you it will absolutely not be a happy anything for you.

Asim Raza, the director called the movie a “family entertainer” and he stuck to his word by arranging four weddings in less than two hours.

What is also worth lauding for PHL is that it manages to do everything that we’ve underscored above despite the presence of some noteworthy acting talent – like Nadeem Baig and even Ahmed Ali Butt for instance.

Zara Noor Abbas can act as well, and there’s space for Mahira Khan, who plays more than just a cameo. Hina Dilpazeer is absolutely rocking as she usually is, but unfortunately even the highlights that she provides can’t prevent the inevitable sinking.

That’s largely because, as far as the acting is concerned, Sheheryar Munawar and Maya Ali were significantly below par. They should be grateful that there was so much else that had gone pear-shaped that their lack of acting prowess would be the least of the audience’s concerns.

The soundtrack works, but that’s the extent of what’s good about PHL. Everything else is haywire, and hasn’t been given much thought, let alone any expertise.

Unfortunately that has been the trend in Lollywood in recent times. Despite the mass-scale collective cheerleading for the “revival” of Pakistani cinema that never really arrived, this is what the cream of our industry continues to serve us on an excruciatingly regular basis.