Bin Roye: To cry or not to cry

It's the first high-profile quintessentially Pakistani film in years, writes Khadija Mughal. Whether that's a good thing or not, is for the audience to decide

The Most Awaited Pakistani Movie of the Year

The movie Pakistanis had been waiting so long for, is here. By “so long” I don’t mean the few months that Bin Roye has been advertised for, but the many years that Pakistani cinema goers spent wanting to watch a well-made Pakistani movie that also felt Pakistani.

The Mahira Khan and Humayun Saeed starrer surely felt closer to home than many recent endeavours of Pakistani filmmakers. The sets and familial relationships shown in the movie were – mostly – those that common Pakistanis could very easily relate to, so was the style of celebrating Eid and weddings – quite like what Pakistanis with a heavy wallet would do. It’s also easy to see where the chunk of the movie’s budget went: the elaborate sets and clothing used in most songs was not something put together for little money.

Luckily for Hum Films and Momina Duraid, the investment did pay off. Most audiences admired Bin Roye’s soundtrack – which I, personally, did not think much of – and their picturization. The movie’s music pleased most of its listeners and viewers, which is partially why the film has successfully managed to make over Rs.7 crores in its opening week of international release – helping it make a place in the top ten highest grossing Pakistani films of all time.

So, what exactly was Bin Roye about?

The Plot: A Classic Farhat Ishtiaq Storyline

As most people know, Bin Roye was based on the novel Bin Roye Aansu by Farhat Ishtiaq, who also wrote the novels which the popular Pakistani dramas Humsafar and Mata-e-Jaan Hai Tu were based on. Most people who have read or watched these two novels or dramas, respectively, should already be quite wary of what Bin Roye would have in store for them: a melodramatic love story full of heartbreaks, complications and the tussle between idealism and realism. And they would not be “disappointed”.

The story revolves around Saba (played by Mahira Khan), who falls in love with her cousin, Irtiza (played by Humayun Saeed). The gullible young girl, however, has no idea that Irtiza does not reciprocate her feelings and treats her as a good friend, and nothing more. Despite that, Saba is not able to keep herself from falling in love with Irtiza; she drops him hints, too, but he does not notice them. Soon, Irtiza has to leave for America, leaving the love struck Saba behind thinking Irtiza would come back to her. Unfortunately for Saba, things would be far from what she planned – she was about to get the shock of her life, one that she couldn’t possibly prepare herself for.

Mahira Khan
Mahira Khan

It's a tearful story of love and loss

In America, Irtiza meets another girl, Sanam. Sanam is an unconventional yet pleasing girl whom Irtiza immediately falls for. This time, the feeling was mutual: Sanam, too, develops feelings for Irtiza and the two begin a romantic relationship. Tragedy soon strikes when Sanam’s parents – her foster parents, to be exact – die in a plane crash. This is where Irtiza decides it’s time to go to Pakistan along with his ladylove.

Back home, everybody in Saba’s household awaits Irtiza’s arrival. For Saba, the wait turns into rage when she finds out that Irtiza is about to marry another girl. And the rage turns into despair when he finds out that the woman Irtiza has decided to marry – Sanam – is her own sister, who was given away to her aunt and uncle when she was a baby.

What ensues is a tearful story of love and loss that most people would find very moving.

Why Watch It: Traditional Pakistani Setting, Return to the Classic Storyline and Mahira Khan

In the era of Pakistani cinema’s revival, Pakistani film industry has – for better or for worse – largely abandoned its traditional themes and cinematography. Contemporary hits like Waar, Khuda ke Liye and Na Maloom Afraad, do not have the element of romance and panache that was a characteristic of Pakistani movies even during the ‘90s slump. With Bin Roye, the traditional Pakistani setting and storyline has made a strong comeback, while retaining the quality of film production that modern Pakistani cinema has adopted. The effort of Hum Films and Momina Duraid is commendable in that regard.

Secondly, the film succeeds to a great degree on the acting front. The seasoned Humayun Saeed has reprised the role of the charismatic male lead that he has previously played in many drama serials, and the newcomer Armeena Rana Khan has also managed to play her role – which was not a very challenging one – fairly convincingly. However, it was Mahira Khan’s performance that caught most people’s eyes and was admired even by the movie’s critics. Fans of Humsafar are definitely going to love Bin Roye, largely because of Mahira Khan’s strong act.

A scene from the movie
A scene from the movie

Fans of Humsafar are definitely going to love Bin Roye

Why Not: Lack of Chemistry and Overrated Song Performances

While Bin Roye’s soundtrack is decent and its picturization is above-average, modern Pakistani cinema-goers who have grown up watching Bollywood flicks with their amazing dance numbers would most likely be disappointed by the choreography and settings of many of the film’s songs. Therefore, it’s best not to expect too much on this front.

Secondly, the aging Humayun Saeed, while a good actor, was perhaps not the best choice as Bin Roye’s male lead. Irtiza, a character that women seem to fall quite easily for, should have been played by someone who also looks the part: perhaps someone like Fawad Khan? A repeat of the celebrated Humsafar couple would definitely have attracted even more viewers than Bin Roye currently has managed to amass. More for the viewers and the producers.