Sunday, 18 September 2011

Love mein ghum: Lollywood in a shiny, new package

Love Mein Ghum which is translated in English as ‘lost in love’ had my friends and I lost in peels of laughter. PHOTO: PUBLICITY
A swirl of flashy colours and deafening screeching music, combined with gory action stunts, have defined Pakistan’s Lollywood cinema in the recent past. Weapon-wielding thugs and skimpily clad stout heroines have provided the dwindling cinema goers with a staple diet of grotesque violence and crude erotica. The phrase ‘revival of Pakistani cinema’ which springs up time and time again with a new release, seems to have been overused to the hilt
Charged with the spirit of keeping the sinking ship of Lollywood afloat, the golden girl of Pakistani cinema, Miss Reema Khan, stepped into the director’s shoes coming up with a love story titled ‘Love Mein Ghum’.
The green eyed beauty left no stone unturned in publicising her movie on television channels, facilitated by a promotional video which bore striking similarities to the star studded Deewangi Deewangi trackfrom Shahrukh Khan’s Om Shanti Om.
I am not one to be bashful when it comes to seeking inspiration, and believe that efforts of Pakistani filmmakers should be encouraged. With a generous doze of enthusiasm therefore and a heap of popcorn and soda I braced myself to watch Love Mein Ghum with a group of friends.
The film as per my expectations was an all out Lollywood commercial pot-boiler doused in drama. From a melancholy lover at the brink of death to a scheming seductive step mother, the film had it all.
The emotional breakdown sequences  of Reema and Moammar Ranacombined with Reema’s hair flying in the wind in slow motion, akin to a model from a shampoo commercial, were some of the quintessential ingredients of the sizzling Lollywood curry.
There is no denying that Ms Khan has invested a lot of effort and a generous capital in the production of this movie. No wonder the film boasts glossy cinematography, showcasing foreign locales such as Malaysia and Azerbaijan coupled with melodic musical tracks sung by the crème de la crème of Bollywood’s singers.
It is important to state that harbouring an expectation of viewing a thought- provoking film of substance would be unreasonable, as Love Mein Ghum in all fairness was publicized as a complete commercial flick.
Nonetheless, undergoing the cinematic experience consisting of a logical plot and convincing performances is definitely a privilege which all cinema goers who have paid for a ticket ought to enjoy.
However Love Mein Ghum which is translated in English as ‘lost in love’ had my friends and I lost in peels of laughter. Ironically the most serious and intense sequences in the film had us in splits.
Granted that Reema Khan has aged gracefully and exudes breath taking looks, but portraying a college student who falls in love with a boy in his early 20s is really pushing it a bit too far. Her love interest if you may please is supposed to be a Caucasian named Wilson who is played by a young Pakistani model with blonde streaks and a thickdesi accent. With him meandering into different accents, one was left wondering whether he suffered from a split personality disorder or if he was under the influence of an intoxicant!
Reema matched up to Wilson’s hotchpotch of English and Urdu, with the two reciting lines of Shakespeare to each other in love-struck, dreamy eyed poses. And that’s not all; Shakespeare was contrasted with some good ol’ rapping ala Momi. Yes, you got it right – Moammer Rana has tried to pull a bit off a Snoop Dog by trying his hand at rapping.
Every masala flick has to have a sultry sex-symbol for a character who adds to a film’s glamour. The tables turned in this film as it was not a woman who was resorting to suggestive tactics to entice men but a man by the name of Ali Saleem aka Beghum Nawazish Ali. He doesn’t play a cross dresser this time but an actual woman who has Lollywood’s Jaan Rambow and a very corny Johnny Lever wrapped around his/her thumb. To each his own I’d say, whatever rock’s one’s boat, but I have to say that watching Ali in a sarong getting massaged by Rambow on the big screen is quite scarring.
Who can forget the 90s Bollywood style of song picturisation?
A dozen odd dancers moving in sync with flying dupattas suspended in mid-air on a hill-top would perhaps prompt a tad bit of nostalgia. This film too follows the age old formula whilst accentuating the song and dance routines through jumpy steps. What really makes the film a rather healthy offering are the acrobatic dance moves by Lollywood’s legendary dancer Pappu Samrat. Hats off to him for making Reema and the two heroes run and pounce along mountains and plains with the athleticism of passionate sportsmen. The poor heroes probably pulled a muscle or two by lifting a not so petite Reema a number of times which was again shown in slow motion to maximise its aesthetic pleasure.
In a nutshell, the film is old Lollywood wine in a brand new sleek bottle that has the unique ability to unintentionally entertain in its serious moments while simultaneously irritate to the point of making one’s teeth and fists clench.
Hail Reema Khan!
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

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