This post is the unedited copy of the review published in MAG the Weekly, August 01, 2015
Bin Roye – When A Title Says It All (for the Male Audience)
By Mohammad Kamran Jawaid
If one can learn three worthwhile life-lessons from Bin Roye, they would be this: 1) Don’t text while driving 2) Look both ways before crossing the street, and 3) Never, ever, give in to your women’s pressure and buy the ticket of a movie that looks like a sappy television drama, out of, well, television.
The last bit may sound chauvinistic and crude, but I am just the messenger of a handful of stupefied males in a cinema auditorium chock full of the other sex. Six days after Eid, at nearly nine-thirty (the film was scheduled to start earlier), the cinema I am visiting is full of ladies – young, old, who damn-care-about-narrative inconsistencies. Pride, of course, have led most of the women-folk to respond “Kya, acchi nahin lagi?”; some truly sincere in their replies to whoever their male chaperone is (“Allah tumhain poochay ga”, a young man responded from my back row; another younger over-weight lad sitting to my right just looked sarcastically at his sister when the movie split at intermission; the gent sitting on my left was more genial in his grunts).
If television-dramas are your thing – and no harm in accepting they are – then Bin Roye (self-adapted by Farhat Ishtiaq from her novel) is a definite must-watch. However, even avid television oglers beware: the movie employs (or obliviously lets slip) more narrative jagged edges then lead-actress Mahira Khan’s delicate physique.
Actors pop in-and-out of the story (re: Junaid Khan of Call and Adeel Hussain, who god knows was doing what in the movie). Characters, stereotypical at best, strut around in rooms or talk at dining tables (Javed Sheikh and Zeba Bakhtiyar in particular are relegated to each other’s company – around tables and chairs – in all of their five scenes), and events flit through time as if one walked carelessly through time-portals, or if one skipped a few vital scenes during a commercial break on television. This narrative brunt is enough to evoke a “what the?!” expression, especially when it happens time and again.
Superficially, Bin Roye looks glittery and immaculately white – the credit goes to Farhan Alam’s vivid, bokeh-ish cinematography, and Humayun Saeed’s sincere good-guy persona. The clean out-of-focus backgrounds mask the choppy editing of a blatantly over-long shoot (or a badly misaligned set of scenes and scene-bridges calling itself a screenplay) that convey the gist of what happens to the people on-screen.
On the other hand, what transpires isn’t all that much to begin with:
Saba (Mahira) is head-strong wild child (as if the movie shows that side of her) who is crazy-stupid in love with her cousin Irtaza (Humayun Saeed), an all-around good Samaritan with a heart of gold who gives thousand rupee ‘Eidi’ to rose-peddling children on street (he is, of course, uber-rich). Irtaza, however sees Saba as forever-pal material (“Tum sirf meri acchi dost ho…kisi aur ki nahin”, he tells her that very Eid day).
After a very innocently put-in song and dance number (Teray Bin Jeena; lyrics by Sabir Zafar; music by Sahir Ali Bagga; vocals by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Saleema Jawwad), Irtaza suddenly decides to go to the US of A for a two year degree (just what he’s studying or where he works is deemed irrelevant). Once there, he promptly gets love-struck by Sanam (Armeena Khan), who as bewildered fates dictate, is Saba’s sister, given away to Mr. Sheikh’s childless brother.
Sanam, a quiet beauty, quietly longs for Irtaza, who returns to Pakistan two years later to a faintly mature Saba (who now knows how to make Irtaza’s favorite coffee – a shocker!), and then shuttles back to the US when Sanam’s family dies in an accident.
Sanam, who has known all along that she is Saba’s sister, moves back to Pakistan, where Irtaza finally confesses his love for her. They promptly tie the knot giving Saba full disclosure to let loose her demeaned, disgraced heartbreak in an uncut long take (Mahira tries her best, but falls short). However, hell hath no fury – nor curse as effective – like a women’s broken heart, which leads Bin Roye through its dragged-out second act that misses every emotional cue in the book.
Mahira Khan, placed dead-center in the movie, handles the screen well enough but lacks the depth in performance that Humayun Saeed – and his star charisma – brings to an otherwise mundane overlong, uninteresting drama right out of prime time television.
Released by HUM Films and Eveready, ‘Bin Roye’, playing worldwide, is directed by Momina Duraid and Shehzad Kashmiri, with songs directed by Sarmad Khoosat, Asim Raza and Haissam Hussain.