(NOTE : I saw the film Lamha back in February when it was shown at the Filums festival that took place in LUMS. This review was originally posted back then.)
When you are finally getting a chance to see an award-winning, critically acclaimed and a much talked about film, you do tend to have certain expectations from it. I got my chance to lay eyes on the Gohar Rasheed, Aamina Sheikh and Mohib Mirza starrer Seedlings in the recently held LUMS International Film Festival (FiLUMS) 2013. And my expectations from Seedlings, to be honest, were somewhat left unmet. I am not saying that the film was bad, the film does deliver and that too in a commendable way, it’s only that it was a bit different from what I had expected it to be.
I personally believe that any genre of film or even television for that matter should have a certain surprise or shock element to it. I do not mean that a family drama should be projected as Skyfall, but there should be something towards the climax of the movie that is a bit unforeseen. Seedlings just lacked that moment. I loved the movie and also came to the realization that every film needs not to have that “startling moment”, but that’s what I always look in a film and felt a little less served in this case. The closest example I can think of to back my point here is George Clooney’s Academy award-winning recently released, The Descendants. Just like Seedlings, this movie too had a family drama theme to it and started building from a tragedy in its initial stage. But unlike Seedlings, this George Clooney movie is never felt straight when watching, in fact it keeps on building towards a good climax and then finally a good end.
Seedlings played on emotions and that truly was its strength. It may have two of the most commercially successful stars of the television industry, but by no means was Seedlings your average masala film. It was a simple film with a big heart.
At this point in a review, I usually mention the plot of the movie briefly, however I will not do the same with Seedlings. I am aware that many people already know the basic premise of the film, but it will be largely unfair with the future viewers if I mention even a tiny teeny detail. I will only say that the film is about a “Lamha” (moment i.e. the Urdu title of the film) and how only a moment can completely change your life.
Breaking the review a little more here, let me come to some particular aspects of Seedlings.
Seeing Aamina Sheikh on the big screen (projector screen in my case) was a revelation. Aamina Sheikh is an actor par excellence and her performance in the film proves it yet again. Seeing her act in the film made it clear why she won the Best Lead Actress award at the New York City International Film Festival. There is this one particular scene where she breaks down and says, “Kab theek hoon gi main” (When will I get better), a glimpse of which can also be seen in the trailer. This particular scene gives you goose bumps, or at least did manage to do that to me. Although Aamina is playing the role of a mother but there are so many variations in the character and she plays them all brilliantly. She does the grieving portions perfectly, then there is the part where she is vulnerable and trying to get back on her feet, she justifies the portions where she lashes out at people (won’t tell whom), and on the whole it would not be wrong to say that Seedlings was one of the best performances by Aamina Sheikh.
Mohib Mirza also did a brilliant job in the role he had to play. He plays a father trying to deal with the “lamha” himself, and also helping his wife cope up with this drastic change in their lives. He was remarkably reserved in the scenes which required him to be and also did a wonderful job overall.
However, who stole the show for me was Gohar Rasheed. Why you ask? Well, all the other actors in the movie played roles which were to some extent similar to their normal lifestyles. Aamina talked to Mohib in pretty much the way she would in real life. Gohar on the other hand had a role that was the polar opposite of him as a person. Pardon my ignorance, but prior to this film I did not know much about Gohar, so seeing him on-screen playing a Hindu Rickshaw driver, I, for a brief time thought that maybe Meher and Summer (the people behind the film) had actually cast someone of the street. It was when I saw Gohar speak after the film that I realized what an educated and groomed man he was. This is to tell you that he played his character with such conviction that it led one to believe that he was actually so in real life. His accent, his mannerisms and everything was just perfection. Gohar was thus the surprise factor for me from the movie which was promoted as an Aamina-Mohib film.
The film also had the Karachi based model /DJ Hira Taren in a short yet important role. A first look would suggest that there wasn’t much for her to do in the whole scenario and it was the script that was somehow at fault. But a closer look would make you realize that she actually could have done so much with her role, but the only thing she did was maintained her blowfish lips and delivered dialogues without any feelings whatsoever in her American accent.
The other supporting actors did marvelous job in their respective roles.
Story, Camera work and Direction
The film is one of the best to have come out of Pakistan in the last few years. But with all due respect, there was not much of a plot as such. There was this one “lamha” and the entire film was showing the aftermath of it instead of some more of plot development. That being said, the film was perfect in all the other departments. The camerawork and direction (Mansoor Mujhaid) were done quite well. The main thing in the film was the way in which it was presented and that is all due to the director and his creativity. The camera angles and everything complimented the film.
On the whole Seedlings was an excellent attempt by producer Meher Jaffri and writer Summer Nicks. Hats off to the entire team for pulling off the task of making a film in this country where filmmaking is or rather was dead. Having all its weak links and the strengths mentioned, coupled with the fact that one rarely gets to see such an effort in Pakistan, I would give the film 4 out 5 in its rating.
Review By: Momin Ali Munshi
Final editing by: Muhammad Aayan Mirza
Note: The opinion(s) and view(s) presented by the writer in this article do not necessarily depict the views and policies of Galaxy Lollywood as an independent site/blog. The article was written by the writer in order to present his own view-point.