Movie Name: Arth
Release Date: December 21, 2017
Director: Shaan Shahid
Review by: Momin Ali Munshi
A schizophrenic superstar, a has been singer, a frustrated housewife, and a cheating husband. What happens when the lives of four such individuals cross paths? Well, you get a beautiful film with intense drama, a myriad of emotions and stellar performances called Arth- The Final Destination.
Written and directed by Shaan Shahid the film is a retelling of the classic Indian film ‘Arth’. Now while Shaan may have donned the directors cap in the past, this was his first foray into direction where the new age cinema is concerned so there were a lot of questions, hopes, and expectations from the man who is, without doubt, the poster boy of Lollywood. And does he live up to them, hell yeah!
Let me be the first one to say that ‘Arth’ is not a perfect film, it has its flaws such as choppy editing and a loopy screenplay but the brilliant performances by the four leads, a stirring background score and beautifully composed dialogues and scenes completely make up for the glitches and give you a film that is definitely worth seeing.
The film begins with Ali ( Shaan Shahid) making his way back to Pakistan after a brutal divorce in London which has left him penniless. Ali was a famous singer back in the day and hopes to reconnect with his fans in Pakistan. One such crazy fan is Uzma ( Uzma Hassan) whose life takes a turn for the worse when husband of ten years Umar ( Mohib Mirza) discloses his affair with superstar Umaima ( Humaim Malick). What happens next is a roller coaster ride full of confrontations, changing equations as the characters reach Arth, their final destination.
The breakout star of the film is without a doubt Uzma Hassan who has given a performance of a lifetime. Pre-release I was wondering why would Shaan cast Uzma in the titular role where he could have opted for many known faces who would have not only added the commercial appeal but would have given a brilliant performance too. But after having seen the film let me tell you, I got my answer and how! There is nobody in our entire industry who could have done this role as well as Uzma has done. She makes you laugh, makes you cry and you are completely invested in her character. The confrontation scene right before the interval gave me goosebumps, that’s all because of Uzma’s uninhibited acting. Bravo, this girl has arrived!
Shaan Shahid is a megastar, but with this film, he peels off the mask of stardom and shows that he is a gifted actor before anything else! There is one particular scene in the beginning where we see a dejected Shaan leaving a concert venue after being ridiculed by the organizers, he then runs into Uzma and that entire scene where we see a star entertaining a fan while he is himself broken from the inside is just beautiful. There are many more instances where Shaan shows his prowess as an actor and proves why he is a force to be reckoned with.
When the trailer came out a lot of people felt that Shaan had molded the original film and centered this new film around his character, but the detractors couldn’t have been any more wrong. This new Arth very much revolves around the life of Uzma as the original film did around Shabana Azmi with Shaan Shahid having a somewhat more meatier role as compared to the original film. Kudos to Shaan for staying true to the essence of the film.
There is no easy way of saying this, Mohib Mirza and Humaima Malick have both been wasted. No, this does not mean that their performance was bad, on the contrary, they both did wonderfully, it is just that they did not have much room to perform. Humaiama really gets into the skin of the character as the psychotic actress Umaima. Whatever little she has, she does a brilliant job. Similar Mohib, who is a seasoned actor knows what he is doing but again the writing fails him as he is hardly there in the film and it seems as if scenes featuring Mohib were chopped off at the editing table because its most of his scenes where we see choppy editing and jump cuts.
The editing and screenplay as I briefly touched upon earlier are somewhat off. The lapses of time are clearly visible which confuse the viewers as to what is happening. A lot of things are not explicitly stated and left for the audiences to assume themselves which could both be seen as a plus or minus given your perspective. But I did feel that the ending was rather rushed and the impact could have been greater had it not seemed so forced for two characters, while completely unresolved for the other two. The dubbing was also not on point at times, especially the first few scenes where there is a major lip-synch issue.
But the technical glitches were completely overshadowed by the strong performances accompanied by the great writing which gave us some of the most impactful scenes in the new age of Pakistani Cinema. The dialogues are definitely a strength and some dialogues will definitely stay in the mind of the audience long after having seen the film. Also, the film is very real and bold in its portrayal of characters, be it the intimacy or the tiny details they all help add to the authenticity. Shaan wanted to make a film showcasing the real side of romance on reel, and he has succeeded!
The film has eleven songs and it would not be wrong to say that the music of the film is the second biggest plus point after the performances by the actors. Almost all songs propel the story forward and synch well with the film and do not come across as un-needed ( well maybe the film could have done without a song or two). Be it ‘Sanwar Day Khudaya’ or ‘Murshed Jee’ or ‘Ronay De’ each song has been composed beautifully and that shows when the viewer is completely engrossed in whatever is happening on screen.
Final Word: Watch it for the stellar performances, stirring background score and the bold depiction of a mature love story.
Rating: 3.5/5 stars