Movie Name: Pinky Memsaab
Release Date: December 07, 2018
Director: Shazia Ali Khan
Review by: Hassan Anjum
In an era where the local film industry is going through a transitional phase, experiments being carried out here and there are contributing to shaping its identity. Joining the bandwagon is the debutant director Shazia Khan, whose maiden silver screen offering Pinky Memsaab, hit cinemas just last Friday.
As an expat artist based in Dubai, it makes sense for Khan to go the Wordsworthian way, using her experiences and observations of her city and the lives within as the base ingredient for her debut project. This, however, and unfortunately, is not enough to ensure more hits than misses in Pinky’s case.
The rather grey opening shot of Dubai’s iconic skyline assures you that you are in for some serious and strong content, wherein, even the city appears as a character than just a backdrop. Shortly afterward, the nonlinear opening sequence takes the film in the past, introducing us to the contrasting lives of Pinky (Hajra Yamin), and her Memsaab (Kiran Malik), bringing them close quite swiftly in the film’s further mise-en-scène.
The positive impression that the film makes, sadly, isn’t long-lived as you cannot help but notice the contradictory sequences in the screenplay one after the other. More on that later.
The actors, music, and to some extent, the direction, are the biggest assets of Pinky Memsaab. In terms of performances, the acting choices don’t spell any financial constraints as most of them do justice to their roles in whatever shrunken space the script and dialogues offer them.
Hajra Yamin as Pinky is no doubt the star of the show. Her performance was flawless, natural, and the glow she brings on her cheeks along with the glitter in eyes on the prospects of a new life in Dubai, are applause-worthy.
From her difficult moments where she is lost in a strange city to her “strength at display” where she pushes back one of the male characters making unwanted advancement towards her, Hajra never gives a hint of discomfort in getting into her character. Her stage background surely has a role to play in that.
Kiran Malik as Memsaab deserve a mention as well. Not only does the lady look glamorous in her scenes, she can act quite well too. She plays an insecure housewife caught between the choices of a home and a dead career decently enough. The parts where she appears shaky is not because of her acting abilities but the poor script and dialogues. We must say we are intrigued to see her next in the Shaan starrer, Zarrar.
The rather somber proceedings in the film are compensated with the great comic timing of Santosh (Sunny Hinduja). The actor knows how to use his voice in crescendo decrescendo manners wherever the situation demands. In the end, however, Santosh ends up being nowhere, as his character, sadly, is wasted as a prop rather than a key to unravel the plot sequences.
The talented Adnan Jaffar appears suave as an investment banker, but then again, his is another character that appears quite shallow. Thus wasting his presence in most of the places.
Music and background score is where Pinky fares well. The use of diegetic and non-diegetic background sounds help the otherwise bumpy narrative roll smoothly. Certain scenes are, in fact, palatable only because of the apt background score and the beautiful songs by Abbas Ali Khan.
Direction & Cinematography
Lastly, as a director with just two short films under her belt, Shazia impresses more than what was expected of her. Selecting a genre that’s difficult to direct; requiring all the attention to details and countless artistic and dramatic aspects, she shines in most parts and should, most definitely, continue making films.
For reasons unknown, she kept the script and screenplay under her job description, which probably divided her attention, and the results were visible.
The sole reason you come out of theatre unhappy is because of the poorly written script, and a screenplay that is full of hiccups. Had the job been done by someone with a little more experience, the story could have been something else.
The out of focus cinematography and lack of shots capturing the scenic Dubai for a better cinematic experience are also a big let down.
By the time you leave the cinema hall, you may be urging yourself to consider the film as a work of abstract art. You may tell yourself that the film is about the characters and humans of Dubai. This cathartic consolation, however, won’t be enough to think of Pinky Memsaab as a great film experience.
“Memsaab” won’t be able to stay in our Memories for a long time. What could have been another “Cake” for local cinema, ends up being a half-baked attempt, more because of its script and screenplay rather than its direction and concept.