Sirf Tum He Tou Ho (Review): A Nightmarish Throwback to 90’s Lollywood

Movie Name: Sirf Tum He Tou Ho

Release Date: 19th July, 2019

Director: Sangeeta

Review by: Hassan Hassan

Growing up watching films like Nikaah and Harjai, it was only the hope of invoking nostalgic feels of good old 90’s ka cinema that urged me to go watch a movie that seemingly had no redeemable qualities judging by its trailer. Lollywood movies from this decade are generally frowned upon by the cine-goers but on the other hand, they are also cherished by some for various reasons even in this day.

Taking strength from my naive hope, I went in to watch Sirf Tum He Tou Ho with zero expectations. The film did manage to take me into that long lost era that I was hoping to revisit, however, instead of the being immersed in a euphoric state of nostalgia, it brought back the cinematic nightmares that were the reason why cinema viewers stopped going to the theaters in the 80’s and 90’s.

Manual for a bad Lollywood film

The film’s story follows a typical, predictable Lollywood film pattern. Noor (Danish Taimoor) who belongs to a rich family, falls for Roshni (Qurat ul Ain), who belongs to a poor family. Shiza (Mathira) is Noor’s friend and is in love with Noor, which naturally makes her the vamp of the story.

After some cheesy romance, Noor and Roshni ultimately marry against the former’s parents’ wish. What follows in the story are multiple emotional and financial struggles that the couple have to face to make their marriage work. A complicated pregnancy, a life threatening disease, a third person threatening to wreck havoc in the couple’s life with her seductive charms; the story has all the clichés to be expected in a typical Lollywood film from a couple of decades ago.

Strong acting performances

It is not a complete mess though. As was the case with 90s film industry, where most of the actors remained under explored for their acting credentials, Sirf Tum He Tou Ho doesn’t disappoint on the acting front.

The lead actors standout the most among entire team. Danish Taimoor as Noor delivers an adequately good performance in whatever space provided to him by the clichéd and poor script. His chronic issue of being a hyperactive dancer is persistent however, which the actor should work at controlling. Otherwise he plays the quintessential romantic Lollywood hero with sincerity and dedication and you can’t blame him for whatever shortfalls you observe in his performance.

Same is the case of the leading lady Qurat ul Ain, who shines as Roshni in most of the instances. She comes across as a pretty decent actor and did justice to her role. Unfortunately, the leading lady has more external factors playing against her than Danish, bad make-up and poor wardrobe being the foremost among these. It is frustrating to see an actor give their best in what is required of them, i.e. good acting, and be let down by things not in their control. Had proper care been taken in the makeup and wardrobe departments, Qurat ul Ain’s performance would have been far more memorable as she does have the acting chops in her to be a good addition to the already limited film industry of Pakistan.

As an antagonist Mathira as Shiza also fulfills the demands of her job description. She certainly has the looks and the attitude that are required for the character of a seductress. Her job was to look sexy on screen and she delivers on that front perfectly. Mathira showed a contagious energy that made you pay attention to her whenever she appeared on screen, particularly in the beach song.

Rest of the supporting cast give strictly okay-ish performances.

Extremely poor writing

Quite simply, the blame for the disaster that STHTH ultimately turned out to be straightaway goes to the script writer Suraj Baba. It is not that he is new to the business, but his tendency to stick to every possible cliché and then writing it poorly without bringing any freshness to it, makes you question whether anyone in the team really read the script or not.

There are hardly any efforts visible in the development and research of the script. Our heroine is suffering from endometrial cancer yet she manages to conceive and the disease is diagnosed in pregnancy. In which medical world does this happen? Perhaps the writer thought the film is being made only for the single screens so there is no point of digging for facts. And if the story’s loopholes weren’t enough of a turn off, the dragging screenplay and clichéd dialogues make sure you have an unbearable cinematic experience.

Copied music

Any traces of an enjoyable experience are further hampered by the horrible background music. STHTH has such inappropriate background music that it makes you wish it wasn’t there in the first place. There is sad music being played in the happy scenes, and happy music pasted over sad scenes. A cringe worthy moment ironically makes you laugh when you see Bollywood’s hit film Mohabbatein‘s score (the sad version) shamelessly used in a romantic sequence.

Apart from Rahat’s Ishq Anokhari Peer, which sounds better on the big screen and is shot decently, there is nothing in the music that we could talk of. Sangeeta is a well known and respected name of the old Lollywood. As a director, her films were always garnished with soulful and romantic music (Nikah, Harjai, Khilona) and this is where you doubt whether STHTH is really made by the lady.

Another case of a failed comeback

In terms of direction, Sangeeta is not the first person from the old-school Lollywood who disappoints big time with her comeback project (Javed Sheikh, Syed Noor, and Shaan have already done so with their projects as directors). Such fears were already looming on my mind when I had seen the film’s trailer. Sirf Tum Hi Tou Ho might even get you in an unending argument with your friends over the million dollar question that is, which film between Chain Aye Na and STHTH is more horrendous? Because both films are bad even if seen through the perspective of a viewer who has fond memories of the 90s Lollywood films.

Being an admirer of the courageous era of 90s where film-making was a daunting task, seeing the veteran directors fail big time in their comebacks is really disappointing. Sangeeta’s comeback film will only cement the notorious rhetoric that 90’s Lollywood is a cinema that no one wants to adore or revisit.

Verdict

Watch Sirf Tum Hi Tou Ho if you are an ardent Danish Taimoor or Mathira fan or more rarely, if you love the cinema of yesteryear in any of its forms.

Rating:  1.5/5 stars

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I am a doctor,a foodie and a traveller. The aroma of Popcorn ,the peculiar sensation of being in a darkened theatre,enjoying a Film, intrigues & gives me a reason to promote Pakistani Cinema. anjumhassan87@gmail.com

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