Film: Parde Mein Rehne Do
Release Date: 3rd May 2022
Director: Wajahat Rauf
Review by: Hassan Hassan
The Indo-Pak cinematic landscape has always had a penchant for films with social themes and messages at its core. Socially relevant films have not only been historically cost effective, but also relatable for the target family audience.
Past And Present
The trend of social drama films was at its peak in Lollywood in the 60s and 70s, when the Pakistani cinema saw its golden age and was once considered as the third third biggest film industry in the world, dwarfed only by Hollywood and Bollywood.
Lollywood’s love affair with social dramas sustained itself in its darkest days, where directors like Syed Noor and Sangeeta made films to attract family audiences with a message in their films Wajahat Rauf’s Parde Mein Rehne Do attempts to follow a similar pattern and turns out to be a modern day social dramedy that not only delivers a powerful message but also challenges well established patriarchal standards.
Team And Plot
For director Wajahat Rauf, known for films with a high commercial quotient like the Karachi Se Lahore series and Chalawa, Parde Mein Rehne Do is a rather pleasant detour. Starring Ali Rehman Khan as Shani opposite Hania Aamir as Nazo, the film follows a lower-middle class married couple who struggle to have a child in a household where a patriarch, brilliantly played by Javed sheikh, strongly believes in strict stereotypes and gender-assigned roles.
The film explores how the couple have to face multiple difficulties, like finding out about their medical issues. How the couple deals with these difficulties is what the film is based on.
A Smaller Scale
Being an experimental affair, the film is understandably made on a smaller scale, and this is visible from the start. The film is mostly shot indoors and at a limited number of locales. That’s not to say that it takes away much from the film. The focus of the makers remains on the main issue at hand and they don’t stray from random characters, subplots, or even jokes.
All of the comedy is situational, relevant, and pleasant. The comic timings of Javed Sheikh and Hasan Raza, who plays Shani’s friend, are impeccable. (However, the latter was asked to smile at the end of each dialogue which seemed monotonous by the end).
The central issue of male infertility is tackled in a lighter, balanced way, although there are moments where more information could have been added regarding male infertility (perhaps the makers were conscious of not letting the film be a preachy affair or an extended public service message).
Each character is appropriately developed such that the viewer feels for them and relates with them. However, this time, Mohsin Ali’s writing saves the day.
The chemistry between Hania and Ali Rehman is another pleasant feature. Shani and Nazo are a supporting couple who understand each other as equal partners in their relationship, and they stand up for each other time and again. When they confine themselves to their ego – that’s when things fall apart in their relationship.
There are multiple occasions where stereotypical notions of “mardangi” are challenged and questioned. The film shows how manhood in a marriage is about empowering and supporting one’s life partner in their household to let them have their own lives.
Music And Choreography
The film is peppered with groovy songs and apt background score by the talented Aashir Wajahat. The choreography of Peela Rang, however, leaves much to be desired. Ali’s moves were particularly stiff in the song, but thankfully, it came as an end-credit song.
With its 90-minute span, the film is tight and compact, but the narrative remains predictable. Shani’s cousin as the second woman, and his uncle (Noor Hassan) could have been given more space, perhaps with the addition of a subplot where the father-daughter duo scheme to get Shani betrothed to his cousin, with his infertility being pivotal in hatching their conspiracy. Developing the supporting characters more and fusing their stories in the end could have added layers to the film.
Nevertheless the cast manages to divert attention from the shortcomings of a plain screenplay. Ali Rehman Khan and Hania Aamir’s on point performances, and Javed Sheikh’s comic timing along with his convincing act of a patriarch makes Parde Mein Rehne Do work.
It is indeed safe to say that Wajahat Rauf has treated the issue as a whole with considerable maturity and sensitivity.
From a social point of view, Parde Mein Rehne Do does have substance and relevance. It could be easily dubbed as Wajahat’s best work on the silver screen. As a socially relevant film Parde Mein Rehne Do deserves to be watched on the “pardas” of silver screen atleast one time for its subject matter and its sharp treatment.