The thrill of watching the ‘first day, first show’ was something I had always wanted but the presence of our prime minister in a bustling city like Karachi delayed my arrival at Capri Cinema where Tere Bin Jiya Na Jaye was to be shown. I entered the half-empty (half-full on an optimistic note) cinema hall 15 minutes after the movie had begun, and three long hours later I could not thank the premier enough for the delay.
Tere Bin Jiya Na Jaye is mostly shot in UAE and Imran Malik, with just one film and a handful of TV plays under his belt, calls the shots here. As Aamir, he is cast in the typical one-man-can-make-a-difference slot and in the first hour is shown to transform a Qabacha-looking Ahsan Khan into a dancing side hero, mould a heartless dad into a kindred soul and an out and out messiah for all. When asked about his own life story after an hour into the film, he tells about his affair with the husky-voiced Nazish (Zara Sheikh) and her unrelenting father (Nadeem) in flashback mode.
After a seemingly short interval, Imran Malik’s character is seen returning to his roots in Pakistan to woo the mashriqi father-daughter duo but only to learn that the girl has died in an accident. Later, he stumbles across his love in the streets of Dubai and eventually meets up with her courtesy a well-wisher, clears the misunderstanding, finds out that she is to be betrothed to someone else and in the end, decides to leave matters in divine hands. The twist is there but you’ll have to watch the film and go through the same emotional turmoil that this writer went through.
The songs of Tere Bin Jiya Na Jaye are its only saving grace, sung by Sonu Nigam (his fourth Pakistani film after Tere Pyar Mein, Yeh Dil Aap Ka Hua and Salakhain), Shaan (of Sa Re Ga fame), Saadhna Sargam and Shreya Ghoshal. The legendary M. Ashraf has composed all the songs and excels yet again but the biggest disappointment is screen writer Ali Sufyan Afaqi who has been a part of the film industry as long as M. Ashraf but comes up with unexpectedly predictable dialogue.
So what genre does ‘TBJNJ’ belong to? Suspense comedy is the answer, since the romantic and tragic scenes make you laugh while the story will keep you intrigued as to when the film would formally begin
Every film has loopholes but this one has more than its fair share. Nadeem’s character, Nawab Pervez Yaar Jang, is shown living in a sprawling estate yet has no servants. One also gets the shock of his life on seeing Imran’s character perform at Nazish’s mayoun after being restricted from entering the Nawab’s estate ever again. Talk about temporary amnesia! Every time the hero leaves for Pakistan from Dubai, a PIA plane is shown taking off. This, however, does not explain what he is doing at the railway station in the climax of the film when he is supposedly leaving for Dubai. Perhaps the director wanted a Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge climax. Then there was the lavish set reflecting Nawab saheb’s opulent lifestyle and plush surroundings which, frankly speaking, was hard to digest. Last, but not the least, Hanif Raja is the college student (puhleeze!) studying psychology (read ‘cycology’) in Dubai.
“A man’s got to know his limitations” is how one would describe this ‘A Imran Malik Film’. Had one’s father been as great a film director as Pervez Malik (Armaan, Doraha, Jahan Tum Wahan Hum, Pehchan, Talash, etc) he would rightly have wanted to become a director as well. But with his physique and bland expressions, Imran Malik should have kept himself away from in front of the camera and limited himself to direction only.
The audience will end up with a lot of unanswered questions after seeing this film. Did the hero live in a playground? Was the film shot quite recently since it featured a load-shedding sequence in Dubai? Why do most love stories begin at a friend’s engagement? How did Sonu Nigam agree to lend his voice to Hanif Raja? And more importantly, how come everyone was shown injured in the last scene when not even a single punch was hurled?
So what genre does Tere Bin Jiya Na Jaye belong to? Suspense comedy is the answer, since the romantic and tragic scenes make you laugh while the story will keep you intrigued as to when the film would formally begin. There are not many actors in the film, making it low-budget as well. Ahsan Khan as Ahsan tries to shine with his Govinda-style dancing and Qabacha-style acting. His love interest, a struggling Karachi-based model now turned actress, Sherry (Fari), comes across as immature in most of the scenes who can’t dance or act to save her life much less her film career. Her desperate attempts to reveal will nevertheless delight the front benchers. Rest of the cast comprises known and unknown PTV Islamabad centre actors who make their film debut as maamis, chachas, abbas, phuphis and sauteli maas. Hanif Raja’s delivery of Mohammad Ali-inspired dialogue delivery did manage to bring a smile to many faces. The dialogues would have suited Imran Malik more who reminded of Ali bhai as he wore tight (read skin- tight) shirts and has two left feet when it comes to dance. He also opts for out-of-season jackets to hide his bulky physique which was painfully evident whenever he chose not to wear one.
On a brighter note, the film is better than any recent Pakistani film because of the lack of vulgarity. However, compare it to Indian cinema and it stands nowhere courtesy a weak storyline, editing, ill-placed songs, bad dialogue delivery, lack of coordination between scenes, song picturization and bad wardrobe. According to an inside sources, the editing was carried out by someone who didn’t know even its basics for reasons better known only to Imran Malik.