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The ticket: Birds of a feather …

August 09, 2015

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Love it or hate it, but Wajahat Rauf’s directorial debut Karachi Se Lahore makes you feel young again. Packed with one-liners which bring on a smile, likeable characters that seem too close to home and a soundtrack worth dancing to, the road-trip movie is all about having fun. It may not have big names — barring Javed Sheikh and Rasheed Naz — but the young performers here have really outdone themselves.

KSL revolves around the life of Zaheem (Shahzad Sheikh) whose girlfriend Aashi (Eshita Syed) dumps him to marry someone else. The problem is that Aashi is in Lahore and Zaheem in Karachi, and that’s why he decides to take a trip to Lahore to stop the shaadi. His friends Moti aka Mutazalzal (Yasir Hussain) and Sam (Ahmed Ali) accompany him along with Maryam (Ayesha Omar) and Zeezoo (Aashir Wajahat), the kids of Tiwana sahib (Javed Sheikh), the owner of the four-wheeler named Jeepu. What ensues on the trip helps them bond together and by the time they reach Lahore, things change dramatically for the better.

As Zaheem and his friends embark on the wedding-crashing mission, they deliver hilarious one-liners, come up with ‘brilliant’ ideas and escape from a near-death experience. Yasir Hussain who has scripted the film is brilliant in his debut film role and he stutters his way into our hearts. When told that the name Moti suits dogs more, he replies with “bohat purana joke hai” rather than defend his parents. Ahmed Ali portrays the cool kid on the block by being just nonchalant and although it does get him into trouble, he doesn’t seem to care. And then there is Zeezoo (Aashir) a junior idiot; the director’s son does a commendable job on his debut as he matches his elder co-stars in every scene. His dialogue delivery doesn’t seem rusty for once and neither does his dance in the enjoyable end credits.

Aashir Wajahat and Ayesha Omar
Aashir Wajahat and Ayesha Omar

Javed Sheikh’s role as Tiwana sahib and his ‘affair’ with Khushi (played gracefully by Mantahaa Maqsood) could have been given more screen time. They share a romantic scene, a dance number where Sheikh sahib dazzles and Mantahaa sizzles and appear in a couple of more scenes together. Ayesha Omar starts the movie as a naik parveen but before the interval turns super-chic. She even goes the Beedi way when one of her friends is in trouble … but what makes her change her avatar isn’t very convincing.

Talking of cameos, there are way too many of these in the movie. TV and theatre personalities including Muzna Ibrahim, Noor ul Hassan, Yasir Taj, Hashim Butt, Nazar Hussain and others could either have had bigger roles or no cameos as they seemed wasted here. Yes, Ali Noor and Ali Hamza did have dialogues that matter along with director Wajahat Rauf, wife Shazia Wajahat, Usman Ali Khan ‘Otto’ and Fahad Ahmed. Remember the golden rule: lesser the cameos, better the impact!

Yasir Hussian, Shahzad Sheikh and Ahmed Ali
Yasir Hussian, Shahzad Sheikh and Ahmed Ali

The music is refreshing, hummable and worth listening to over and over again. In fact, it was after a long time that we found ourselves actually humming the tunes while exiting the theatre. Ali Noor, Ali Hamza and Shiraz Uppal — the men behind Sur Darvesh — deserve to be commended for writing the lyrics, composing the songs and lending vocals along with Zarrish (Rabbi Ralli) and Ayesha Omar (Tutti Frutti).

On the whole, Karachi Se Lahore is a film worth one’s time, money and patience. If you can sit through a drama that ends on a happy note or a masala flick with below-the-belt humour, you can easily enjoy your time with this situational romantic comedy. Finally, the brand placement at times is disturbing but then when does it not irritate us?

Published in Dawn, Sunday Magazine, August 9th, 2015

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