Too many trials led to too many errors in the recently released Sacch, the last Pakistani film released in 2019.

Former television actor and producer Zulfikar Sheikh, known for TV shows such as Des Pardes and Castle: Aik Umeed, directed the film, while his wife, politician, barrister and actress Tasmina Sheikh, produced and their daughter Elysee Sheikh starred.

The film suffers from poor acting, but heavy weights from the TV industry cast in supporting roles - Uzma Gillani, Fazila Qazi, Ayesha Sana, Nauman Masood and Javed Sheikh - keep the ship from sinking entirely. The film also has strong writing and music, which can be credited to Javeria Saud, Fatima Najeeb, Haseena Moeen and Kumud Chaudhry, a famous writer, director and producer from Bollywood. The outstanding cinematography was the work of Kabir Lal, who worked on Taal and Pardes.

The story follows Elysee (Elysee Sheikh), a university student living with her mother Sofi (Tasmina Sheikh) in Scotland. Her father (Zulfikar Sheikh) only appears in the latter half of the film, as he left the family due to pressure from his relatives. Elysee develops a liking for Ayaan (Asad Zaman Khan), the son of a business tycoon, and also befriends Shayaan (Humayoun Ashraf), a DJ. A love triangle develops between the three of them, as both men - who are good friends - are interested in Elysee.

Khan, who plays Ayaan, has one other film to his credit but has acted in numerous television shows in the past. Although he is a welcome addition to the film industry, his acting could use a little polish. Ashraf, playing Shayaan, makes his character look good despite being the antagonist between the other two leads.

The weakest link in the film was Elysee, who seemed to visibly struggle with delivering dialogues in Urdu. Scenes that demanded strong emotion and should have brought the audience to tears fell flat because of the lack of experience on her part and on the part of the director.

Despite limited screen time, the veteran supporting cast did their best to support the leads, bringing energy to scenes that could otherwise seem tedious.

The film does feature beautiful landscape shots of Scotland, mainly of Edinburgh, Glasgow and surrounding areas. The cinematographer deserves credit for capturing the region’s picturesque locales, majestic castles and green suburbs.

The music is also very cinematic. Composed by Simaab Sen, a famous Bollywood composer, the music features a mix of Pakistani and Bollywood musicians. The title track is performed by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, and other featured vocalists include Armaan Malik, Ali Tariq and Elysee Sheikh.

Published in Dawn, January 8th, 2020

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