In Tich Button, another of the year’s simple romance dramas, we see the very apparent difference between a film made by an independent filmmaker, and that made under the patronage of a studio.

Released by ARY Films, and produced by Salman Iqbal and Muhammad Jerjees Seja, Urwa Hocane and Farhan Saeed, Tich Button is a showcase of a big, well-oiled machinery at work.

Although simple in its plot and screenplay written by Faiza Iftekhar, this film, directed by television ace Qasim Ali Mureed, is heavy on visual treatment. Aside from the sweeping camerawork by Salmaan Razzaq and Yalcin Avci, and on-the-point edits by Rizwan AQ, the film emanates the texture of a big-screen enterprise. It is dense with character play and thick with conflict, and despite its slightly overlong climax, doesn’t feel tiring.

Kaka Sahab (Farhan Saeed) isn’t academically inclined and he loiters around all day in his small rural town in Punjab, but he has a heart of gold. Raised with his cousin and best bud Saqib (Feroze Khan), Kaka gets caught up in a comedy of errors, when he is craftily cajoled into breaking off Saqib’s long-term engagement to Shakeela (Sonya Hussyn), a spitfire of a girl.

Despite being an ensemble film, Tich Button has a carefully designed story that has one core intention: to give Farhan Saeed a starring vehicle. And the actor does full justice to those intentions

Saqib, a chef in Turkey who has taken over a restaurant owned by Pammi (Marina Khan) for a month, is a good guy with a sly, self-centred streak to him. As things begin heating up back home in Punjab, Saqib, who lies about being romantically involved with a ‘gori mem’ (a fair-skinned beauty), is called back to Pakistan, to be with the woman he is set to marry.

Cue in Leena (Iman Ali), the aforementioned fair-skinned beauty, Saqib’s best bud in Turkey and Pammi’s daughter.

Faiza Iftekhar’s screenplay keeps the characters, their motives and their romantic arcs clutter-free. Despite some initial sparks, one sees, without a doubt, who has fallen for whom.

Tich Button is never boring, thanks to Qasim’s engaging direction. The intermission high-point and a later single-take scene of conflict between Leena and Saqib, are two of the best showcases of the director’s prowess.

Apart from Qasim, there are the excellent character-plays by Farhan, Sonya and Feroze. All three of the lead cast, sans Iman, who isn’t directed to give her optimum performance for the bulk of the story, have delightfully quirky personalities.

One sees Farhan and Sonya (who has a bit of an over-the-top character), give very film-like nuances, and Feroze easily slips into his anti-hero-ish guise (the actor does a better job than in his last film, Zindagi Kitni Haseen Hai).

Tich Button is an ensemble piece, where most of its supporting cast is given their fair share of screen space (the film also stars Samya Mumtaz and Ali Sikander). However, one actor who trumps them all is Sohail Ahmed, in what can be perceived as a role he has done many times.

Perceived being the keyword here. Sohail, who plays Saqib’s dad and Kaka’s uncle who has raised him like his own son, is an engaging presence in the first half. But he all but dominates the climatic 20 minutes of the film. One can’t help being emotional when the actor cries, or feel hurt when he gets his heart broken.

Despite the ensemble nature of the film, there is no denying the fact that the film is a carefully designed story that has one core intention: to give Farhan Saeed a starring vehicle. The actor shines, irrespective of the fact that his performance is a little over two years old.

Today, when he has matured more, one wonders how his second film will turn out.

Produced by Urwa Hocane (a fine addition to the producer’s fraternity), sporting an engaging soundtrack, Tich Button is now playing in cinemas. The film is released by ARY Films and is rated ‘U’

Published in Dawn, ICON, December 4th, 2022

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