Who says that love stories need to be complicated? In Yaara Vey, the Sami Khan, Aleeze Nasser and Faizan Khwaja-starrer musical romance, the love story is simple, but also meagre.

Saania (Aleeze), is a serious young woman, who, working for a real-estate project development firm, doesn’t have time for love. Armaan (Faizan), her young colleague — the supposedly ‘perfect’ man who women pine for (we don’t specifically see any sequence that asserts this) — is on the brink of popping the question to Saania. Then we have Sameer (Sami), a forever on-the-edge go-getter who manages a hotel in Thailand, but secretly wishes to open his restaurant on a serene location he has pegged for years.

When Sameer finally lands an investor — a Japanese guy who doesn’t speak Urdu, English or Thai — it turns out to be that very property Saania’s company has already bought.

On any given day, for a film bursting with Indian talent — Yaara Vey is an international project whose director, co-screenwriter and crew are from India — the story would have moved on from this particular hiccup between Sameer and Saania… though not this film.

Yaara Vey has a lot going against it but nothing as much as its amateurish edit. A better edit could have turned this film around

Plodding in its effort to build Sameer and Saania’s romance (Armaan is given the boot for the remainder of the story, before the second act of the film), we have a collection of scenes that supposedly build the love arc of Yaara Vey, leading to a very apparent twist late in the film.

Yaara Vey has an engaging soundtrack — actually, you might call it one of the best of the year, with a strong Bollywood-ish vibe — that gets the short end of the stick because of the film’s excessive, nearly two-hours-and-30-minute runtime.

Blame the film’s amateurish edit then. The runtime could have been toned down, if only dialogues and reactions were trimmed, fade outs and chapter breaks ejected (they break the momentum), and head and tail of shots were curtailed.

It is a pity, because one sees an exact opposite with the repeat of the song Ishq Tamasha before the closing credits. That song is slickly cut to the beat, and its prior version — which happens at a key juncture — turns out to be a so-so edit job.

Decisions to tighten the movie would have also helped the performances. While Faizan and Aleeze’s characters have some measure of depth, it is Sami’s forever-anxious character, who self-professedly lives his life in the moment without future plans, that comes out as a winner. Given Sami’s intelligent role play (though his look is inconsistent), we get a very real sense of his dilemmas.

The other actor in the film that stands toe-to-toe with Sami is Javed Sheikh. In one of his most natural screen personas, the actor plays a bookstore owner-cum-poet in Thailand. Ali Sikander, who plays Sikki, Sameer’s best bud, also handles his role well. Marina Khan, despite getting a very good scene in the latter half of the film, is a dud.

While there is nothing wrong with telling simple stories of romance and drama, given the current plot, Yaara Vey would have benefitted from a considerably shorter running time. If tough decisions were made in the edit (which, by the way, govern the entire pace of the film), it would have turned out to be a very, very good movie.

Directed by Manish Pawar and written by Mahwash Ajaz and Althea Kaushal, Yaara Vey is released by Eveready Pictures and Hum Films. The film is rated U and is suitable for audiences of all age groups

Published in Dawn, ICON, December 4th, 2022

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