Watching a Pakistani film used to be more agony than entertainment until Yeh Dil Aap Ka Hua, masterfully crafted with its brilliant print, excellent songs and above all, unLollywood approach.
The era of quality Pakistani movies would have returned but cine-goers met more trash after Yeh Dil Aap Ka Hua than before and decided to stay home, watching DVDs and cable TV until a talented Reema `Khan’ decided to call the shots. With more than 150 films since her debut Bulandi 15 years ago, she has surprisingly showed a fresh approach in her directorial debut, Koi Tujh Sa Kahan and excelled in most of the departments which was unexpected since her film featured a younger Moammar Rana as her husband, newcomers Simran and Babrak as the second lead and the undisputed queen of overacting, Veena Malik, as the vamp. But the presence of veterans Nadeem and Irfan Khoosat in very important roles ensures that the film does better than Kyun Tum Se Itna Pyar Hai and Tere Bin Jiya Na Jaye.
Koi Tujh Sa Kahan is about a married Pakistani couple settled in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, until deception breaks their bond of trust. Reema and Moammar star as Bella and Peeru. Reema’s character, in a fit of envious rage, apparently shoots dead her philandering husband’s secretary, Beena (Veena) after finding them in a comprising situation (a pre-interval steamy seduction number). Enters Nadeem as Uncle Romeo, friend of Bella’s father Seth Surkhaab (Afzaal Ahmed) to help her get back on her feet and avenge herself.
Surprisingly, in this era of advanced ballistics and forensics, no one bothered to check whether the bullets fired were from Bella’s gun or not. Did they match the shooting weapon? Was the angle from which they were supposed to have been shot the correct one? It didn’t happen mostly because it was just a film (and a Pakistani one at that) and secondly it was for a gullible audience who still believe that one can shoot a plane from the ground with a rifle. In the film, it seems that nearly all the main characters have a license to kill.
In the post-interval slot, the story moves at a faster pace as the audience finds out that not all is what it seems to be. The dialogues and the direction are top notch with no loopholes except the afore-mentioned ones. There is an Alka Yagnik song at the climax and before the grand finale which makes you leave the cinema in a happy mood, something only a handful of Pakistani films have managed to do in the past decade.
The story and dialogues are by Khalil ur Rahman Qamar who has proved himself as a good dialogue writer in recent times. Some of his dialogues meant nothing at the start of the film but proved to be crucially important after the interval. But he failed in one department – the names of the characters weren’t a well-thought out affair. Where do you get names like Peeru and Bella in our society?
Was Nadeem named Romeo when he was born or was it a title he earned after his wife `Lisa’ ditched him for a `John Clark’? Irfan Khoosat as Boota Singh while Afzaal Ahmed as Reema’s deceased father, Surkhaab seemed too surreal. Veena Malik’s Beena while newcomers Simran Kauchak and Babrak Shah are Sara and Zadeyaar, respectively.
Reema does an admirable job but she must face the fact that she isn’t getting any younger. Nadeem saheb was given an all-important role to prove that he still has the ingredients to carry a film on his shoulders and excels, as always. He had just one scene before the interval but after that, he was his usual brilliant self. His wearing a cap reminded one of his earlier movies, especially Aaina where his beautiful smile and handsome cap combined to dazzle many a women in the 1970s. Moammar has gained a lot of confidence as an actor and he dances quite brilliantly. The same can be said of newcomer Babrak Shah who can also dance and act quite well. He impresses in Koi Tujh Sa Kahan, his second film, but fewer scenes ensure that he remains second lead.
The surprise package of the film is the import from UK, Simran Kauchak, the tall, lanky model-turned-actress who resembles Sushmita Sen and acts quite well. Irfan Khoosat bagged a quality role after a long time and excelled in making the audience both laugh and cry by uttering his strategically placed dialogue “I love you” throughout the film.
Veena Malik is a lost cause and Koi Tujh Sa Kahan is ample proof of this. Meaning to say “sir” in an alluring manner while addressing Moammar Rana in the film, she only ends up making people laugh. Thankfully, Moammar, Simran and Nadeem saheb are there to save the day. The “huppy burday”, “Wadding cermony” and “what a coincident” uttered by producer, director and female lead, Reema, aside, one must give credit to her for she didn’t commit the mistakes people like Syed Noor always do. Her brilliance as a director can be judged from the fact that Malaysian-born Nasir Hassan, who played a police chief, spoke English rather than Urdu because had he done that, the audience would have erupted in laughter.
The late Amjad Bobby was undoubtedly one of the best musicians of Pakistan’s film industry and this movie provides proof of that. He not only brought back Udit Narayan to sing in the film for the first time since Ghar Kab Aao Gay in 2000 and Jaspinder Narula for the third time since Tere Pyar Mein in 2001, but helped Abhijeet Bhattacharya make an entry into Lollywood. Shriya Ghoshal, who did well in Imran Malik’s Tere Bin Jiya Na Jaye, is back and so is Alka Yagnik after a one-film stint earlier in Lollywood. All singers excel in the songs with Udit cornering all by rendering the title track brilliantly.
Overall, Koi Tujh Sa Kahan is not only better than the usual fare being produced in Pakistan but it is an attempt in the right direction for Lollywood. Reema stands out for choosing Malaysia and Singapore as locations and using them meaningfully, unlike her contemporaries who waste producers’ money by going to Turkey, Philippines and Europe.
The wardrobe is provided by Amir Adnan and Beegee and makeup, a tad bit overdone, by Saima’s in Karachi and New Look, Lahore. The choreography, editing and background score, all done by Bollywood big names such as the famous Saroj Khan, Akiv Ali and Solinder Sodhi, are at par with international standards, just like the cinematography of Waqar Bukhari.
The editing, which earlier caused Imran Malik’s Tere Bin Jiya Na Jaye to suffer, was done at Lakdawala’s Studios in Mumbai’s Sound City while the spotless processing and printing was done at Cine Color Lab, Bangkok, thus helping in first strengthening and later making Reema’s claim of an “international standard film” a reality.
Cast and Production Credits
Year – 2005, Genre – Drama, Country – Pakistan, Language – Urdu, Producer – Reema Khan, Director – Reema Khan, Music Director – Amjad Bobby , Cast – Reema, Moammar Rana, Veena Malik, Simran Kauchak, Babrak Shah, Afzaal Ahmed, Nadeem, Irfan Khoosat