There are several reasons why Bachaana works. First of all, the lead characters are delightful. Vicky, played by Mohib Mirza, is the obvious star. Tall, dark and handsome, he’s easy on the eyes, confident in front of the camera and he effortlessly carries the film from the beginning to the end. He has a fun script to work with and it all adds up. Sanam Saeed, despite not being at her very best, has a strong character to play with. Contrary to our first impressions of the film and its tagline (Read: https://www.somethinghaute.com//bachaana/) Aalia, an Indian girl, is not a damsel in distress and does not need a man to save her. She’s quite the trouper and actually saves him in many sticky situations. Her character has been written delightfully!
Secondly, the film has been shot beautifully. Mauritius looks as magnificent as ever but what really impresses is the fact that it looks like a feature film and not a tele-film being viewed on the big screen (which has been a major issue with Pakistani cinema of late). Kudos to debut director Nasir Khan for that. The length of the film is another plus point. At 90-odd minutes, it is neither too short nor too long for it to drag. As promoted, it really is a breezy, cheesy romance. It definitely is worth the watch!
The film has been shot beautifully.
The question, unfortunately, that one has to ask is this: does Bachaana compete with world cinema and would we feel the same way had it been a Bollywood or Hollywood production? I’m afraid we wouldn’t. Is our nationalism and need to promote local cinema making us over generous in our reviews and reactions? I’m afraid it is.
The movie is over-simple. There are no nuances or tiers or sub plots and it’s almost like a bedtime story you would read to a child. There is no romance or action, two necessary elements in any commercially successful film and even the music is extremely weak.
We watch and enjoy Bachaana as a Pakistani film that is pleasant and not as bad as most of the Pakistani films being made these days. But Pakistani films are running alongside bigger and better films in movie theatres and ultimately they will have to compete with them. So far, only two films have made that cut: Manto and Jawani Phir Nahin Aani.
Parvez Lala, Adeel Hashmi, Sanam Saeed, Mohib Mirza and Danish Lala at the Karachi premiere of the film.
I’ll conclude with a cricket analogy: every time we play against India, we console ourselves with the fact that ours is a young team, it is inexperienced and (as with yesterday’s match) at least the young Aamir emerged a star. But nationalism alone will not guarantee improvement. We need to up the ante and work harder to compete on equal grounds and once in while, even win.