Karachi Se Lahore makes a brave attempt at a film that is driven by humour but stunted by lack of storyline.
As a film, Karachi Se Lahore works because of its humour.
Zaheem (Shahzad Shaikh) is portrayed as a loser of a struggling banker who is dumped by his girlfriend in favour of a secure life with a successful cousin. In an uncharacteristic show of backbone, egged on by his friends Sam (Ahmed Ali) and Moti (Yasir Hussain), he decides to take a trip to Lahore to stop her wedding. The films unravels as the road trip between both cities, in which they are accompanied by their neighbor Mariam (Ayesha Omar) and her brother Zeezu (Aasher Wajahat) whose father’s blue jeep they borrow for the drive. The story is predictable and offers nothing in terms of storyline or suspense but it’s the anecdotal humour and Pakistan branding that drives it through its course.
As far as casting goes, Ahmed Ali and Yasir Hussain are the stars of the show. They manage to make their scenes the life of the journey and their jokes carry one scene to the other. Ayesha Omar is effective as the nerdy neighbor who rises to the occasion whenever needed but her role allows her nothing to bank on. Shahzad Shaikh is a convincing underachiever but as a protagonist lacks the air and oomph that a hero should have. His acting is contrived and he has very little screen presence. Child artist Aasher Wajahat, however, shows potential. The film also throws some interesting and several wasted cameos into the story; they serve as the only surprise factor.
Unfortunately the Cornetto cone, cast by Group M for one of the film’s leading sponsors, has a bigger role than most of the characters in the film. It appears on more than two dozen occasions and if ice creams could speak then it would have been given lines too. The ultimate branding disaster is a marriage proposal, in the climax of the film, made over an ice-cream cone. One understands the need for funding, especially for small films, but sponsorship should help strengthen the cinematic experience not deplete or depreciate it. There was a desperate need for subtlety where the Cornetto cone was concerned; a better idea would have been to serve it at the premiere and make the two-hour delay in the heat bearable.
As a film Karachi Se Lahore is tiny but entertaining; it did generate waves of chuckles in the audience. That said there were several completely unnecessary scenes that stretched the film into boring territory. Hopefully they will be edited in the director, Wajahat Rauf’s final cut.
Don’t judge a film by its premiere
As an event the Lahore premiere of Karachi Se Lahore at the Cinestar Cinema had the potential to sabotage the film completely. Mismanaged and badly planned, it ran two hours late and the movie, scheduled to begin at 9pm, eventually started past 11. The delay was party blamed on technical failures as the film got ‘locked’ after failed attempts to access its passcode, according to management. When it was finally unlocked, it took several attempts to run it from the beginning with its audio intact. By this time half the audience had left in despair and disappointment.
The delay was just a fraction of the issue with the event. Mismanagement at the cinema marred the premiere experience. Seating was not allocated, which resulted in a mad and uncomfortable scramble at the box office. While seating at premieres is always allocated in advance and according to priority, this was not the case and one felt that paying at a public show would have been a better choice. Attempts at damage control were made by Public Relations but with so many people handling different aspects of the evening, the premiere became a classic case of there being too many cooks in the kitchen. No one was in control.
The event was managed by JBnJaws Productions with Media Relations by Amjad Bhatti.