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14 Nov

Mehreen Jabbar, Dobara Phir Se

We’ve all been completely caught up in the Dobara Phir Se hype.

It started with the name – Mehreen Jabbar – and what she would bring to the screens; Jabbar’s returning to the director’s seat after eight years and while Ramchand Pakistani was a poignant social drama, DPS (in trailers) appears to be a feel good feature film with a good looking cast. It has been shot mostly in New York, the songs sound good and there’s lots of colour to give it cinematic oomph. Being a Mehreen Jabbar film it will undoubtedly (or hopefully) be nuanced but it looks good at the same time and expectations are running very high.

DPS promotions began several weeks ago. We saw the trailers and heard the songs. We saw videos of the cast attempting fun dares. We saw the cast on morning shows and on red carpets. We met the cast in an interview session. Over the last one month we saw and read more or less everything about Sanam Saeed, Hareem Farooq, Ali Kazmi, Adeel Husain and Tooba Siddiqui that we needed to. DPS is being touted as the ‘film of the year’ so naturally, when a press conference was called two weeks before the release (November 25) we were excited to know what else was going to be revealed.

Unfortunately, press conferences are not as exciting or focused as they should be.

Things were running late; no surprises there. We were invited at 4:30 but I made it to a vastly empty hall with only Yasir Hussain strolling around. Finally Adeel Hussain arrived at the red carpet, in his usual reserved demeanour, and I observed him advising the cameramen on how to fix camera angles, the lighting and so on. He was soon followed by Tooba Siddiqui and Sanam Saeed, and the whole red carpet walk barely took them a few minutes, since all the anchors wanted to hear was a shout-out for their channel plus the usual “tell us about the film” question.

It was well past 6 O’clock, i.e. one and a half hour after the given time, when Hareem Farooq rushed in to find a mostly empty red carpet as the cameramen had already shifted near the main stage area where the press conference was supposed to happen. Incase you’re wondering, Ali Kazmi didn’t even make it to the red carpet and just rushed to the stage. The press con finally began, with Ali Kazmi hosting and cracking jokes that didn’t really bring much humour to the annoyed and sparse audience. We were shown the trailer of the film, plus the song that has been recently released. Ali called on stage first the direction team, and later the cast, and proceeded to chat with them. We were shown an unnecessary long video of the dares the cast has been doing to promote the movie. The half empty row behind me grumbled constantly, and I too was annoyed at seeing footage we’ve already seen all over social media platforms.

That said it was a pleasure, of course, to hear Mehreen Jabbar talk about her second film, which she said is a simple love story with complicated characters. We more or less knew everything she spoke about but nevertheless, it sounded better coming from her. We just wish things could have started and ended on time because being stuck at a very delayed press conference on a Saturday evening (for recycled information) seemed a little excessive. And now our expectations from Dobara Phir Se have risen even higher. We just hope the film meets them half way, at least, if not all the way.

We were also lucky enough to catch most of the cast for a quick chat!

Adeel Hussain told us if, and how, the inconsistency in local cinema has increased any pressure on the DPS team.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ugfNOPayVIo&w=560&h=315]

Hareem Farooq compared her experience as a producer and actress and told us which was more difficult.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y5TkN22M8Mo&w=560&h=315]

Sanam Saeed spoke to us about the learning process from the three films she has done recently.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5_5Yo1mA66I&w=560&h=315]

Tooba Siddiqui shared her future plans and the experience of her debut film.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1tzNfwrW-bw&w=560&h=315]

Mariam Tahir

The author is Assistant Editor at Something Haute, plus a fashion student who loves reading, traveling, eating and sleeping but manages to find time in between to write.