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6 Jan

What is it about ‘Zaalima’ that we’re hooked?

O.M.Z.



Mahira is flawless.

Zaalima’, the second and undeniably mind blowing track from Shah Rukh and Mahira’s upcoming film, Raees, has been playing on repeat, nonstop. Raees is Mahira’s Bollywood debut, coming at a time when the industry is walking on eggshells, insecure about public reactions, popular opinions and above everything else, political propaganda. But amidst all this insecurity, the one thing that is as sure as the online hits on the two-minute video (it was trending all day) is the chemistry between Shah Rukh and Mahira. It’s a chemical reaction, explosive in all scenes. We’ve spent the last decade obsessing over King Khan’s chemistry with Kajol and Mahira Khan’s fatal attraction with Fawad Khan, but with Raees, a whole new equation has been created.

Shah Rukh Khan + Mahira Khan = magic. Who would have thought!

So why, we wonder aloud, does Mahira work so well with Shah Rukh Khan and what is it that we’re so terribly delighted about?

 

For starters, it looks like Asiya* (which, according to online reports is Mahira’s character’s name) is turning Raees Alam on and not the other way around. For all these years we’ve seen Pakistani actresses cross the border and sell their souls for sensationalism, most of them objectified senselessly in B-grade movies. Raees changes that pattern and how! Here we have a Bollywood A-lister, the biggest A-lister around, King Khan pining after our very own. SRK has never been insecure around newcomers (remember Deepika Padukone in Om Shanti Om) and it shows in ‘Zaalima’ where he gives Mahira the space to have her moments on screen. The movie will undoubtedly be about much more than their romance but it will play a pivotal part in the story, it apparently seems.

The other thing we’re loving about the video is its picturisation. Shot in Morocco, the song definitely has a streak of Yash Chopra’s magic but instead of donning chiffon saris with flowing pallus (associated with Kajol in songs like ‘Sooraj Hua Madham’) Mahira is channeling her personal style. She can be seen in an ivory gharara and choli and then a shalwar kameez and perfectly complements Shah Rukh (or is it the other way around?) who’s also channeling his inner pathan in a black shalwar kameez and turban. Yep, we fully approve! Plus, Shah Rukh Khan is the ultimate old-school romantic hero and while we loved his work in Fan, this is his strength and it always appeals to us much more than his experimentation.

So, the burning question on everyone’s mind is whether Raees will release in Pakistan or not? And sadly there are no answers just as yet. Local distributors are just as baffled as we are because cinemas may be screening Indian movies but no new movies have been imported since the suspension in September. We just hope some of this magic rubs off on the situation and Raees makes its way across. We can predict box office madness if it does.

  • The article originally stated ‘Mohsina’ as Mahira’s screen name but she has confirmed that it’s Asiya.

Aamna Haider Isani

The author is Editor-in-Chief at Something Haute as well as Editor at Instep, The News. Full time writer, critic with a love for words and an intolerance for typos.