Hijrat: A step back for Pakistani cinema

Published: May 1, 2016
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Simply put, the acting in Hijrat is plain, flat and mediocre. PHOTO: HIJRAT FACEBOOK PAGE

Since Pakistan’s cinema industry began its journey towards improvement and development, directors began sharing unique stories through their movies. Where Na Maloom Afraad, Waar, Karachi Se Lahore, and Manto amongst others boosted the revival of Pakistani cinema, it also provided a platform for directors to display their immense talent. However, the recently released Hijrat, directed by Farooq Mengal, failed to make the same impact as it fell short in a number of areas.

Simply put, the acting in Hijrat is plain, flat and mediocre. It felt as if the actors were reading the script without emotions, completely detached from their assigned characters. Moreover, the romantic scenes failed to stir any on-screen chemistry between the lead actor Murad (Asad Zaman) and the lead actress Jia (Rabia Butt). A couple of scenes did showcase their acting ability, such as Murad and Jia in the rain and the mass burial, but that was about it.

The romantic scenes failed to stir any on-screen chemistry between the lead actor Murad (Asad Zaman) and the lead actress Jia (Rabia Butt). Photo: Hijrat Facebook page

The story revolves around the life of Murad, living the ideal life in Istanbul, but his life takes a complete U-turn. His mother’s last wish was that he visits Quetta and works for an NGO that caters to Afghan refugees. This major transition in Murad’s life is down-right ludicrous and it honestly leaves the audience confused. You’re likely to lose your focus by the time Murad leaves Turkey for Quetta.

The story revolves around the life of Murad, living the ideal life in Istanbul. Photo: Hijrat Facebook page

Usually, the evolution of the protagonist strengthens the plot of the movie, but in Hijrat, the plot remains stagnant and evokes no emotions within the audience.

Also starring in the movie are versatile actors such as Nadeem Baig, Jamal Shah, and Ayub Khoso, sharing the screen with Saima Baloch, Zeb Rehman, Durdana Butt and Mahjabeen. Despite the inclusion of the aforementioned star studded cast, Hijrat lacks in captivating its viewers.

The movie progresses in the midst of confusion and neither of our questions are answered. One of the most puzzling aspects is the ambiguous relationship between Murad and Jia. When it finally seems their chemistry will flourish, we stumble upon a second girl, Mahi (Rubab Ali).

How is she connected to Murad? That’s another question added to the list.

As the movie progresses, questions keep increasing rather than being answered. Photo: Hijrat Facebook page

The characterisation is too clichéd, it feels more like a sappy soap opera. The songs of the movie do not compliment the story line at all. It felt that they were forced into the movie to provide entertainment, but miserably failed.  The chorography in Brand Chor was below par, but we can say that Ujaar Basti Fegaar Rahain sung by Rahat fateh Ali Khan has a lovely rhythm to it. The item song Chali Re Chali featuring Sana is a fast-paced song where she shows a lot of skin in an attempt to duplicate Mathira and Mehwish Hayat in Main Hoon Shahid Afridi and Na Maloom Afraad.

Hijrat is anything but great. Director Faroq Mengal should be given credit for his earnest effort though. However, a stronger plot, cohesive scenes and finer chemistry between the characters could have made it a better watch. Believe me; you won’t be missing out much if you don’t watch Hijrat.

muhammad.omar.iftikhar

Muhammad Omar Iftikhar

The author is a freelance writer and blogger and writes for various English dailies of Pakistan. He tweets @omariftikhar (twitter.com/omariftikhar)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.