By Omair Alavi
When the trailer of Pakistani film Cake was released, people termed it a mixture of Kapoor & Sons, Khoobsurat and Pikubut in reality, Cake is far better than all these films. In fact, once you are done with the film you will realize that there are so many stories in our lives that could do well if translated intelligently on screen. Asim Abbasi, the first time film director, must be commended for raising the bar for Pakistani cinema and even if his film doesn’t do well at the box office, it has won the hearts of all those who have seen it.
Zareen and Zara (Aamina Sheikh and Sanam Saeed) meet after the gap of a few years when their father (Mohammad Ahmed) is hospitalized. While Zareen lives in Karachi and looks after her parents, Zara is settled in England where she works as a banker. The plot thickens when the family visits their ancestral farmhouse in interior Sindh for a family celebration and Zara gets to find out that all is not well in the household. There are skeletons in the closet, a romance that no one knows about and a relative who doesn’t want to spend time in Pakistan. To know their connection, watch the film.
The performance is top notch be it that of the senior actors of the younger ones – in fact, Adnan Malik comes out as a surprise because he excels in the role of Romeo, something that not many were expecting from him. Mohammad Ahmed and Beo Zafar also complimented each other as the aged parents and Aamina, Sanam and Faris looked like their kids in every way, bonding after every fight as if they have been there, done that many times before. It was great to see Mohammad Ahmed in a powerful role, something that suited his stature; had the film been made in India, the role would have gone to Amitabh Bachchan for sure. Beo Zafar’s irritating mother act was also something you don’t get to see on screen and she must do more films so that the audience would know what they were missing.
Aamina Sheikh and Sanam Saeed portray the modern women and excel in their roles even though they are shown to party, to smoke, to drive cars and to look out at their father’s agricultural land. The film’s editing, background score, and cinematography is that of international level and it seems that the director spent a lot of time on both the pre and post production of the film. There is a one-take powerful scene in the movie where all the actors show their potential and win hearts of the audience by being perfect as well as convincing at the same time. Don’t miss that!
Maybe I am backward but reciting Piya Tu Ab To Aaja when one of the elders in the family needs prayers seemed a little over the top, especially for the Pakistani audience. Then there was the use of tape recorder that played Indian songs which weren’t necessary. We have many songs of our own that could have easily fitted the situations but then, the director was new and could be forgiven for that. The pace of the film is slow and there is no interval – an intermission would have helped because the audience gets restless during a film from this region that is two-hour long without a break.
THE VERDICT 4/5
A Pakistani film that gets worldwide release and is hailed by all be it in Karachi or Auckland, that’s how things will change in our cinema industry. Asim Abbasi must be given full points for trying in his own way and bringing forward the positive Sindhi Culture that we only portray in dramas where the wadera is a bad man. Each actor plays a character and maybe that’s why by the time the film ends, people are teary-eyed as well as smiling, simultaneously. It is films like these that will take the Pakistani industry forward and we must promote such cinema instead of the tried and tested people who have done no good in a long time.