Karachi Se Lahore has a mostly male cast. But are the men filmi enough?Culture
Wajahat Rauf’s rom-com Karachi Se Lahore has several things going for it – a story that is unique to its local audience; endearing characters and solid performances from the entire cast.
What's also interesting is that there are only two female actresses in major roles in the movie – Ayesha Omar and Mantaha Maqsood – but the director feels that a male-dominant cast is not a bad thing.
So here's a look at the men of Karachi Se Lahore — do they warrant all the space they've been given?
Ever since this kid of Javed Sheikh’s made his debut in a drink commercial a few years ago he's been touted as a filmstar. Even though he wasn’t very convincing as a villain in his debut flick Main Hoon Shahid Afridi, Karachi Se Lahore gives him the chance to prove his mettle. As the out-of-luck Zaheem, he is overshadowed by his colleagues in the comic scenes but he has the last laugh as he edges them out in the serious ones. His speech and dialogue delivery when emotionally charged show him at his very best. He is this film's best discovery and with proper guidance from Daddy Dearest, he could be looking at a long career in filmdom.
It wouldn’t be wrong to say that Yasir Hussain as Moti is the film's scene stealer. The actor, who also penned the script, may not have kept the best lines for himself but delivers them in a way that makes him stand out. He stutters his way from Karachi to Lahore but doesn't let his tic hold him back — instead of viewing his slight speech impediment as a problem he likes to believe that he thinks before he speaks. Who couldn't warm up to that attitude? Even his stale jokes are saved by his accent and delivery; his fur cap adds to the humourous effect. In order to prepare for the role of Moti, he refused to watch Na Maloom Afraad in which one of the characters also stutters. Talk about dedication!
We all have a friend who (thinks he) is the coolest of ‘em all; Ahmed Ali is that dude in this film. He portrays his character with finesse; his dialogue delivery is exactly like that of a friend who is sincere but doesn’t want to show it. He comes in second to Yasir Hussain's performance and puts all his theatre training to use. His first film Siyaah made him recognizable to the audience but his cameo in Tamanna disappointed many. Through Karachi Se Lahore, Ahmed’s Sam will become a household character and propel him into the big league of dependable actors.
In his first major film role since Khuda Kay Liye (not counting Bollywood’s Baby), Rasheed Naz delivers a power-packed performance as the Pathan driver who loves to tell stories. His Khan sahib character has an eye for cute guys and that’s a subplot that results in the catchiest song of the soundtrack 'Tutti Frutti'. It’s always a treat to watch the veteran act, be it on TV or the big screen and here he has some of the best dialogues to add to his towering presence.
He may have been the first actor who was cast for the film but Javed Sheikh gets less screen time than the youngsters, including his son Shehzad. In his limited presence, he plays father to Ayesha Omer and her kid brother Aashir Wajahat, travels for pleasure, not only matches the dance steps of Mantaha Maqsood (a fitness instructor in real life) but also lip syncs to Ali Hamza’s vocals. Wow!
The director’s kid is amazing in most scenes and delivers his lines with conviction. He can be termed as one of the three people on whose comic timing the fate of the film rests – the others being Yasir and Ahmed. Be it the scene where the trio asks the owners of Jeepu for the keys or the one where he informs his friends about the mela, Zeezoo was as good as he was needed to be.
Veteran actors Hashim Butt (Malik Uncle), Nazar Hussain (Seth) and Noor ul Hassan (Police Officer) along with theatre artists Usman Ali Khan ‘Otto’ (Motel Manager), Mohsin Ejaz (Chaudhary The Guard) and Yasir Taj (Security Guard) have cameos in the film. Producer/Director Wajahat Rauf (Sindhi Landlord) and the guys behind the amazing soundtrack Ali Noor and Ali Hamza (Sound Engineers at the wedding) also appearon screen and act really well. Fahad Ahmed (Timmy, the bridegroom) appeared in a couple of scenes but his character seemed heavily inspired from the groom in 3 Idiots.
In short — most of the men in Karachi Se Lahore proved their mettle. We're looking forward to even more.
Omair Alavi is a freelance journalist who loves film, food, sports and history. He tweets @omair78 and can be contacted at [email protected]