22nd July 2018

How Mahemir Entertained & Disdained Me

Not looking to bog you down with a diagnostic movie review of Mahemir here, as you might have read that at length somewhere  by now. Just sharing a friendly take on it, bieng an avid “reviving Lollywood” watcher. So yes, Mahemir is finally in cinemas after making us wait two long years since it’s first teaser was screened.

Call it a flaw in the screenplay or it’s very essence, the story-line is either intentionally or unintentionally presented in a way that no two people can perceive  and conclude it in the exact same manner. Maybe it just so happened haphazardly in an attempt to sew the gaps between the parallel sub-plots or it methodically was planted this way. End product nonetheless comes out to be open to various interpretations. Let me tell you how I see it:

1. Iman Ali as the mysterious lower middle-class, new era girl was certainly captivating and surreal. Jamal (Fahad Mustafa as a modern day Urdu poet) sums up her aura for a friend, commenting that how all the feminine beauty around him, unlike ‘the mysterious girl’, is not under the veil, blatantly on display, and yet fails to intoxicate him. He gasps “ Mujhe inn mein se koi dikhaayi nhi deti…” – “I fail to see any of these women, while she holds all my attention though I have only seen her feet, hands and silhouette covered in chaadar.”


As a 17th century courtesan too, Iman Ali is a stunning beauty; only, not convincing at all at that. Her wardrobe is C-grade Mehboob Market stuff. And the unflattering stitching makes you wish iss mulk k saare darzi sharm se marr hi jaayein toh ghaneemat haiNot to forget, the ill-fitted, lose sari blouses of the otherwise aptly dressed Sanam Saeed.


Fahad looks it – both his roles. In fact the 17th century East India men’s wear was pulled off decently in the movie by both the gentlemen. The other one being the Indian actor Aly Khan – a perfect fit and a pleasant watch as a snooty nawab!



2. There are plentiful terminologies that were new to my ears and I was baffled to have learnt about each one of them, such as:

–  Toe Fetishism (Jamal’s friend laughs at him for vividly remembering and being solely attracted to the mysterious beauty’s feet, joking as to how he apparently has a pronounced sexual interest in feet).

–  Consumer Art (poetry and shayri being referred as this form of art in the film at one point suggesting how the joy of writing poetry is but our innate joy. It may or may not inspire others, but it surely inspires ourselves to travel down a new path only we can. A safe path of vivid words.)

–  Property Porn (referring to a genre of magazine features, online media and escapist TV shows that feature posh residences and capitalize on our keen interest in taking a detailed look inside other people’s lavish living rooms.)

3. Agreed, it is a tribute to Mir Taqi Mir and is a comparison of both classical and contemporary views on Urdu poetry, hence a certain high standard of Urdu language was a given that the movie would maintain. But that was overdone to the point where I felt like I am in the middle of a challenging lecture by the second.  And this is coming from someone who passed her A-Levels – Urdu Literature. Also, while the dialogues and poetry could’ve been a ratio of 60:40, the poetry was a much bigger pie as if the film writer was too lazy to devise dialogues and instead found relief in throwing in Mir Taqi Mir ash’aar all over the movie.

4. We laughed. Our row. And the one behind. The one behind that too. Okay the one in front of ours as well. A chorus of laughter. No, wasn’t an intentional comical scene but it strangely amused us all to no end.

The scene where Jamal visits his mentor’s place in the wee hour of the night only to find the old gentleman in a three-piece suit as always saying his signature dialogue yet again: HAVE A DRINK in his peculiar, 60s Hollywood inspired accent and pitch.

Soon enough after the heated discussion his heart seizes and so does he. The momentum with which the heart attack got the better of him and above all the very reason of it was funny to death and back for the entire lot present in that cinema hall.

Jamal basically ticked him off LITERALLY …. to DEATH, constantly inquiring how the gentleman managed to summarize ” Mir ki vehshat” – the depression and despair of Mir Taqi Mir, in his newly published book.  Poor old fellow tried hard in keeping his calm till the point Jamal challenged him: “Ap is vehshat k zaaiqay se mehroom hain” – “You’re unfortunate to not quite know the taste of despair.”

Too funny. All his outrageous facial expressions and roaring angry voice.

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5. The older couple moments were a breezer and it brought me to tears on an occasion or two!

Iman and  Fahd, struck with unattainable love, are magical! Their  pull towards each other is VERY well etched and enacted. It stirred me up immensely, especially through the strong, soulful, power packed songs! Too hot to handle.



6. I know exactly what category of skin issues each of the stars have and how many pimples they’re waiting to get rid of and how many skin pores they have tried filling in with concealers to no avail. Why? Because our camera lens are way too unflattering, and unforgiving.

We are certainly working up our way to quality cinema and all our efforts are in the right direction. If only we bring in technology  to make it all look good on screen. All that we have to flaunt – our good-looking, talented artists and highly competent film makers’ work that is! For now it feels like we’re watching a local TV drama on a bigger screen.

7. Horrid mujras! Infact, why even call it mujra and demean the classical art? Iman did not bother performing one. Just kept sporting her cleavage. Would’ve looked tasteful, had her so called anarkalis, and peshwas were not two sizes bigger on her. Nevertheless, her beauty is unquestionable, in this movie, especially.

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So yes, some sweet and dumb junior of hers in the movie was struggling through the songs like a dis-oriented third grader would while her first school tableau performance as the colour of her sleeves bled and stained her under arms. Gggrrr….

She was so disconnected with the situation that it felt like someone is foolishly dancing in their room to Abida Parween’s LIVE Sufi performance  going on miles away.

About Fatma Khalil 10 Articles
Made of faith, spirituality, madness, humour.

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