If you’re making a film spanning nearly three hours, you better come up with something that’s going to keep viewers riveted to their seats, but director Anjum Shahzad’s ‘Mah-e-Mir’ falls short of that.
It will join the ranks of ‘Moor’, ‘Dukhtar’, and ‘Manto’ as a significant experimental venture in Pakistani cinema history; but don’t expect entertainment in the category of ‘Bachaana’ or ‘Jawani Phir Nahi Aani’.
Urdu poetry lovers will find hearing the couplets of Mir Taqi Mir a treat, even though the pronunciation jars at times. For most of the new generation however, it’s almost an alien language that would have to be decoded – thanks to the sad neglect of Urdu literature in our education system where it has been substituted with the O’ level version of ‘Asaan Urdu’.
The film is replete with beautiful frames, and each frame that has Iman Ali in it, becomes more beautiful, but if you’re expecting great histrionics prepare to be disappointed. Let’s just say she’s the perfect model for the period costumes.
Fahad Mustafa, in the dual role of Mir and troubled contemporary journalist who refuses to sell his soul for financial gain, has put in hard work, but his acting still lacks finesse, and getting into the skin of a character is a skill that still needs to be honed.
So, if you’re in search of entertainment over the weekend, this marathon trip into a bygone era, in juxtaposition with moral dilemmas of the present day may not exactly be your cup of tea, though meaningful cinema it certainly is.