For anyone who loves cinema would know that the 1980’s was a particularly terrible time for movies in South Asia. Low budget action films that made very little sense dominated the theaters. Comedies, social issues and drama was virtually non-existent in most films that were produced in that era.
However, in came the 90’s and catering to the needs of the then Generation X, filmmakers began experimenting with new subjects. As a result, such memorable films as Jeeva, Sargam and Ghunghat became instant favourites with audiences in Pakistan. On the other hand films like Dilwale Dulhaniya Ley Jayegy became game changers for the Indian film industry.
However, even though new filmmakers are striving everyday to broaden the horizon of South Asian cinema, there are still those who refuse to let go of the 80’s legacy. Sahir Lodhi, it seems is one of them!
In Raasta, Sahir Lodhi debuts as not just the “hero” but he also wears the director’s hat. These facts should have been enough to keep us away from the theater but in the spirit of supporting Pakistani cinema, we decided to buy a few tickets anyway. What transpired in the next couple hours was – to put it mildly – mind numbing torture.
The film starts with a battered Sameer (Sahir Lodhi) narrating his life as it was in a flashback. He introduces us to his brother, Sultan, a police officer whose honesty and dedication to his job always comes in the way of his professional growth. Sultan also has a wife, who in line with eastern traditions is the epitome of understanding and moral support.
All seems well with the movie for a while. However, just when you begin to judge yourself for underestimating Sahir Lodhi, his character falls in love and as is the case with all South Asian love stories, there are people – bad people – who come in the way. Thereafter, the film becomes a series of cringe worthy scenes that often demand a reflexive face palm.
That said, since the devil must be given his due, one has to admit that the overall production value is not so bad. The cinematography is actually quite well-done in portions.
The performances are just about average at best. No further explanation is necessary.
The music is one department where the film redeems itself a little. Dil Faqeer is already a favourite on all the radio stations and one has to admit (rather grudgingly) that the song does have a hum-along effect. Mehremaan is another song that will stay with you.
On the whole, Raasta might appeal to the masses given its sufficient doses of exaggerated action sequences, but the film will find it hard to sustain with the multiplex audiences.
Watch it absolutely at your own risk!