Filmmakers around the world and particularly in South Asia have a fascination with the institute of family. Every year dozens of films that explore this social institution are produced across the film-making world. Most of these offerings, however opt for a dramatic narrative supplemented with an overdose of emotionally volatile characters. It is rare then, to come across a family-focused film that entirely divorces melodrama in favour of a realistic depiction of life as it is. Cake, certainly stands tall among those few family-focused films that dare to be different.
What Is Cake About?
Cake is about a small, dysfunctional family that comprises of an elderly couple and their two, thirty-something daughters.
The younger daughter, Zara (played by Sanam Saeed) moved out of the house and the country many years ago leaving the elder daughter, Zareen (Aamina Sheikh) as the metaphorical head-of-the-family. A deterioration in their father’s health forces Zara to return to Karachi.
From this point onward the narrative explores the good, the bad and even the subtly ugly that encapsulate the relationships between the layered protagonists.
What Deserves a Shout-out?
First and foremost, Asim Abbasi, the director deserves a huge round of applause! As a debutante he has out done himself. He ensures that his final product is a well-rounded family film that does not lose sight of reality in favour of unnecessary glamour or melodrama. His vision for Cake is vividly conspicuous in every frame.
Abbasi’s endeavours are wonderfully complimented by the highly talented star cast. Sanam Saeed and Aamina Sheikh lend immense credibility to their complicated and emotionally conflicted characters, flawlessly transitioning from one mood to the next.
What Could Have Been Better?
From a purely commercial aspect perhaps, a little less English could have helped the film have a mass appeal. However, the director’s vision was to remain loyal to the socio-cultural background of his characters and any compromises might have derailed the narration. Thus, in the end, even though Cake might cater for a niche market, but it will sufficiently sate those who watch it.
Pakistan film industry, although still in its emerging stages is coming out with a steady stream of big screen offerings that are far superior to the mainstream content produced by other South Asian giants. Cake stands tall among the films that Pakistan can rightly take pride in and showcase for a wider, international audience.
Go! Watch! NOW!