Parey Hut Love: A love fest worth indulging in

 Parey Hut Love: A love fest worth indulging in

Sadiq Saleem reviews Asim Raza's film and gives it a thumbs up

By Sadiq Saleem

Published: Thu 8 Aug 2019, 4:54 PM

Last updated: Sat 10 Aug 2019, 4:32 PM

Imagine yourself taking a walk in an art gallery that showcases diverse paintings and, as you walk towards an artwork, you try to decipher the meaning behind it. Then you come across something more colourful, vibrant and made on a life-size canvas, which you immediately want to buy and mount on the most prominent wall in your house. Parey Hut Love is that piece in the Pakistani cinema gallery. Some onlookers may not find it intelligent enough, but for most viewers, it is still going to serve the purpose. It makes the wall look beautiful. It elevates an otherwise plain backdrop. Asim Raza, who is the brand-guru of Pakistani advertising, holds the brush here and runs his strokes really well. He sticks to his forte of creating a work that resonates with the public, just like his ads.
The story is episodic in format with the lead cast taking centerstage, except for the last part in which one 'superstar' dominates. I haven't watched Four Weddings and a Funeral, which the plot of PHL was touted to be loosely based on; but the film surely has many weddings and a funeral too. The plot revolves around the unending struggles of an actor in creating his own space in the industry and the weddings are just the 'events' taking place in his life where he gets to meet his love interest. Is it overwhelming to watch so many weddings in a span of two hours? No. Could we do with one wedding less? Yes. There is a Parsi wedding as well and it is interesting to see how that community, and its culture (such as Haft-sheen and Nauroz), has been given a respectable space. Prior to this, we have seen only daruwalas and baatliwalas creating a ruckus in the name of comic relief in Bollywood films. There are some minor loopholes though. The plot comes full circle when fate brings Maya to the same place where Sherry once was. At that point, you cannot help but feel sorry for Sheheryar because of a tough decision he has to make.
Imran Aslam is a veteran and his writing is always sharp. In Imran's script, Faiz walks hand in hand with Pablo Neruda. There are witty one-liners, and there is enough food for thought in his writing. For instance, his take on how reading books have become an outdated passion. To balance the dose served for the intelligentsia, he shifts gears and goes completely massy and dishes out situations like 'mein taaray gin rahi thi'. He takes a dig by adding a 'Meera-joke' and few punchlines on foreign aid and IMF - that satire looked a bit out of place. 
The film, undoubtedly, belongs to Sheheryar Munawar. There is one scene where Sherry goes on his knees and proposes to Maya while an unfortunate incident takes place in the house. That moment will compel you to stand up and applaud Sheheryar's performance. After all, a hero crying out loud is such a rarity in Lollywood and kudos to Sherry for dropping his inhibitions for that scene. Also, check his under-confident body language when he meets his idol and writer Nadeem Baig. He plays a rookie with dreams in his eyes perfectly.
Maya acts well but you have seen her in similar roles before. She is brutal when she turns away from Sherry; vulnerable when she is looking for love again. Because it's a rom-com, you get both bittersweet moments as the duo negotiate the rocky curves of a relationship.
The supporting cast doesn't quite match up. Zahra Noor Abbas deserved a much meatier role. Perhaps going forward, she should be more careful with the roles she selects. She seems too inspired by her aunt Bushra Ansari and does imitate her mannerisms often. Ahmed Butt does a good job but there is nothing here that we have not already seen before. When you have half the industry in your film, you can only expect to indulge in star-spotting. Everyone - from Jimmy Khan to Rachel Viccaji to Shahbaz Shigri to Frieha Altaf - has a very short screen time. Parisheh James, who debuts with this film, looks stunning and you must take note of her expressions when she sees Meera for the first time at her wedding.  She plays a star-struck millennial well. Hina Dilpazeer is hilarious and Nadeem Baig is great as always. A special shoutout to Umar Sayeed for his costumes.
The film, however, would have been incomplete without Mahira Khan. Her role is more than a mere cameo. She is such a diva in the film, an attitude, which I feel, she must adopt in her real life as well because her humility does put her in uncomfortable situations.
As Fawad Khan says in the film, 'Logon ko maza karao, jeena mat sikhao' (Let people enjoy, don't teach them how to live), this is the path which Asim has chosen this time - definitely a safe bet.
Asim's message in the film is subtle. Give love its own sweet time; what is yours will always come back to you and like everything in the world, love too needs closure. It's a great cinematic experience with a few dips; overall, the canvas is just too luminous to notice them.
Parey Hut Love
Director: Asim raza
Cast: Sheheryar Munawar, Maya Ali

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