There is a loser (Sheheryar Munawwar) who doesn’t want to commit to a relationship. His ‘friend’ from abroad (Maya Ali) falls in love with him in the first meeting. A couple of friends (Ahmad Ali Butt, Zara Noor Abbas) want to see them happy together. That’s the central plot of Paray Hut Love and also that of Four Weddings & A Funeral. Director Asim Raza’s latest is a well-shot affair but why was it lifted from the British classic is a mystery. More importantly, why veteran theatre actor and journalist Imran Aslam chose to localize the Hugh Grant flick isn’t known. Yes, they have done a good job but only for those who hadn’t seen the 1994 classic.
There Are Some Good Things in Paray Hut Love …
You can’t expect bad cinematography from Asim Raza; not only is he an architect by training but a perfectionist by nature. He knows how to make a frame look stunning be it in Karachi, Azad Kashmir or Turkey. Visually his film ranks as one of the best Pakistani films of all time. Same goes for the songs that have been chartbusters ever since their release. Composed by Azaan Sami Khan and Saad Sohail, every song is well-put and easy to the ears. They have been filmed like any Bollywood song and makes you dance on each one of them, such is their impression.
Pakistan’s true picture was presented …
From Parsi weddings to grand mehndi’s, Paray Hut Love had it all that happens in Pakistan. Although every other character that gets married is relegated to a secondary role, they stay in the story. You get to see how Pakistani weddings are and for people abroad, that’s nothing short of a treat. Add traveling to different places, and you get a perfect flick that makes you want to take a break. Be it Azad Kashmir, Turkey or Karachi, everywhere the characters go, looks beautiful and scenic. However, the cameo of mobile snatchers isn’t something any Karachi person would be proud of.
And then there was the ‘inspiration’
To take inspiration from a Hollywood film isn’t uncommon in Pakistan but to use the same jokes and dialogues, that’s new. In Paray Hut Love, you get to hear jokes that made Four Weddings & A Funeral a hit. Had it been done subtly it would have been acceptable but to use ‘meet my fiancé’ to shock the audience and ‘Charles died 20 years ago’ to make them laugh was too uncreative to be true. Same goes for the shopping spree for the wedding, the breakup, the cold feet among other things that are common in the East and the West.
Finally, the performances, including the leading pair!
The flick belongs to Sheheryar Munawwar who carries it on his shoulders; Paray Hut Love gives him margin to perform. Maya Ali shares the burden by looking radiant and beautiful at the same time. Zara Noor Abbas in her debut flick stands out because of the innocence in her character she uses well. Ahmad Ali Butt upstages all whenever he is around just as he always does in a film. Zara Noor Abbas and Ahmad Ali Butt look great together and one hopes to see them more often, together. There is Nadeem Sahib in an influential role which is one of the highlights of the film. All the other cameos including a special one will keep the audience engaged, Asim Raza’s way. On the whole, Paray Hut Love is a good addition to Pakistani cinema. It would have been great had it not borrowed so much from the British classic and kept its own identity.