This movie had been on my must-watch list since it was announced so you can imagine the excitement I felt as I walked in the cinema to finally watch it. Was it worth it? Well…
Mah-e-Mir goes back and forth in time, portraying the lifetime of the legendary Urdu poet Mir Taqi Mir and a modern day, struggling poet Jamal, both played by Fahad Mustafa. Like Mir during his time, Jamal refuses to alter his style of poetry to suit modern taste.
However, the main theme of the film is not the falling standard of art in Pakistan. Neither is it about our society’s failure to recognize artistic genius. It is the importance for a poet to find his muse, the inspiration that would stir the madness within. It is up to the poet, however, to reconcile with that madness and turmoil of soul or to push it away. The former would make him immortal, the latter would turn his madness into a demon that ultimately eats him up. The tagline of the movie sums up the entire concept: Embrace Your Madness.
This incredible concept, however, is not put forward very successfully. For most of the first half of the movie, the viewer remains clueless about where the movie is heading, one of the major reasons being the lack of proper editing. Countless scenes consist of characters offering to take the other for tea or coffee in either the Eastern Tea House or some other fancy Bohemian café and Naina Kanwal (Sanam Saeed), an ‘anti-ghazal’, modern female poet lurking around Jamal trying to put him down somehow, makes the movie seem repetitive. It only becomes interesting once Mir’s era is juxtaposed with the modern one.
I am not too well versed in poetry and I cannot say whether Mir’s life has been portrayed accurately or not. What I do know about Mir Taqi Mir’s character is that he was arrogant, a poet who knew his genius and looked down upon all those who didn’t understand his greatness. Going by this information, I found Fahad Mustafa’s portrayal of Mir perfect. He outshines all others. It is pretty clear that he worked hard on his diction as most of the dialogues in the movie are in extremely difficult Urdu.
Mehtab, Jamal’s neighbor and a courtesan in Mir’s time who fell in love with him was played by the gorgeous Iman Ali. Considering that she was both Mir and Jamal’s Muse, there is no character development AT ALL and the chemistry between Fahad Mustafa and her is non-existent because their relationship has hardly been portrayed. A character with great potential, wasted.
Iman Ali was as big a disappointment as her character. Even her tremendous beauty could not compensate for the poor dialogue delivery, bad diction and plastic expressions.
Sanam Saeed clearly struggled with her dialogues. She tried to adopt a classical Urdu accent and it sounded forced. Her acting however was amazing as ever. Naina’s character is multi-layered, and Sanam subtly brought them all forth.
Others in the cast include Manzar Sehbai as Dr Kareem, a critic with a tormented past and Alyy Khan as Nawab Sahab in Mir’s era, both of whom did justice to their roles.
The sets were pretty amazing but the costumes were far from it. Choreography is poor. The songs are fitting for a movie about classical poetry but none will stick with you.
Directors: Anjum Shehzad and Sarmad Sehbai
Writer: Sarmad Sehbai
Verdict: A treat for all the lovers of Urdu poetry and of course, Mir Taqi Mir.
I’ll rate it 3/5.
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