There are three types of Pakistani films nowadays: the really good ones that you would actually like to spend money on (Moor, Manto, Actor in Law). Then there are the mediocre ones that are neither good nor bad but you watch to give them the benefit of doubt (Balu Mahi, Zindagi Kitni Haseen Hay, Lahore Se Aagey). Then there are films that are so terrible that even the thought of viewing them can send you to the ICU (Thora Jee Le).
Sahir Lodhi’s Raasta has created a league of its own as it doesn’t fit in any of those categories. The film is brilliant and ridiculous; it’s hilarious yet tragic at the same time. It’s one of those films that you know will be terrible but you absolutely cannot miss the experience of seeing Lodhi in a film that has been written and directed by him.
We don’t want to discuss the technical flaws in the film too much (the poorly written dialogues reminiscent of Bollywood films in the 90s, the sound glitches where the audio and video weren’t synced correctly, the amateur colour grading where the white balance was usually forgotten about, and the awful over and under acting displayed by everyone in the film) because we weren’t expecting the film to be technically sound to begin with. Nor are we interested in talking about the plot since it was nothing new or innovative. There were certain strange things that we noticed in the film and we would like to raise some questions about them.
Why are people in the film always spitting at each other?
Ever since we have seen the film, we have been wondering about this. Lodhi spits at his enemies when they’re alive; he spits on them after he kills them. His cronies spit on his attackers, the attackers spit at Lodhi when they corner him. Too bad we weren’t keeping track of the number of spits that take place in the film, but you know you’ve gone overboard with the exchange of saliva when it’s being written about in your film’s review.
Why does Lodhi keep crying even after becoming the biggest villain in the city?
We understand that Lodhi is an emotional man and it would be an insult to his theatrics if we thought that his film wouldn’t be an emotional rollercoaster from hell. But still, a crying don isn’t what we had in mind when we saw Lodhi’s gold-streaked mane and complete transformation in the second half of the film. Whenever Lodhi approaches people to confront or intimidate them, it always ends up with the actor breaking out in tears. Our guess is that Lodhi is trying to remove the stigma attached to men not being allowed to cry. A man can be a badass and a cry-baby all at the same time.
Why are Sameer (played by Lodhi) and Sherry (Naveed Raza) always in each other’s face, literally?
If this was a Hollywood film then you’d be forgiven for thinking that these two characters would end up together. It would make even more sense (to us) if Sherry was a vamp. We can think of a male hero and female villain couple like that: Christian Bale and Marion Cotillard in The Dark Knight Rises. But why are Sameer and Sherry so close to each other’s face all the time? Whenever either of them approaches the other, they usually come close enough for their noses to touch, probably as a way to intimidate each other. It’s us who get intimidated; this is a little too close for comfort guys.
Did Sahir Lodhi just try to become Batman?
Speaking of The Dark Knight Rises, we couldn’t help but notice how Lodhi tries to be Batman in Raasta. In the second half of the film, Lodhi basically goes rogue after a tragic incident takes place in his life. Call it his ‘rebirth’ if you will. He turns his life around and decides to become a don, but he’s a likable don, in the sense that he only kills the bad guys but he breaks a lot of laws while doing it. When he’s being talked about in the media, reporters wonder who this mysterious vigilante is; should he be called a hero or is he a villain? Ring any bells?
Also, Lodhi tries to be like Shah Rukh Khan (big surprise) in Farhan Akhtar’s remake of the classic, Don. He is basically Don who is also Batman. Lodhi really tried to live out all his childhood fantasies.
What was Sahir Lodhi thinking?
The biggest question that arises after sitting through the two hours of hilarity is this: what indeed was Sahir Lodhi thinking? Did he not see the film? Aijaz Aslam’s underacting was shocking; isn’t he supposed to be a good actor? Sana’s performance made us wonder what she has been doing in the film industry all this time. Naveed Raza’s flaring and shivering nostrils were extremely annoying and we wish he wasn’t in the film. Why couldn’t Shamoon Abbasi have more screen time as he was the only fun and believable actor in the film? Why did we do this to ourselves? Why did we watch Raasta? These questions and more continue to arise in our minds but we will never get closure. If you think you can help answer some of them, then please go watch the film.