‘Arth- The Destination’: Was The Film Lost In Execution? Did Shaan Shahid Take Too Much On?
One main reason for Verna’s landing even before takeoff is that Shoaib Mansoor wore too many hats and here too Shaan is not only the script writer of the Mahesh Bhatt 1982 remake, he is also the director and the lead male actor.
The film revolves around four main characters, Shaan Shahid (Ali) a musician of yesteryear, Humaima Malik (Humaima) a vivacious superstar, Mohib Mirza (Omer), a film director and Uzma Hassan(Uzma), Omer’s wife and a writer in her own right. The storyline of Arth-The Destination is more apt and in-period now than it must have been in 1982 when it was released in Bollywood.
Uzma is the perfect housewife, waiting for her husband to come home for a hot meal, but longing for a child after eight years of marriage and trusting her husband’s work as a film director in a glamorous world. Omer, her husband, though, is cheating on her with Humaima, who is a demanding and attention seeking celebrity, teetering on the edge.
Ali, a singer who has returned from London is trying to make a comeback in the music industry; his self-esteem is literally crushed under the heels of others, in many scenes during the first half of the film, especially when he is humiliated on a talk-show where he was invited as a guest by the channel.
It was difficult to judge who performed better than the other, but director Shaan doesn’t do justice to the talent that exists in Humaima Malik, and Mohib Mirza and it would be fair to say that it is highly underutilised. Humaima’s role throughout the film was of a seductive, sexy actress suffering from schizophrenia. She is shown most of the time either in a tub taking a hot bath or wearing sultry costumes during her shoots or other intimate scenes with Omer in the bedroom and in the car. It was only during the very last scenes in the film, that one sees the power of her dialogue delivery and acting when she and Uzma come face to face. It is obvious that the director has successfully tried to bring in the commercial value to the film via Humaima and ignored her as a talented artist.
Mirza’s character in the film though holds a trump card as he should have been the protagonist of Arth-The Destination. His betrayal of his loving wife, beating her to an extent that she lacerates her feet in one of the scenes, and his futile effort in the end to make a comeback makes him the hero of the film, but the director Shaan let the actor Shaan take that title. Mirza was nothing but a confused, weak and a helpless person who could not decide who he loved more, Uzma his wife or Humaima his lover. Uzma Hassan’s acting was flawless and spontaneous but some scenes fall into the over-acting category. Shaan tried his best to be in most of the scenes in this two-hour plus, long and unnecessarily dragging film — that was overkill.
The music score gets the highest marks in Arth-The Destination and the credit goes to Sahir Ali Bhagga with Rahat Fateh Ali contributing two hit numbers including Sanwar De Khudaya. Ronay De by Shair Ali Bhagga and Murshed Jee by the duo were mesmerising as well as entertaining. Choreographed by Luke Rocheleau, Murshed Jee managed to cast a magical spell over the audience. A special appearance by Rahat Feteh Ali in the concert along with Shaan captured the chemistry between the two during the song. The lip-syncing, cinematography, ambience, and the treatment were all too good to be true and perfectly captured by the camera deserves a big round of applause.