The magic of cinema is making the audience empathise with the character, no matter how unique the circumstances.If you can reach this level, you have made a great movie. This was a golden rule I learned many years back and when the credits rolled up for Anjuman, I was merely surprised at how it surpassed all my expectations for a film I was looking least forward to. Anjuman is produced by Hassan Zia, directed brilliantly by Yasir Nawaz, written by Zanjabeel Asim Shah (supervised by Noor-ul-Huda Shah) and Starting Sara Loren (Anjuman), Imran Abass, Aly Khan, Iffat Umar, Sohai Ali Abro and many others.
At its heart Anjuman is a film about a courtesan’s life who wants to sever herself from the bonds of her circumstances, but she finds she has no control over her own destiny. It’s a story not only of love and passion but also makes the viewer ponder our hypocritical and societal description of what makes a pious person or as Anjuman puts it, “shareef insaan koon hota hai? “
The plot of the story is kept true to the original for most part except we are in 21st century and the tale is molded to suit today’s audience.We are introduced to the peaceful home of Asif (Imran Abass) who is devoted to nando (Sohai Ali Abro), his beloved Bhabhis (Zarin) sister and his cousin. Asifs brother, Wajahat (played spectacularly by Aly Khan) and Zari (Iffat Umar); have raised him like their son.It is established in the very first few scenes that they are a tight knit family. Aly Khan on his way back from work often comes across the pimps seeking the rich and the elite for the local courtesans and he is merely disgusted by them. Asif along with Anjuman attends an urban college and she is a source of fascination or infuriation for many students, as she dresses like a 60s heroine and is the subject of many jokes and pranks that they have no shame in playing on her. During one of these frequent pranks her Duppata is stolen and is paraded around school. Asif sees the situation as taking it too far and he gets into a fistfight with his own friends in order to save Anjuman from any farther humiliation. This mere act of kindness awakens a very soft spot for Asif in Anjuman’s heart and she falls in love. However fate has other plans for her and while performing one of the required mujras in order to gain money, young boys from college spot her and along with Asif take pictures of her that are widely distributed around school.This leaves Anjuman humiliated, angry and wounded, leading to her disappearance. As Asif’s older brother one day is passing by the Khota he is taken aback by Anjuman’s boldness as she questions his sharafat and bulandi. He becomes a frequent visitor to Anjuman ‘s Khota which leads to Zarin suspecting he has another women in his life. In order to save his older brother’s marriage Asif decides to frequent Anjuman’s as an “exchange” or a “bahi for a bahi” demanded by Anjuman, although being in love with Nando. The rest of the film explores the relationship between Anjuman and Asif and who will at the end, be defeated at hands of destiny and fate.Will love and passion become a bigger force and drive away the clouds of Anjuman’s past ?
Being really honest, for me, Sara Loren was nothing more then a plastic Barbie doll. However by playing Anjuman so passionately and presenting her emotions, be it her looking longingly at Asif in the library or with the fiery and burning accusation in her eyes as she confronts Asif, Miss Loren truly has proved that she is more then just a pretty face. She was to me the star of the film. To garner a sympathy for characters like that of Anjuman is not that hard but taking your viewer to an emotional ride and making them ponder and care so deeply about the outcome of that one character till the end is a hallmark of a great actress and a wonderful director. The other surprise to me was Iffat Umar. How I had missed her on our screens and she played the supporting character of the bhabhi so gracefully and without making it seem over the top. Aly Khan is a seasoned actor and he played a subdued negative role to perfection. Meanwhile the short appearance by Sohai Ali Abro proved that she could be a vital assest to film industry. My biggest problem I guess was Imran Abass because he lacks those emotive expressions and every character he plays, he inputs the same types of emotion making his acting seem monotone at times. Also it didn’t help much and didn’t escape my notice that he looked a bit younger then Sara Loren. However since he performed relatively well, there isn’t much to complain at this point.
One thing I really want to praise Anjuman for is, the ability to take audience on a ride without stopping over. It didn’t falter or slowed down and the plot even though might be predictable at points was kept charged and running due to finely etched characters and deeply touching dialogues written brilliantly by Zanjabeel Asim Shah. Yasir Nawaz, I have nothing more to say that you indeed are a brilliant director. Anjuman remains my favorite telefilm out of all the Tarang films to far( though Abhi tak to main Jawan hoon was a pleasant surprise tool). It didn’t disappoint and provided full entertainment through and through. I know many have complained about the boldness and picturization of the song, however film is a different medium and TV dramas are a different medium. Film is meant to have some garam masala and some boldness, some element of fantasy in it. In the meanwhile I will go back and listen Dil Dharke and get lost in my own world…
My ratings for the movie: