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Armaan 2013-Telefilm Review

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The problem with remakes is that they are never quite good enough . It's like your mother's cooking , she may have been the worst cook in the world but eating her food made you feel good . I deliberately avoided watching the original to see if this tele film could stand on its own , after all that was a different time, a different world. South Asian Cinema be it Bollywood or Lollywood has come a  long way since then, but there is one thing that hasn't changed : we expect our films to have a heart, a big sloppy heart  . Cool , real world styles are for Goras and documentaries. By the end of a desi film I expect to have been taken on a roller coaster ride of fun , romance , heartbreak and the odd suicide . I also don't need loose ends or nuanced endings , I need to know they either died in misery or lived happily ever after , philosophical and open ended climaxes will result in a brick and or chair thrown at the screen . By those metrics Armaan delivered on every level.

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The opening sequence engages the viewer immediately both emotionally and visually setting up the story premise effortlessly. Armaan(Fawad Khan) is a spoiled rich boy , brought up by his grandfather after the tragic death of both his parents . The pictures of  Waheed Murad (the hero of the original movie ) in the background  as Armaan's late father were a nice touch ; paying homage to the original but not tying the story down to a slavish copy . The family lawyer has just found  a letter from Armaan's father expressing a wish that Armaan consider the daughter of an old friend when he decides to marry. The grandfather feels this might help settle the fun loving Armaan and sends for Armaan's manager and friend Danny (Vasay Chaudhry) to help arrange this . Armaan however has his eyes set on  a pretty girl who makes a fool of him at a wedding .When the two friends find out both the rishta and the girl from the wedding live in Murree they decide to kill two birds with one stone . Here is the perfect chance to find the girl who played a joke on Armaan  and please his grandfather by making a perfunctory  visit to his father's friend's house. When the girl form the wedding turns out to be the older sister of the intended "rishta' and  Armaan's decides to swap roles with his manager / friend Danny: the complications begin.

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Fawad Khan is one of our very best actors and he proved it again in this role . I am so used to seeing him as "  the drama husband with issues " that it almost came as a surprise to see him this care free, mischievous role. He was very believable and natural, despite the over the top role, keeping  us glued to the screens.A movie , even a tele film, is different from a drama in that you have to get the message across to the viewer in a short span of time ,with greater intensity and without becoming overbearing . Not every actor/ actress can do this but Fawad manages to bridge that gap with ease.  Having said that I was disappointed Fawad did not sing or even lip sync to Akeyla na jaana, nor did he really dance much in ko ko korina . There did not seem to be much chemistry between him and Amina Shaikh and I really could not see why he was chasing after her in the beginning  but by the second half it seemed more reasonable. Amina is a very good actress but I am not sure if this role was for her, as she seemed too serious in the first half for a young girl and she did not look the part of a girl in her twenties. Her acting is very nuanced and seemed a little too understated  for this kind of role. In my mind it required  a lot more attitude and presence. Amina looked absolutely beautiful in several sequences and her acting was flawless in  the  more serious ,second half of the movie. I was not expecting much of the second couple in this movie as Zartab and Salman but I was pleasantly surprised . Both were extremely watchable and provided just enough depth for the climactic end between the main leads to make sense .Everyone of the actors did a great job , which is one of the hall marks of a good movie.

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Vassey Chauhdry's script was quite simply brilliant and all the changes in the story line just perfect for a modern audience . There were quite a few memorable one liners ! I loved the scene where the grandfather is describing his grandson Armaan as having the looks of a hero and  his prospective mother in law looks skeptically over at Vasay chaudhry pretending to be Armaan .  Fawad and Vassey may well be the best new double act in town . They had the most amazing chemistry and kept me in stitches through out . I guess this is what you might call a bromance and it worked well . I just loved every one of their scenes together.Spoiled ,rich Armaan 's new life as the poor manager was hilarious! The direction was  good , the story moved along at a fast pace and there were no long  scenes . The only complaint I have is with the Ko Ko Korina sequence , which I found confusing and busy . That was a missed opportunity as Vasay Chaudhry had written a really funny scene as a kind of dhamakeydar entry for the hero but it got lost in the mess of colours and noise. I can understand this kind of stuff may still take a little practice but that is why people pay designers and stylists.. If we look at Bollywood or or any other kind of musical, the main protagonists are always subtly defined in our field of vision. I got a headache trying to follow Fawad and Amina in that confusion of colours . Anjum Shehzad has done an otherwise fabulous job of direction. I cannot help but miss those wonderfully intimate scenes that Sarmad Khoosat somehow creates but Anjum Shezaad's control of the narrative and the great editing in  this movie made up for it .

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The music was good but not as memorable as some of the other movies . There was a time when a movie had to have four or more songs but I am glad we are all gong for quality over quantity. I loved the female version of Akeyle na jaana , Amina looked lovely  and the sequences illustrating the lead couple's feelings for each other were nicely interwoven.  Although a little light in the beginning this was overall  one of the best of the tele films produced so far . I don't want to give away the story but the ending was just perfect (spoiler alert) ...if there is one thing guaranteed to save a girl from suicide it is the sight of Fawad Khan in a  white Sherwani .

four out of five stars for this one ****Screen Shot 2013-05-17 at 1.37.14 PM

written by Sadaf

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