Feroze Khan and Sajal Ali
Zindagi Kitni Haseen Hai (ZKHH) is the story of childhood sweethearts Mahira (Sajal Ali) and Zain (Feroze) who later become husband and wife. Zain is a struggling film director and Mahira sacrifices her career as a morning show host to assume the duties of housewife and mum. They have a son DoDo (Jibraiyl Ahmed) who is the center of their universe. Things go terribly wrong when some thugs demand their money back from Zain and it results in a court case, a fight sequence and more tragedy before the matter is finally resolved.
For Pakistani cinema buffs, ZKHH is a breath of fresh air considering what they have already endured in the form of films such as Hijrat, Hotal, Sawaal 700 Crore Dollar Ka, Ishq Positive and Teri Meri Love Story. Sure, the story might seem clichéd, the leading actress a tad too loud and a climax that tends to drag. But there are still more positives here than negatives.
Generally, people associate cheerfulness with Eid releases but it seems Anjum Shahzad wants to change all that. “ZKHH is a family drama about two people in love,” he says. “It is the kind of film that audiences used to love in the past.” Anjum also disclosed that the decision to cast new actors had more to do with the story than popularity. “We want to create superstars – there is no one besides Shaan in Pakistan who can be called a true film star. I’m happy that Sajal and Feroze’s first film was with me and they gave their 100 per cent. ZKHH is family fare that provides you with a chance to both laugh and cry.”
Anjum Shahzad’s Zindagi Kitni Haseen Hai belongs to the genre of films that boasts of Nazrul Islam’s Aaina, Pervez Malik’s Qurbani and Mansoor Khan’s Akele Hum Akele Tum. It tackles post-marital problems and social issues that one rarely sees on screen anymore
ZKHH is packaged as a film, not as a TV drama and it keeps you engrossed till the very end with first-rate visual effects and camerawork, especially the underwater sequence and the roller coaster shots. Writer/producer Abdull Khaaliq Khan must be commended for the impressive dialogue. One might also relate the story with that of the country’s morning show host who is now venturing into the field of acting.
Feroze Khan’s acting is the key to the film’s success. The younger brother of Humaima Malick just needs to polish his dialogue delivery otherwise he is a complete package – good physique, dancing skills and the ability to deliver (and take) a punch.
Sajal Ali looks cool as a mum and later as a TV host, but she has to stop herself from becoming the next Nayyar Sultana. She has yet to prove herself as a versatile actress.
The real star of ZKHH is DoDo, the young Jibraiyl Ahmed who shines in every scene he is in. He makes you laugh and cry when he wants to, something that was missing in Pakistani cinema for a long time. Anjum Shahzad praised his acting, terming it as the highlight of the film. “Jibraiyl has a substantial role in the film and he has done a wonderful job for a kid his age. His parents Ahmed Rajput and Seher are dear friends and his memorable performance was largely due to their support for him during shooting.”
The real star of ZKHH is DoDo, the young Jibraiyl Ahmed who shines in every scene he is in. He makes you laugh and cry when he wants to, something that was missing in Pakistani cinema for a long time. Anjum Shahzad praised his acting, terming it as the highlight of the film.
The film also stars international actor Alyy Khan as a morning show producer who is obsessed with tears. Veteran actor Shafqat Cheema makes his presence felt in the few scenes that he has. However, no reason is given as to why he and his band of ‘brothers’ are dressed like ’80s bikers!
The ZKHH soundtrack also heralds the arrival of Soch the band [Adnan Dhool, Rabbi Ahmed]. It has composed as many as four tracks in the seven-song album, one of which is by Bollywood star Sukhwinder Singh. In Kitni Baar, Sukhwinder’s voice leaves you craving for more. Coke Studio sensation Momina Mustehsan also croons along with Adnan Dhool for the title track while Mustafa Zahid sings slow and fast versions of Udaasiyan for Sohail Haider. There is also Ali Ali (Manqabat) by Udan Khatola which is a situational number and it plays an important part in taking the story forward.
Published in Dawn, Sunday Magazine, September 18th, 2016