The much awaited, Syra and Shehroze’s romance comedy, Babylicious just released and let’s settle if its a breath of fresh air or another problem ridden narrative wrapped up with a glittery bow. Find out!
Pssst: Spoiler Alert!
While we did get to see the film a bit earlier than everyone else, we promise to share our unfiltered, unabashed review. The movie has been much anticipated and was originally planned for a release in 2019 and it is finally making its way to cinemas.
Babylicious is a Pakistani romantic comedy film written, directed and produced by Essa Khan under the banner Coconut Entertainment Pakistan. It stars former couple Shehroz Sabzwari and Syra Yousuf alongside Indian actor, Ankur Rathee, Sabeena Syed, Shehzeen Rahat, Mohi Abro, Aadi Adeal Amjad and Adnan Jaffar. The film has been shot extensively in Manama, Bahrain and Karachi, Pakistan.
The film’s release has been a great relief to the actors who have said they feel relief and excitement.
The movie begins with a hit of nostalgia with Syra & Shehroz sitting amidst lush mustard fields. But will what follow be nostalgia or a breath of fresh air? The beginning hints at Sahiba’s (Syra) troubled past and Omar’s (Sheroz) childlike hopeless love – 2 young lovers with great real chemistry and their happy moments essayed in relatable moods – Strolls, theme park dates, bike rides, movie nights and ice cream dates
Shehroze’s character Omar is a quirky, hopeless romantic, head over heels in love with Sahiba but what engulfed us at the onset was how Sahiba seemed troubled. We will divulge more in a bit.
Considering it’s Sabeena Syed’s first silver screen gig, her take at an uptown rich burger girl was a considerably good effort. Mani’s character is of a comical thug with periodic appearances- fun, a different character compared to his past roles, not over the top and also makes sure to hit his punchlines on cue!
Mohi Abro is a nerdy guy and Aadi Adeal is the bad egg, easily tempted by the sight and smell of a girl. Mohi really did own the character, being so different from his real self. Aadi, well while his performance was seamless it did leave us wondering if his penchant for humour could have left a more lasting impression? The leads: Syra and Shehroz though win an A on their acting skills and chemistry which was unmissable.
The movie is shot very differently to most Pakistani movies; artsy, aesthetically pleasing and super relatable to the younger generation. The scenes and settings were real-life believable, the party scene was actually really well shot, almost as if you were watching a Netflix quality show in terms of the aesthetics.
The Comedy: Hit Or Miss?
As far as the comedy goes it was a hit and miss. Some parts were funny while some just left us wondering if we missed the punchline or our funny bone just decided to take a walk (far away from us). Shehroze is deeply enamoured to the extent he wants to build a Sahiba Mahal and seems to have a heavy dependence on TCS for his love life. What we thought was a complex, troubled girl’s journey is eventually predominantly shown as a brand conscious, BMW fanatic with one goal in life: go to Paris and Dubai – disappointed much?
The Story Line
Shehroze’s character does make you feel something for him; something to the likes of sadness, sympathy and hope. Well Sahiba is not happy and breaks it off, influenced by her mother rendering Omar depressed, unable to focus, or anything else for that matter. His bright idea? Buy Sabiha an engagement ring and visist her house on the day of her engagement to another guy only to be ridiculed by her brother and mother.
Omar is relentless and suddenly realises Sahiba loves him and he won’t give up until she comes back. Shehzeen Rahat (Syra’s bff) becomes his accomplice in getting her back. Shehzeen emoted each emotion with an ease and quite smoothly – good to watch.
Bits Of Problematic Narrative
What seemed like a promising watch soon turned to dampened expectations. Adi’s character is problematic to say the least. It’s the kind of comic character you don’t want to witness in this day and age. Exhibit A? His take on women who oblige him for a meal is one that she is not sharif and since he spent 2000 on a Xanders meal, she ought to get him some action too. She owes him something for the meal and just because she left her house to meet him, she is involuntarily beghairat. If that wasn’t only IT, there is also fat shaming and skinny shaming. We would understand if the narrative above was presented in a comic manner only to correct the mentality with an opposite narrative but we we were left waiting for that.
There is constant classism and horrifying references that make you question your listening ability, case in point: “Ishq Mohabbat tou Lyari boys ke liye hain” Girls, girls, girls, it’s conveyed we don’t respect feelings but the boy’s bank balance. We reiterate, if it was meant to be funny, we failed to laugh.
Unless the humour missed us, how is saying “a girl is suicidal after me” okay? “She is a time pass” is okay? And it trivialised the rampant horrors for teenage and young girls: the hero ends up sending the girl’s fiancé their old pictures (without her consent) in order to ruin the girl’s image, yeah, the same girl he professes to love btw! We were left dumbfounded at how this is being shown in the name of true love? While soon after he is at a Mazaar, on his knees praying to God for her to come back. It’s true the audience is also responsible for how they understand Art but in a society where these issues are still so rampant, how could the narrative make it seem okay?
While the movie also presents a debate between the leads about pyaar pehlay hota hai or accomodate pehlay kartay hain?
But just when you expect some sense in the debates or conversations, you realise the bottom line is the guy should be able to get you Subway cookies, call and reply back in under 10 seconds, listen to Coke Studio with you – those are the only requirements you shall have if your love is true. Was it satire? Beats us.
Ankur Rathee & The Wedding Song
Though Ankur Rathee entering the scene as Nabeel was one highlight, his character was also so refreshing! Despite showing up at the end, he clearly shone through. His line when Omar sends his and Sahiba’s pictures is “every girl has a past and it’s okay” was enough to win us over! Had us questioning why was the hero not given these lines?
The wedding dance number “Gazab Kuriye” was one of the best ones we have seen so far. The aesthetics, outfits, set, choreography, cinematography and the song itself were all high up on the score card. A fun original, quite nicely shot song challenging future movie makers.
Omar’s journey to get Sahiba back seemed like one involving an immature battle of ego vs love and he seemed to be confused between the two. Just a PSA – there’s bits of sexual innuendos and jokes so go at your own risk with family. Watch for yourself and let us know what you think!
If you want to watch more Pakistani movies this Eid, check out our list right below: