LONDON: Billed as the first Pakistani anthology film, “Teri Meri Kahaniyaan,” the title of which translates as “Your and My Stories,” was released in several countries on Thursday.
The two-hour film, featuring a star-studded cast and a crew of acclaimed filmmakers, tells three separate stories exploring the lives of couples and the challenges they face. The segments, directed by Nabeel Qureshi, Nadeem Baig and Marina Khan, cover different genres that are stylistically mirrored by the cinematography choices.
“Saijin Mahal” tells the story of a homeless family in Karachi that takes shelter in an abandoned mansion. A clever blend horror and comedy, this darker depiction of life nevertheless manages to find some lighter moments amid the gloom.
In “Pasoori,” an upbeat rom-com, a bride-to-be is offered a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity but finds herself faced with a dilemma on her wedding day.
The focus shifts to drama in “Aik Sau Taeswaan.” During a train journey to Karachi, Sadaf, whose husband is cheating on her, meets a charming, soon-to-be divorced banker and artist. As these strangers exchange details of their lives, they begin re-evaluate their relationships.
“Unlike a regular feature, which goes on for a longer length and there’s more time for the viewers to get to understand the characters in depth, these stories are condensed into 40 minutes,” Pakistani actress Mehwish Hayat, who plays Sadaf, told Arab News.
“To perform and do justice to your character in that short period of time was quite challenging but I love a challenge.”
While the couples in each of the individual stories all go through their own particular trials and tribulations, set against distinct socioeconomic backdrops, some common themes emerge in the film. The stories all explore what it is that can keep two people together in the face of great adversity. Is it love? A sense of duty? Or merely necessity?
The film also explores the idea that life is, to some extent, guided as much by a series of uncontrollable circumstances as it is by the choices we make.
“I think cinema is always supposed to be larger than life, and most of the time it is a dream we’re selling,” said Hayat.
“But I believe that this particular film is both sticking to reality, the facts and struggles of couples, and yet still finds humor (and) elements of horror. It’s a beautiful mix of reality meets fantasy and magic.”
Films from Pakistan have been enjoying a surge in popularity in the Arab region, according to Pakistani actress Ramsha Khan, who also appears in the film.
“I remember I was in Abu Dhabi a while back and saw one of my dramas on TV dubbed in Arabic — it was a surreal moment,” she told Arab News. “The fact that there’s a demand for films from our part of the world, it really means a lot.”
Khan added that she hopes to have a chance expand her career into Arab cinema, including Saudi Arabia’s rapidly developing film industry.
“What I know of the Saudi film industry, and that’s very little, is that it’s fairly small, sort of like Pakistan,” she said.
“But I have seen what they have done with the Red Sea International Film Festival and I am really excited to see what they will do as their industry grows. They do go all out, for sure.
“If a good role and project comes my way, from anywhere in the world, including Saudi Arabia, I would love to explore the possibility.”