The Letters of Mikael Muhammad ~ A Short Film ~ Review

LMM2

For those looking for a respite from the tedium of watching mind-DeDening stuff on TV, The Letters of Mikael Muhammad offers a much needed breath of fresh air. This short film, my friends, is an absolute gem!

Letters is produced by Tamasha, directed by Saim Sadiq and Imran Ahmad Khan, and stars Umer Naru, Rasti Farooq and Aan Asif Cheema. Well-scripted, brilliantly directed and fabulously acted, this one succeeds in saying in twenty minutes what 99.9% of our TV serials fail to convey in six to seven months. Written, shot, and edited in a span of over a month, this short film underscores the point that effective story-telling, the kind that touches the soul, has very little to do with huge budgets, technical wizardry, big name stars, glitzy locales, song and dance routines, and emotional atyachar.

There is nothing larger-than-life or heroic about Zoya and Mikael’s story, quite the contrary in fact. The pair is as everyday as can be and the basic story though well-written and compelling does not necessarily break new ground. What makes Letters a standout, though, is the directors’ fresh take on the age old boy-meets-girl plot and the deceptive simplicity with which this layered story is allowed to unfold. A lot happens in twenty minutes and the film offers plenty of food for thought, but there is a clarity of vision and the directors’ grip on the narrative is such that there are no unwanted diversions and side tracks, resulting in an evenly paced, coherent narrative.

Letters is an issue based film but what makes this one tick is that at the heart of it all it is Zoya and Mikael’s story. Umer Naru and Rasti Farooq share great chemistry and are pitch perfect as Mikael and Zoya. The two actors do a fabulous job humanizing their well-etched characters. Zoya’s increasing frustration is as real and relatable as Mikael’s hesitation and shyness is a palpable thing. Aan Asif Cheema is effective as the all too familiar baji; her presence might not seem to be quite as important at first glance, but on reflection it adds in a lot of grit and texture to the issue highlighted by this film.

In terms of shortcomings, there were some issues with sound quality, but at the end of the day I found this humble, short film to be a very welcome and refreshing change. The honest and unpretentious story-telling touched me, leaving me a little teary-eyed at the end, something a recent over-hyped Pakistani film failed at spectacularly. Infact so many of our drama and film makers would do well to take a leaf or two out of Team Letters‘ playbook.

All in all thoroughly enjoyed this one and am now looking forward to many more such gems from Tamasha Productions.

Written by SZ~

Advertisements

35 replies

    • @Deepu: Thank you for watching this one on my recommendation. Glad you enjoyed it. Yes, simplicity and sincerity is what makes this one special.. and even though I figured out half way through as to what was going on, I was so into the narrative that I wasnt able to switch off .. loved how they made their point and so powerfully at that!

      And welcome aboard … it is lovely to hear from you and I hope you’ll continue dropping in and sharing your thoughts on various threads 🙂

      Like

  1. Thank u SZ for reminding me to watch this.. Being a fan of Umer naru, was waiting for this short film.. But somehow missed the fb updates because of Ramzan f/b busy Eid.. Aj apka review dekh k yad aa gya…
    Simple and heart-touching.. Performances were top-notch.. Dint expect anything less than superb from Umer naru ❤ ❤

    Like

    • @TSBindra: Haina! After the mediocrity of what all’s on TV this was such a welcome change, glad you enjoyed it as well 🙂 And speaking of poetry how brilliantly was the Kora Kaghaz song used here!

      Like

  2. Warmest Eid wishes to you SZ! It’s been quite a while since I last shared my excitement with you over a drama! But man, this film completely reeled me in!
    Thank you for this comprehensive & aptly romanticized review. It truly gave justice to this film. Umer Naru is always a joy to watch & Rasti Farooq can now count me as a fan. Here’s to hoping that more wonderful projects like this come our way xx

    Like

    • @UM: Hey! Glad you enjoyed this one.. thank you for watching this on my recommendation 🙂

      From your lips to God’s ears …. Apart from one upcoming project, I’ve almost given up hope on watching anything reasonable on TV … this is the first time in a very long time where i am not following even one serial 😦

      Like

  3. As always your recommendations are treat to watch.. Thank you so much SZ for sharing and letting us know about this 🙂
    I absolutely loveeed it, each and every thing was beautiful, simple yet so effective..and man Umer Naru was killer as romantic guy.. And like @UM said i have become fan of Rasti Farooq.. She was flawlessly amazing.. Mid where i got the hint about Zoya’s mind frame..but i wanted to know k akhir me baat he kya.. And the end was just speechless.. Wanted more of it!!!

    Like

      • @VZ.. Hey hey dear 🙂 Awww that’s very sweet of you to ask and show your concern.. Much appreciated yaar.. He is alot better Alhamdulillah.. I came 2 days back from Pakistan and all set to join you peeps.. Missed commenting and interacting with you and everyone else:)

        Like

    • @Rehmat: I think that point, of none of us knowing what the second thing was, really mad Zoyas tragedy all so very real for us, didnt it?? Had we gotten to know the secret, we would have probably forgotten abt this after a while, but now it really bothers you doesnt it? I know I get really bugged every time I think abt it!

      Like

  4. Oh, superb! Hats off to the team that put this together. And thanks, thanks, thanks SZ, for bringing this one to our notice. It is really a gem of a movie. Loved the leads – I am a fan of Umer from DeS days, Rasti is a revelation (any relation of Garden Farooq?).

    So much was packed in such a little time. Puts all those big-budget, big-star-cast films and dramas to shame. And on such an important issue… Can’t praise the team enough. This film has its heart and mind in the right place, and boy does it deliver!

    I loved the impact it made when the tables turned – and was surprised at how my perception of that person changed when I got to know… Superbly done. And what an apt song! Thanks again SZ…

    Confession: when I read your review (which didn’t give a thing away, hats off for the no-spoilers), I ended up reading the labels attached to the post before watching the film, spoiling things for myself in the process lol)…

    Like

      • @VZ: LOL @Garden Farooq! No, I dont think they are related but will check.
        And thank you for noticing my effort to not give away anything in the review — it was really tough to write that way! But dekh lo you caught on to it anyway 😉

        And doesnt watching this one make you sad about all the idiotic dramas being aired on tv these days … clearly there are so many stories out there that need to be told and there are so many ways of telling them creatively … about time we get done with the saas bahu nonsense ..

        Like

    • @Deeba: You wished for it and it happened 🙂 Umer Naru will be seen in Sarmad Khoosat’s upcoming Mor Mahal ..

      Thats the whole point! We never get to know the last point, because she never knows ’cause she cant read.. isnt it fab how effectively they drive that point home?!

      Like

  5. So glad I came across this (not like I had been forced to watch it or anything lol)!! Such a powerful message in just 20 mins!?! The ending just killed me!!! So much better than all the bakwaas on TV at the moment!! LOVE!!! Thank you SZ – amazing review as usual!! ❤️

    Like

  6. Thank you SZ for this one 🙂 Short, sweet and effective! IMO it’s not so much that the best things come in small packages, but that when anything is conveyed in short, it turns out to be the best, as then one focuses effectively on what needs to be focused on and discard all other unnecessary trappings and frills.

    That’s why I love Twitter too 🙂

    Like

  7. Hi, SZ. Thank you so much for recommending this! I just now watched the movie and it is so beautiful. I am awed by this wonderful work. Loved it ❤ Even though the issue (i'm thinking 'the fault in [their] stars') becomes kinda apparent in the course of their conversation, it didn't take anything away from the film at all. And even if it wasn't about highlighting a social issue, it still would've been amazing, the way they constructed the entire narrative.

    I mostly loved how understated it was; Zoya and Mikael's conversation in the coffee shop – without all those long-winded, never ending, overdone dialogues we are routinely subjected to – was such a joy to watch. Just two people getting to know each other in what turned out to be a profound experience for both of them. And here I thought subtlety was dead and the idea of understated sentiment was long buried (which is because, well, we were "mind-DeDened" so thoroughly, lol)

    Also, it was a visual treat, which served to enhance the story telling experience (as i think should be the case) – unlike the instances the cinematography/scenery is used only as a not-so-clever ploy of being the pretty wrapping paper for uninspired and threadbare works (i'm looking at you, DeD).

    Umer Naru was amazing and Rasti Farooq was such a delight to watch. I hope to see more of her and more of such brilliant, well-thought out and beautifully executed projects in the near future.

    P.S. Please, feel free to direct more of such wonderful recommendations our way 😉

    Like

  8. @SZ what a fab find!! Thanks!!
    Less is indeed more! no fuss, no decorations, no OTT dialogues..just sharp & focussed, .. I loved the bare/raw feel.
    So much packed in! from the main message to so many small ones..The earrings made me go awww! and although I had guessed halfway where the story was heading, I was still teary at the end..
    I remembered UN from PA, and he was fantastic there too! (one of my fav characters there – Come to think of it he was actually the Imran Mughees of PA..lol) ..
    Both the girls were amazing!! Have they done any other work?

    Like

    • @FA: glad you enjoyed it 🙂 I havent seen these girls do other commercial work .. but from what I can discern they have done some theater stuff in Lahore etc ..

      Like

  9. Oh superb review, how superbly it’s been reviewed by you without giving away the punch line , what a amazing review …… I had watched it in Ramadan or so when u recommended on FB but I was surprised not to see any reviews or comments @ that time……. Hats of to the team of Tamasha Production……. So much was packed in such a small package that our so called over hyped movie directors can dig as much as they want out of this package & it ‘ll never cease to yeild……
    My favorite scenes were when Mikael asks Zoya about his letters and howshe grabs the glass of water & takes her time to finish it to avoid answering his question…… the last scene was so intense that it left me with teary eyes….. Is there any other work by Umer Naru that I can watch…..
    While I was writing my comments I got a phone call from my best friends daughter telling me that their father was no more, it left me in the state of shock & grieve….. Please I request all the friends on Desi Rants N Raves to say one Surah e Fateh for his blessed soul & a small Duah for my friend’s saber & tolerance in days to come…… Thanks a lot in anticipation…….

    Like

  10. So watching this one as soon as I can.Seems like a very interesting and different project. I am a fan of short movies as now watching serials gets so tedious.Thanks for the recommendation.

    Like

    • @Samrita: Hey! This short film is on FB not on YT, and I have the link up there in the post itself – the pic with the girl running, thats the link… hope that helps 🙂

      Like

  11. Loved it, loved it, loved it.
    N love u too SZ for sharing this gem.i have seen Umer Naru in so many dramas but was never a really big fan of his but he was quite good in this one. Especially when he sings Kora Kaagaz That Yeh Mann Mera, I had smile plastered on my face n that too on my way to office in d morning.
    BTW I missed you SZ, missed this blog n missed all my friends here. Gonna make sure there won’t be any more such break

    Like

    • @samrita: Hello ji! Great to hear from you – its been ages!
      Glad you enjoyed this one .. and isnt it fab in how many layers it manages to pack into a twenty minute script… and Kora Kaghaz, that is one of my all time fav songs, but I had never thought of it in such a context so it was doubly delightful.

      And we missed you too! Sadly, though, not much really going on on the TV front is liye aajkal its kinda quiet on here .. but hopefully something will come along sooner rather than later .. till then I will keep an eye out for more such hidden gems 🙂

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s