Pakistan’s drama industry has taken the world by storm and recently there have been teleplays that have managed to do well when aired. Ek Thi Marium is one biographical play that was well-received when it was aired on Defence Day 2016; had it been released in cinema on that day and later played on TV, it would have helped both the cinema and television industry. However, it was watched by many since it was released on a historically important day and slightly preceded the conflict at the border.
The flick is based on the life and martyrdom of Pakistan Air Force’s fighter pilot Marium Mukhtiar (Sanam Baloch in the title role) who convinces her parents to let her enroll in the Pakistan Air Force as GD Pilot and passes it with flying colours. How she handles the tough training to become an ace pilot and her family’s reaction is shown in the first half of the film; the latter half deals with her life in the Academy and as a Fighter Pilot. Shani Arshad’s background score and Zeb Bangash’s song makes you want to watch the film as they perfectly gel with the happenings on screen.
The script by veteran writer, Umera Ahmed was very well-researched and well-written but since the flick was made for the smaller screen, it seemed too TV-ish in the cinema. In films, things happen rather fast but here the pace was slow. The dialogues were natural and that’s what helped them land too close to the heart. Since the year shown wasn’t that old, it was quite relatable. However, the Air Force scenes at the Academy or in the Mess could have been added to give it a touch of realism, like they did in Sunehray Din and Alpha Bravo Charlie. Yes, the aerial sequences were well-shot and couldn’t have been executed better but the ending was a little too early and a wee bit abrupt. For a viewer who has grown on the climatic sequence of Nishan-e-Haider Rashid Minhas filmed 30 years ago, a little human touch would have helped here.
Sanam Baloch returns to acting with this telefilm and manages to impress all, making new fans as well as entertaining her faithful ones. She is undoubtedly the star here as she gets trained like female cadets, walk like them and by the time you are through with the film, you actually believe that she was a Flying Officer rather than an actress portraying one. Hina Bayat and Behroze Sabzwari as parents, Agha Mustafa Hassan as fiancé, Sajda Syed as Dadi and Sharmeen Kashif and Hadi bin Arshad as siblings, all do a commendable job, especially the seasoned veterans as parents. The final scene, where they accept the award on behalf of their martyred daughter will make you cry even if you didn’t want to shed a tear.
Last year, Bin Roye was released in cinemas and this year its drama version followed. Producers of this venture could have done the same thing, but they made a telefilm instead of a movie and showed it on the big screen. Better grading, extended climax and scenes like Aagaya Hai Kyun Kakul could have added flavour to this already treasured project. The return of Sanam Baloch is something of a present for her followers because she is one of the better actresses in the country and must follow her instincts like Ek Thi Marium. •