January 9, 2023
by Carla Hay
Directed by Manish Pawar
Urdu and Hindi with subtitles
Culture Representation: Taking place in Thailand and Dubai, the romantic drama film “Yaara Vey” features a predominantly Pakistani and Indian cast of characters (with some white people) representing the working-class, middle-class and wealthy.
Culture Clash: A successful executive at a property-development company is torn between getting romantically involved with her ambitious co-worker or the aspiring restaurateur who is competing for the same land that her company wants.
Culture Audience: “Yaara Vey” will appeal primarily to people who are interested in watching formulaic love stories in movies that are more than 150 minutes long.
“Yaara Vey” is a tepid, long-winded movie made like a silly soap opera, with a predictable plot involving a love triangle and family secrets. The characters and dialogue fail to be interesting enough to justify the movie’s tedious run time of 157 minutes. “Yaara Vey” has good-looking main characters in scenic locations but they can’t distract from a flimsily constructed story.
Directed by Manish Pawar, “Yaara Vey” (which translates to “whose way” in Urdu) uses so many over-used clichés from romance-based dramas, it’s easy to predict within 15 minutes after the movie begins how everything is going to end. Too bad it takes such a painfully long time to get to that point. Mahwash Ajaz and Althea Kaushal wrote the bloated screenplay for “Yaara Vey,” which is made even worse by the movie’s clunky film editing.
“Yaara Vey,” which goes back and forth between Thailand and Dubai, begins in Thailand. It’s where an aspiring restaurateur in his 30s named Sameer Baig (played by Sami Khan) is awakened from a deep sleep by his assistant Sikander “Sikki” Raina (played by Ali Sikander), a stereotypical goofy sidekick to the leading man. It’s 10:30 a.m., and Sikki is waking up Sameer and scolding his boss for being late for an important business meeting that morning. Sameer was out partying the night before at a nightclub, so he’s feeling a little groggy and hungover.
The movie then abruptly introduces viewers to Sania Siddiqui (played by Aleeze Nasser), a hard-driving business executive at a property-development company in Dubai. An unidentified narrator describes Sania, who is in her 30s, as “impatient” and a “perfectionist.” She has a persistent suitor named Arman Syed (played by Faizan Khawaja), who is a fast-rising business star at the same company. Arman, who is close to the same age as Sania, is also a “perfectionist,” says the narrator. And even though Arman is an attractive, eligible bachelor who could have his pick of women, he has his sights set only on Sania.
Sania was raised in a single-parent household by her strong-willed mother Sonia “Soni” Siddiqui (played by played by Marina Khan), who told Sania that Sania’s father died before Sania was born. Soni is now a successful architect who is still very involved in her daughter’s life and wants a say in Sani’s choice of a future husband. Sania isn’t forceful about it, but she’s very opinionated and outspoken about who might be a good love match for Sania. Meanwhile, Sania does not want to be in her mother’s shadow and is focused on her own career.
Sania, Arman and some other co-workers have to travel from Dubai to Thailand for a business trip to look at the property where their company will be building a luxury resort called Dreamland Resort. Upon landing in Thailand and arriving at the airport, Sania is annoyed that her luggage hasn’t arrived yet. And then, Sameer accidentally runs into her at the airport and spills his coffee on her clothes. It’s a very unoriginal “meet cute” moment for these two strangers.
Sania is already in a bad mood, and she rudely calls Sameer a “moron” for this accident, even though he makes a profuse apology. When Sania gets to her hotel, she finds out that her room isn’t ready yet, so she has another minor hissy fit. And what a coincidence: Sameer is staying at the same hotel too. Sameer and Sania see each other in the lobby, where Sameer (who was recently dumped by his girlfriend of four years) is flirting with a hotel receptionist.
Sania is flustered and impatient over all these delays for her trip, so she doesn’t notice that she has dropped a book on the floor of the hotel lobby. An elderly man named Kabir (played by Jawed Sheikh), who’s also in the lobby, notices that she dropped the book and returns the book to Sania, who graciously thanks him. Kabir introduces himself and says that he’s a bookstore owner, and he invites her to visit his bookstore at any time. And what a coincidence: Kabir happens to know Sameer too, as Sania later finds out.
“Yaara Vey” has many contrived reasons from why Sameer and Sania keep seeing each other on this business trip. The biggest contrivance is revealed when Sania and Arman go to the property where Dreamland Resort will be built, and they find Sameer and Sikki there too, because Sameer says that he’s building his restaurant on the same property. The people on either side of this dispute end up arguing over contracts and who has the legal right to own the property.
It’s already revealed in the “Yaara Vey” trailer that there’s going to be a love triangle between Sameer, Sania and Arman. Unfortunately, the movie takes an awfully long time showing Sania not being able to make up her mind between these two suitors. Sania likes Arman’s compatible business ambitions and financial success, but Sameer is the one who makes her more comfortable and can make her laugh. It doesn’t take a genius to predict what will happen by the end of the movie.
Meanwhile, there’s a subplot involving Kabir that the movie handles in a very sloppily filmed way. “Yaara Vey” is filled with too many mismatched, unevenly edited scenes. Some scenes that needed more explanation and context are abruptly cut in awkward transitions to the next scenes. Other scenes drag on for too long and are very repetitive.
All of the performances and dialogue in “Yaara Vey” range from mediocre to bad. There isn’t one single idea in this movie that is original. And yes, there’s a scene where someone rushes to the airport to catch up to someone getting on a plane, in order to reveal true feelings to that person before it’s too late. “Yaara Vey” isn’t the worst movie you could ever see, but it’s such a lazy and lengthy rehash of so many old clichés, everything ends up being a complete waste of time.
Hum Films released “Yaara Vey” in select U.S. cinemas and in Pakistan on December 2, 2022.