Karachi se Lahore: When styling takes a back seat

Karachi Se Lahore is the third Pakistani film to hit our screens within the space of a month. Starring petite bombshell Ayesha Omer, the film had the potential to be a visual treat but ended up showing looking distinctly amateur.

The cast of Karachi se Lahore
The cast of Karachi se Lahore

The revival of the Pakistani film industry is exciting, with huge strides being made in production values, but there’s obviously a long way to go. While some movies have worked hard on sets, costumes and cinematography, Karachi se Lahore shows a lack of attention to these areas.

Channels like HUM have come to understand the importance of styling, hence the multiple designer hook-ups in Bin Roye. Similarly the upcoming Dekh Magar Pyar Se and Ho Mann Jahan are sure to ooze style, with the likes of HSY on board. Karachi se Lahore, on the other hand, seems to have given little thought to the styling.


Karachi se Lahore stars
Eshita Syed, Ayesha Omer and Mantaha Tareen in looks from the movie

Admittedly Ayesha Omer plays a simple middle class girl in the film, but much more could have been done with her wardrobe. High street brands such as Fnk Asia, Sapphire and Gul Ahmed are all making great pret and yet none of that was showcased.

In fact Ayesha wears a total of four outfits in the movie. The first is an elephant-print harem pant with a tank top and cardigan. I picked up exactly the same harem pants from the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul this summer. The look is casual yet chic, but the styling never really picked up as the film progressed.

Ayesha spends most of the rest of the movie in a white tank top, jeans and a leather jacket – an effortlessly stylish look that perhaps owes more to the actress herself than to her character.

This look perhaps owes more to the actress' sense of style than to the character's.
This look perhaps owes more to the actress’ sense of style than to the character’s.

We do initially see Ayesha’s character Maryum in a pink shalwar kameez. The short shirt and shalwar combo by Tena Durrani is bang on trend in terms of silhouette but failed to be memorable otherwise. Tena’s other outfit for Ayesha, on the other hand, is simply sublime. The colourful ghagra choli is stunningly worked and pops on the screen.

Ayesha Omer Tutti Fruiti song
Ayesha Omer wore Tena Durrani for her Tutti Fruiti item song

The designer is close to Ayesha Omer and came on board with outfits for the actress due to that friendship. It’s a shame that the producers didn’t utilize Tena or other brands for the remaining costumes, which were woeful.

Eshita Syed plays Shezad Sheikh’s girlfriend but all of the outfits were simply dire, particularly her wedding outfit. Similarly, Mantaha Tareen Maqsood does an item number in a lengha choli that was slapdash and unappealing.

Mantaha's outfit was less than impressive
Mantaha’s outfit was less than impressive

In the same way, the movie shows a lackadaisical approach to styling in other scenes. One café scene in particular stands out. Shot in trendy Xander’s, the extras are particularly badly dressed – you never saw such an unfashionable crowd in Xander’s. They’d even put some awful bottles on the table along with Xander’s usual discreet flowers. If this was supposed to be any old café, as one of the movie insiders claimed, the extras shouldn’t have been holding Xander’s menus.


The brand placement in Karachi Se Lahore was more than a little heavy-handed
The brand placement in Karachi Se Lahore was more than a little heavy-handed

Karachi se Lahore is a prime example of the old style of Pakistani movie making, where actors are left to their own devices in terms of costume and styling. The movie had some very obvious corporate placements from Cornetto and HBL so how hard would it have been to rope in designers from Pakistan’s burgeoning fashion industry to handle the costumes? With a decent stylist on board, top brands would be happy for the sort of exposure that Pakistani films can now bring.

The best outfit in the film is Tena Durrani’s ghagra choli for Ayesha Omer. Asked about the outfit, Ayesha says,

“One of the things I love about Tena is that she understands how to work with different body types. Tena is always one of my choices for Eastern and Bridal wear.”

Ayesha Omer Tutti Fruiti song
Ayesha Omer behind the scenes in Karachi se Lahore

Talking about her red carpet choices, she explains that she doesn’t always wear big-name designers.

“Sometimes I’ll just pull something out of my own closet. However I do often choose Shehla Chatoor or Elan. I have a petite frame so not everything works on me. I like the way that Shehla and Khadijah Shah will work with me to get just the right look. Shehla in particular is someone who will go that extra mile to whip up something unique in a short time.”

Ayesha Omer in Elan
Ayesha Omer in Elan

Ayesha’s promotional appearances for the film, like those of other Pakistani actresses, illustrate the fabulous synergy that is possible between the Pakistani film and fashion industries. While Ayesha tends to do her own styling, stylists such as A Wardrobe Affair, Haiya Bokhari and Tabesh Khoja are helping Lollywood starlets make an impression on the red carpet. Hopefully Pakistani producers will see the value of letting good stylists work their magic on-screen too.

This article by Chief Editor Salima Feerasta first appeared on Dawn.com

Salima Feerasta
Salima Feerastahttps://karachista.com
Salima Feerasta is chief editor of Karachista.com and one of Pakistan's top fashion and lifestyle journalists.

Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Stay Connected

- Advertisement -Send flowers to Karachi

Latest Articles

Error decoding the Instagram API json