Director: Asim Abbassi
Producer: Sayed Zulfikar Bukhari
Cast: Aamina Sheikh, Sanam Saeed, Adnan Malik
Rating: 4 out of 5
A truly crossover Pakistani film, Cake is a family drama about love, loss, choices and responsibilities. The story unravels when the ageing patriarch of the Jamali family is taken ill and his eldest daughter and sole caregiver, Zareen, is forced to reconnect with her sister, Zara, on her return from London.
Cake is a film that wasn’t on my radar until a few weeks ago when I was invited to the premiere. After being invited, I immediately watched the trailer and was annoyed that I had not heard of this film earlier. Cake is the story of a dysfunctional family full of secrets. Family dramas are very popular in the Asian film scene and this film has already been compared to Bollywood equivalents such as Kapoor and Sons. I do feel like it is similar but Cake still stands on its own.
As the director likes to describe it, Cake is a slice of life film. It is not a social commentary film with a message. Instead, it is just the story of this one family at one point during their lives. I do not watch many slice of life films. Most of the films that I watch end up having some form of moral included. It was refreshing to just watch a family drama that didn’t feel like I was being guilt-tripped into believing a certain thing.
What made Cake the great film that it is was definitely the acting. I have never seen any of Aamina Sheikh’s other work but she blew it out of the park in this film. Her performance as Zareen, a bitter woman who has been left behind to take care of her ageing parents whilst both of her siblings go and follow their dreams, was outstanding. I empathised with her. However, Sanam Saeed also made me empathise were her character. Whilst it is possible that you will prefer one family member over the other, I came away from this film with the knowledge that no one is perfect and everyone made their mistakes. Special props also go to Adnan Malik who did an amazing job as Romeo, a support and love interest for Zareen. For me though, the best performances in the film were the performances by the parents. They made difficult choices and weren’t always likable but they had good intentions. As is quoted in the film, they have the sort of love that is true not the blind, unconditional type of love.
Asim Abbassi’s writing and directing were outstanding. This was his feature film debut and I was incredibly impressed. The way that the story was told was extremely entertaining. There was enough mystery to keep you intrigued throughout and it still managed to shock me at the end. I honestly can’t wait to see what he does next.
I cannot think of a more perfect film to be the first Pakistani film to have a world premiere at Leicester Square. As stated in the blurb, it is truly a crossover film that will appeal to people the world over as it talks about issues that affect everyone in some way. I hope that many people go to watch it when it releases on the 29th March in the UK as I do think that many people will enjoy it.