Superstar kicks off with a very animated Mahira Khan performing on stage, setting the tone for the drama to come.
Mahira plays Noor, a theatre actor who aspires to make it to the big screen. She wants to be an actor, not a heroine. To make herself known, she works in commercials but is adamant to get her big shot at fame.
The opportunity seems to arrive when she gets a commercial with star Sameer Khan (Bilal Ashraf) but his immature behaviour leads to an immediate clash. Sameer realises his mistake and in an attempt to make up for it, love blossoms.
Noor’s skills are recognised by upcoming director Shaan (Ali Kazmi) who wants to cast her opposite Sameer but the already famous actor gets a bigger opportunity. Can love overcome the quest for fame? We find out.
Superstar is a simple love story
Superstar, like many films before it, is a love story at it’s core, just set in the glamorous world of of the entertainment industry. As an idea, I like the plot of this movie. It’s simple and is able to get through to the audience. However, it is the treatment of the film that leaves us wanting more.
There were important moments in the film like Noor and Sameer’s first conflict or the buildup to Noor’s rage that needed to be fleshed out and could’ve been done so very well. The lack of development made it difficult for us to connect with the characters as we couldn’t see what led to their heightened emotions.
The film also suffered what many movies before it have gone through in that it fizzled out in the second half – and an anticlimactic end – which was heartbreaking because Superstar had a genuine idea with their love story which the audience will really enjoy.
Bilal Ashraf has improved remarkably from his last film, Rangreza in which he played a similar character. But it did seem like the actor was struggling to break out of his shell. Be it anger, love or even a dance move, the actor was technically sound but appeared rigid and I believe the direction and script is to blame rather than the actor, who had the correct mechanics and needed a nudge in the right direction.
According to the story, Sameer is a character well-aware of his stardom. He is fashionably late, a bad team player and out for number one. He never got the support of his father despite his fame and success and that makes him strive to be bigger and better.
His journey upon meeting Noor is one which humbles him. Sameer wants to show us not only the importance of prioritising family, friends and loved ones over success but also highlights the difference between a star and an artist. But the script never starts him off as the brash and conceited star. We never really see the arrogance in his personality that leads to conflict so the transition if you can even call it that is confusing for the audience.
Same is the case with Mahira, whose character had so much potential but couldn’t shine as much as she deserved to.
Noor is passionate about acting and so has no qualms in calling Sameer out whenever he is in the wrong. She has her grandfather (Nadeem Baig) by her side and the support has made her a strong woman able to hold her own and it was refreshing to see her passionate about her craft but dignified enough to not let anyone trample over her.
When she does make it big and goes through a breakdown, her loneliness was relatable but I was upset that the script didn’t allow the buildup that would’ve justified her breakdown.
The cast is what makes Superstar worth your time
A welcome surprise was Alizeh Shah as Chutki, Noor’s younger sister. Chutki is supportive of her sister and doesn’t miss out on a chance to fangirl over a celebrity. She is confident in herself and just adorable overall. Alizeh’s performance was on point and she managed to get the most laughs out of us.
Nadeem Baig is a veteran and he makes sure to remind us of this in Superstar with making the best of his character. Sameer Malik – called Agha Jaani by his granddaughters – delivers his quips with subtlety and his connection with Noor made me smile every time.
Agha Jaani has his own story arc which would’ve added a wonderful dimension to the overall story, where he respects the craft and art more than the business but unfortunately, once again due to a rushed script, felt wasted.
Ehteshammudin is known for his dramas. His craftsmanship in the medium is impeccable but that is what we end up seeing in Superstar. The way it has been shot technically and overall tone does in fact feel more like a drama than a film, and don’t even get me started on the choppy editing and faulty audio – at least get the dubbing right is all I’m saying.
For a movie like Superstar which aims to show the glitz and glamour of the industry, this was an issue as it lacked the sort of magical realism we’d have loved to see here. This was the one film that didn’t need to be toned down and could’ve been extravagant. We’ve been fascinated with the film ever since the first track dropped and showed us beautiful visuals and very decent music.
Azaan Sami Khan’s script did have it’s positives. There were funny quips that made us laugh and no scene went on for too long. But the scenes didn’t go on long enough either.
Having said that, I appreciate the attempt at simplicity in the film. Not only did it humanise the industry, it was a nice break from the desperate attempts at wacky plot twists aimed to shock the audience. Superstar is a simple love story and there’s nothing wrong with that. Had the treatment been better, the script detailed, this would’ve been the film of the year.
Does that mean Superstar won’t be a hit? Not at all. The sets, songs and genuine attempts by the two leads will rope the audience in and considering the journey the entertainment industry has made and is making, that’s a win on it’s own.
*This review actually appeared in images. Written by: Sonia Ashraf