‘Total Siyapaa’ opens to mixed reviews; moviegoers treated to Taj Cinema’s revival

* Eagerly-awaited Ali Zafar’s new Bollywood rom-com opens up to mixed reviews * Lahore’s yesteryear’s entertainment asset Taj Cinema revamped and refurnished

Adding a cherry on top of a litany of exciting events occurring in the city off late, moviegoers were treated to a grand red carpet reception to the revival launch of one of the city’s oldest cinema houses – the Taj Cinema. Choosing Ali Zafar’s eagerly-anticipated comedy/romantic caper ‘Total Siyapaa’ as it’s first screened film post revamp, Taj was met with a who’s who of the industry’s support, where all the crème de la crème flocked to see Pakistan’s hot favourite celebrity sharing screen space with Bollywood biggies. 
“It was a lovely experience doing the launch of the revamped Taj Cinema. The premise looks amazing and what a nice concept of providing such a luxury entertainment in the Walled City,” event manager and entrepreneur Bilal Mukhtar said while talking exclusively to Daily Times. 
The younger generation, more accustomed to the luxury cinema experience of the Super Cinemas in Lahore, or the DHA and Cinestar theatres, have little knowledge of the glorious entertainment quotient of the city’s past. Where the locals knew the way like the back of their hand, it was heart-warming to see the Shimla Paharri area resonating with the resurfacing of Taj Cinema. Indeed, if 50 percent of the film industry and media showed up to grand launch of Taj, a major chunk of the city has been talking about wanting to be there if they haven’t already. For those of them who did, the reviews were positive: 
“I think it’s a great idea of reviving the Pakistani cinemas in our country. We are a nation with a very rich culture and I think we all need to be united to promote talent and art,” entrepreneur and socialite Zahra Raza said, also while talking to Daily Times. 
“I think it’s good that they are reviving cinemas in the inner city,” fashion and interior designer Kuki added. The humongous interior was beautifully furnished with a mauve theme and walls laden with Lollywood blockbuster posters. The grand launch of the revamped Taj Cinema was organised and arranged by Bilal Mukhtar Events and PR.
‘Total Siyapaa’: ‘Tere Bin Laden’ (2010), that catapulted Ali Zafar into the limelight, enough for him to be taken serious by Bollywood filmmakers and production houses, is now five-film’s old in this huge industry that is Bollywood. 
In ‘Total Siyapaa’, Zafar stands his ground with an undeniable powerful persona that warms the heart and charms the soul. No doubt, the film opened to packed halls, theatres and cinema houses, but that couldn’t save the film from escaping mixed reviews. If the film aimed to be a slapstick, hilarious, mind-numbingly comedy flick, then it fell flat as the plot unfolded. Other than a few stretched scenes, unfunny remarks and legendary actor Anupam Kher’s lack of noticeable screen presence, ‘Total Siyapaa’ essayed relatable characters and narrated a story of circumstances gone out of control to the extent of them being funny rather than upsetting. Zafar puts forth his vocals in good fashion. The title track that already won many hearts before is splendidly composed, sung and shot. Kirron Kher steals the spotlight in most scenes. Neeraj Pandey beautifully brings together a plot that is believable, convincing, relatable and mostly funny, however the execution of it needed something more. 
Watch ‘Total Siyapaa’ for the nation’s heartthrob Ali Zafar, the title track and “Nahi Maloom”.
“Bravo to Ali Zafar for ‘Total Siyapaa’,” Raza said. 
“‘Total Siyapaa’ was fun. I liked Ali Zafar’s acting. Kirron Kher was outstanding but I think the script was a little weak,” Kuki added.
Journalist and fashion designer Sarah Gandapur added, “‘Total Siyapaa’ was an okay film. One expected more from Ali Zafar in a Bollywood film, honestly. I felt his previous films were better than this one. The music was fun; very Ali Zafar.” 

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