Coming Up – Adha Cup Review: Warm Urdu Debut

August 25, 2009 by  
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COMING UP – ADHA CUP: Tuesday 25th August, Channel 4, 12pm ALERT ME

A middle-aged man in a vest sits in his flat smoking a cigarettes.

He looks like the Asian version of Jim Royle.

But Saajid is the hero that Ash and Shahid have been looking for.

Adha Cup is the day-in-the-life story of two youth-workers who must convince a bunch of actors to return to the stage for one last hurrah.

The short piece is heart-warming enough but not remarkable. However this black-and-white feature is extremely notable in one regard – it is the first Urdu-language film to be shown on British TV.

The 25-minute show is part of a revamped Coming Up drama season for Channel 4, and this piece provides a fitting landmark to kick off this celebration of young and exciting film-makers.

But history aside, is Adha Cup any good? The answer to that question would be yes. Just about.

In the opening scene our main characters are given their orders: they must find the actors who appeared in the famous musical, Pappa Kehta Hain some years ago and convince them to sign-up for another performance at the community centre.

In many ways it’s almost like a brief and uneventful Bollywood version of Blues Brothers, and our duo spend the rest of the day traipsing around the neighbourhood and with the with the help of a knowledgeable taxi-driver, they manage to recruit the cast.

It was written and directed by Nottingham film-maker Sarman Masud, and provides a good window into the British-Asian community.

This is a nice little story, but it’s difficult not to feel disappointed with the content – or lack of it. To say that it sets the bar low in terms of theme-tackling is putting it mildly.

No doubt, this was all part of the director’s plan though, and at under half-an-hour in length it is easy to look past this and appreciate a cosy piece of Urdu history.

Sean Marland