This Powerful Scene From ‘Cake' Taught Me How To Deal With Death Differently

By Arslan Athar | 29 Mar, 2019

It’s been a year since ‘Cake’ released in Pakistan, leaving us with a lot of feelings and tears. The movie was the story of a Pakistani family tackling the skeletons in their closet as well as dealing with shocks to their personal lives. It was a beautiful telling of the emotions and the dynamics of the family.

Source: ZAB Films


More than the main characters, Zareen and Zara, the mom stood out in the first half of the movie, because she was just so unapologetically herself. 

She loved herself and the idea of presenting the best version of herself. From her wigs to her Instagram presence, everything was loveable about her. What was even more refreshing to see was an elderly couple who still had their ‘spark’; often in our media and film, we see older couples keep some distance, but the Ammi and Abbu of ‘Cake’ were just as into each other like any other couple.

Her character left her mark on the film because of her antics and her personality- from her playing music out loud as she pleased to her having no filter. You could see that her character was written in a way that her family loved her for her personality, and had grown to love her for all she had given them. At times the family seemed distant, but it was clear that the mom was keeping them all together.

Source: ZAB Films


This is why, when she fell into a coma halfway through the film, everyone choked up. 

Her impact in the film, and on the audience, was immense and cannot be written away. How could someone who full of life, and full of love suddenly fall silent? It was clear that the family was shaken, its core was fading away.

Source: ZAB Films


As the film progressed, you could see that the family is coming to terms with her death, but in their own unique way. 

Initially, they’re all having a hard time coming to terms with what’s happening. The father storms a dua and plays his wife’s favorite track ‘Piya Tu Ab Tou Aaja’, and yells at everyone for being somber on the occasion. In our culture, when someone falls ill or is nearing their time, it is seen as an extremely somber and sad time, and why wouldn’t it be, you’re losing someone you love. However, sometimes we become too invested in the ‘mourning’ process and remove ourselves from the process of celebrating a life. Actually, we almost never celebrate the life that is about to pass.

Source: ZAB Films


‘Cake’ presents this idea in a way that does leave a strong impact with you. 

When the family finally comes to terms with their mother about to pass away, they honor her in the best way. They sit around her and sing her favorite song to her, ‘Piya Tu Ab Tou Aaja’. This moment in the film is very emotionally charged. They’re all sad, however, with this small act, they’re taking their best memory of her and using it to come to terms with her eventual passing. Where this moment could have been extremely mournful and full of crying, the filmmakers wrote this little celebration of the mom’s life and personality.

Source: ZAB Films


This has stuck with me for a year now. Dealing with death is extremely difficult, however, we only make it harder for ourselves by going the usual route. I get this advice a lot and I think it applies here too, ‘Don’t be sad it’s over, be glad it happened’. Using someone’s happy memories to remember them after they’ve passed will still be sad and painful, but you’ll be remembering them in a happy and positive light, and honestly, there is no better way to honor someone after they’re gone.

Source: ZAB Films


‘Cake’ was a film that changed a lot in Pakistani cinema; it was definitely a film that captured emotions really well, and in such a way that you would feel those feelings for days later. The way the movie dealt with sadness and death was beautiful and also very unique, and this is why ‘Cake’ will always stand apart from the rest.

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Cover Photo Courtesy: ZAB Films

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