The revived Pakistani film industry is well and truly out of its nascent stages. There were a lot of hits-and-misses, a few stumbles along the way (sometimes a horrific fall, à la Sahir Lodhi’s Raasta), but our industry seems to be hitting its stride now. This Eid we were treated to 3 new film releases, and all of them…are actually pretty good! (Huh, who knew!)
Load Wedding is a light romantic comedy layered around a tough social issue at its center (couldn’t help the food reference okay!), Parwaaz Hai Junoon is a large sized box of action-romance mix (I’ve only had popcorns and sodas all day watching 3 movies back to back!), and Jawani Phir Nahi Aani 2 is a side-splitting comedy mousse (I’m hungry! Sue me!).
Each has its flaws and its strengths of course, but the really commendable part is that all of them are good, entertaining, worthwhile movies. However, rating them for enjoyment factor, JPNA2 is at the top, followed by Parwaaz Hai Junoon and then Load Wedding. And here’s why….
Load Wedding is, like I said earlier, a light comedy that has the specter of dowry looming large throughout the movie. Fahad Mustafa’s character, Raja, suffers the pain of seeing his childhood love marrying someone else just because he can’t marry till his family amasses enough dowry to marry off his older sister. And worse still…at first, he didn’t even get to confess his love for Meeru (Mehwish Hayat)! Oh, and that is another sub-theme for the movie. Unconfessed love. At least that what it seems like with the completely unnecessary flash-back of Raja’s uncle’s love story.
Overall, though there are a few faults like the movie length, Load Wedding is a fun watch. The first two songs are really nice and hummable and well picturised. The comedy is always very nuanced and never OTT. Even the serious and dramatic moments have slight bits of comedy to them. The dig at media/game-shows and our obsession with them is also cleverly dealt with. Add to this the brilliant performances of nearly every cast member and you have a film that is very enjoyable.
Parwaaz Hai Junoon ups the entertainment ante by bringing in the action element. From the get-go we are thrust into an aerial dogfight with fast action and swooping aeronautical maneuvers. The entire sequence reminds you of Top Gun, complete with the incredibly cool maneuver Maverick does in its opening dogfight sequence. But that is where the comparison to the Hollywood movie ends. It is a remarkably well-directed movie that weaves two story lines to depict the life of PAF pilots and cadets. The script, editing, direction is so on point that you hardly notice the 2+ hours of run-time. Shafaat Ali gives a brilliant performance as the comic relief, portraying an out of place, miserable aviation cadet who’s in it for all the wrong reasons.
Surprisingly, and thankfully, the patriotism and nationalism in Parwaaz Hai Junoon is never so overt that it feels as if it’s being shoved down your throat (a complete departure from any movie related to the Armed Forces). Nor does it become cheesy (well, except for Hamza Ali Abbasi’s last scene, that was super lame!). But overall, the emotional quotient is very good in the movie. The first half brings the most laughs, and the second half brings the most tear-jerking moments (heard a lot of sniffling in the audience!). Which is why the film was a more enjoyable treat than the first one.
Now…Jawani Phir Nahi Ani 2…
Disclaimer: I am not a fan of this genre of comedy movies. In fact I am strongly biased against it. And I was biased against JPNA2 before going into the cinema hall.
JPNA2 is an extremely hilarious, fun and entertaining movie! Vasay Chaudhry’s dialogue writing is superb! Though it feels like entire scenes are written in just so a particular one-liner can be delivered, it’s still extremely entertaining. Both Ahmed Ali Butt and Vasay Chaudhry are brilliant in their roles. Their dialogue delivery and comic timing is on fleek! In fact, everyone does complete justice to his or her roles. There are a few sub-par performances in some places, but none of them takes away from the fun.
There are many things wrong with the movie. Like, a lot (with nearly 3 hours run-time, there’s bound to be). 4 mehndi/celebration songs, bad choreography, badly executed Indians-and-Pakistanis rivalry trope (now that’s just extremely lazy writing). But the movie is so funny and entertaining that one is willing to overlook everything. And it shows. The 2 cinemas in Islamabad have been screening to a full-house audience since Eid!
So my suggestion is to go watch every one of these movies, because each of them delivers at what they are aiming for. Pakistani film industry is no longer begging for your support and patronage. They can hold their own, nay, deliver over and above in spades, against any Bollywood movie. These 3 movies are proof.