The year 2017 has been very bad for Pakistan’s film industry but now everything is set to change with Punjab Nahi Jaungi (PNJ) that has opened to houseful cinemas all over the country. The collaboration of Humayun Saeed and Nadeem Baig had previously offered Jawani Phir Nahi Aani and this time they manage to better that experience with PNJ where a feudal lord meets a heer jaisi larki and they write a love story that would be remembered for a long time to come.
PNJ revolves around Amal (Mehwish Hayat) and Fawwad Khagga (Humayun Saeed) who are cousins; their families share a bond that is over 100 years old. Fawwad wants to get married to Amal who is in love with Vasay (Azfar Rehman), her colleague from England. Fawwad manages to win Amal in the first half but it is post-interval where things become interesting and you get to know that not all is well in the film’s paradise. Does Amal find true love in Punjab or is she made to return to Karachi, vowing never to go back to Punjab? Watch the film to know more and be aware of the bombastic dialogues that are thrown your way throughout.
It has been a long time since a Pakistani film has been loaded with dialogues that are relatable, quotable and penetrable. Khalil-ur-Rehman Qamar, who previously wrote Nikki Jayi Haan and Koi Tujh Sa Kahaan, makes a return to the silver screen with possibly his best work till date. Every character has a meaning in the film and the way they deliver dialogues mean that the director Nadeem Baig had done his homework. The Faisalabadi dialogues seem to be written by a person belonging to the region and same goes for those delivered in Karachi; you will fall in love with the dialogues so keep your eyes and ears open to learn how it is done in a brilliant manner.
Before we talk about the lead couple, let’s talk about the super lead pair of Sohail Ahmed and Naveed Shehzad. Both haven’t been part of films for some time and Naveed Shehzad has not been active as an actor; their comebacks make you believe that once an actor, always an actor. Naved is natural as Bebo Jee while Sohail Ahmed has the best lines in the script. Saba Hamid has played a mother’s role on several occasions but her role as Amma Jee is something else – when she calls her son to tell her that she played a prank on her involving Amal (when in fact it wasn’t a prank), she bursts out in tears while sounding happy. That is the brilliance of an actor who has been around for decades yet continues to surprise!
It was good to see Waseem Abbas back in films after a long time; he plays the only man in the Khagga household who is under his wife’s thumb. Ahmed Ali Butt reminds one of the sidekicks of the 70s like Nanna who were always on the right side of the law yet found themselves in trouble. Azfar Rehman and Ushna Shah were surprise packages – while the former had a meatier role as the rival, the latter danced her heart out to prove that she has bounced back from the failure of Teri Meri Love Story and is ready for more films. Urwa Hocane’s character has shades of grey because she is in love with her cousin but is rejected for no reason. Her ‘Durdana’ is someone to be remembered for a long time as it plays a pivotal role in the film’s progress post intermission.
Finally, something about the magical pair of Mehwish Hayat and Humayun Saeed. For those who termed Humayun as over the hill, this film will serve as a shut up call as he steals the show from his senior co-actors. He doesn’t complete his matriculation but Masters, and that too in 10 years as predicted by ‘Ek Tara Walay Baba’, justifying his late blooming as the leading man. Mehwish Hayat looks like a heroine from a fairy tale whom you want to love as much as the leading man; no wonder she was the bone of contention between two handsome hunks and falls for the one who gave her the better offer. Their expressions, their dialogue delivery and their mannerisms are what will make this film an outstanding addition to the list of successful films in Pakistan.
The movie is a complete package – the cinematography of Suleman Razzaq is better than any film of the last year while Shiraz Uppal’s songs – except Main Tere Naal – stay with you long after you exit the cinema. Shani Arshad who composed the Shafqat Amanat Ali song also did the background score and helped in keeping the audience involved in the film. The ship of PNJ must be indebted to Nadeem Baig for steering it in the right direction and if all goes well, it will only go up, up and away for being the best film in 2017! •
Bollywood flick, A Gentleman, revolves around the super lucky Gaurav (Siddharth Malhotra) and the super bad lucky Rishi (also Siddharth Malhotra); one works in Miami and the other for an Indian spy agency. Interesting development takes place when one of them is on the run and the other reaches India for a business deal. There is a secret deal involved; a hard disk, some romance and above all, a chase that takes you round the globe. It would have been an ideal setup for a film but it is after the intermission that things go haywire literally, and the directors lose grip on what could have been a kickass product!
Siddharth Malhotra is brilliant in both his avatars but when the film changes its genre from thriller to heist flick, it loses half of the audience. Jacqueline Fernandez as the woman who loves men of action than men of peace is torn between the war between Rishi’s ex-colleagues and Gaurav, who is suspected to be Rishi because they both look the same. Some of the songs are memorable as well but in an action flick with stars that look more international than Indian, execution matters. Raj and DK as co-directors could have polished the script and made it trendy rather than something that doesn’t look real at all.
The action sequences are the highlight of the film because it is something where the directors have actually worked hard. There is nothing else in the film, which is why it couldn’t do well in cinemas and was pulled out after one week. Like their last film Happy Ending, this one has quite a few loopholes and although they have a well-knit first half, the plot falls apart after intermission. Being Indian-American may give them access to the land of Donald Trump but then they have to cater to Indians as well, something they seem to lack. •
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