With the perfect team, Punjab Nahi Jaungi makes its way through a new wave of Pakistani films

Khalil-Ur-Rehman Qamar has done what he does best: practice the art of storytelling.

The new wave in Pakistani film industry has finally found the long awaited writer. Punjab Nahi Jaungi has one fine plot and a script worth listening to, compared to the yearlong spell of lackluster movies. The casting department picked up the right actors, probably allowing them to elude from fate of similar projects.

However, the movie wasn’t all an eye candy. The sound mixing was poor in the first 30 odd minutes, especially at the hero’s entry scene. It took some time for the audience to digest the interprovincial relations of two families with 100 years of tradition binding them in a strand of love, chiefly on word of mouth.

The storyline had two viewpoint reproaches; one, that it was too Bollywoody and second, it promoted domestic violence. Well to the initial objection, the name Khalil-Ur-Rehman Qamar breaks it all. It’s as indigenous and original as it can get, when it comes to literary pedigree. Only Qamar gets to the metaphorical subject of romantic symbolism of eastern folklore, and we witness it at the amalgam of Humayun’s partial visit of Heer’s shrine, simultaneous to Mehwish’s arrival to Pakistan, a key correlation at the beginning of the movie. Further, the audience witnesses the explanation of levels in love that has mandatory prerequisites to be achieved. And hence, Humayun takes on the journey from barely being able to enter the shrine to dancing like a fakir for his love’s salvation later on in the film.

As for domestic violence, it was a pretty close call, if the hero didn’t get a slapping of his own mother for it, you would have blamed the plot makers. The act, also hinted in released clips, could be mistaken as bemoaning the modern age girl, with pragmatic thinking, and hence considered as an attempt to ostracize a stonehearted woman for not preferring love over ‘understanding’ as basis of a marriage. That being said, you have to see it in context of the film and the niche it’s based on, then you may judge better. Nonetheless, Mehwish plays the pivotal role of an intelligent woman who transforms a poorly managed farmhouse into a modernized dairy farm, with the support of ‘everyone-else’ who matters. Depicting woman with such roles in a film looks like a progressive move.

As for the potential of characters and actors, Ahmed Ali Butt’s appearance was underutilized. His role was limited and the dialogues, just a couple to shine with. The recessive side kick was not as entertaining to watch. Spectacular acting of Naveed Shahzad and Sohail Ahmed helps keep faith in the film, if the plot seems to be dragging. This film probably helped Humayaun Saeed to establish himself as the leading male actor of today’s film industry. Mehwish Hayat and Urwa Hocane have also displayed some strong acting skills. And there is nothing much to complain about the music department, songs were pretty easy on the ears, although the combination of choice seemed a bit too savvy and clichéd. Yet, nothing can be taken away from Nadeem Baig’s fine direction and cinematography, something that I have seen long after Bachaana by Nasir Khan.

In hindsight, with actors like Naveed Shahzad, Sohail Ahmad, Humayun Saeed, Waseem Abbas, Saba Hameed and Behroze Sabzwari – the literal icons of 90s PTV – what could have gone wrong in the acting department? As for the plot, you had a prime writer like Khalil Ur Rehman Qamar, with Boota from Toba Tek SinghLanda BazaarPyarey Afzal and Sadqay Tumhare. Salman Iqbal chose a win-win team, and Nadeem Baig – with a hit like Jawani Phir Nahi Ani – landed like an icing on the top.

From thought provoking perception of cultural differences, education and language, in their course collision with matrimonial commitments and the funny part where a guy with commando moves gets a good ol’ desi Punjabi slap-fest by Humayun to kick the bravado out of his soul; Punjab Nahi Jaungi is worth watching.

Warning: This trailer could push you to buy tickets for the immediate next show


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