Punjab Nahi Jaungi has its issues. Most of these come together to endorse societal regression.
One would be willing to overlook them, since it is no social critique but a purely commercial film, but then, out of the blue, it would throw in something progressive on the same scale where it hogged regression only three scenes ago.
To say PNJ is a formula film won’t be wrong. It has all the masala that you need in a commercial blockbuster, which it has turned out to be.
But at the same time it is unorthodox in the way it handles the subject. And if you’re willing to give it the benefit of the doubt on a couple of occasions, it is a tightly-knit drama that offers something different – if nothing else.
We’ve only been dissecting the script thus far. The film is a solid 9/10 for pure entertainment value.
Fawad Khagga (Humayun Saeed) returns to his hometown near Faisalabad to rapturous celebrations after completing his Masters in Political Science from Lahore. Amidst all the jubilation, the Khagga family want to get their son married off, just as Durdana (Urwa Hocane) expresses her feelings for Fawad. But both Fawad and his family have their eyes elsewhere.
Amal Dastoor (Mehwish Hayat) who has just returned to Karachi from London wins the heart of both Fawad and his mother (Saba Hameed), when the Khaggas are visiting their family friends Dastoors, resulting in a formal marriage proposal being sent. Amal turns it down during an early morning jogging with Fawad’s grandfather Mehtab Khagga (Sohail Ahmed)
Fawad, who ‘found his Heer’ in an image that his mother WhatsApped, is now hell bent on turning that No into Yes. And from this most clichéd of foundations a storyline is built that is as atypical as a Pakistan romantic comedy drama could hope to be.
Khalil-ur-Rehman makes sure that even if you had no idea who the writer of the movie is, you’d be able to guess it about 20 minutes into the film. Meanwhile, Nadeem Baig starts off from where he left off with Jawani Phir Nahi Ani and has now directed two of the best Pakistani comedies of recent memory.
How good PNJ is, depends almost entirely on the LOL factor. Just like JPNA, if it doesn’t make you laugh, it can end up being a cringe-fest.
But it’s safe to say PNJ would get laughs out of the toughest of us. For those of us that enjoy the Punjabi brand of wit – on display in many TV channels these days – Nadeem Baig’s PNJ is a clear winner!
Baig is aided immensely by the stellar cast, each of whom has the perfect comic timing. In terms of hilarity and delivery of punches Sohail Ahmed leads the queue and gives you the loudest of laughs. Ahmed Ali Butt, as Fawad’s friend Shafeeq, always ups the ante on the comic level in each of the scenes he’s involved in – which truth be told, should’ve been greater in number.
Waseem Abbas and Saba Hameed of course played the husband and wife duo masterfully as Fawad’s parents. Behroz Sabzwari as Amal’s father is criminally under utilised, but seamlessly does whatever little is asked of him as one would expect.
Urwa Hocane is perhaps the biggest surprise of the movie. Not only is her dialogue delivery immaculate, she nails the ‘other woman’s’ – and cousin’s – role. The same can’t be said for the ‘other man’ Azfar Rehman, as Vasay, who fluctuated just as his character did.
Humayun Saeed and Mehwish Hayat completely steal the show. They do complete justice to the complicated characters that Fawad and Amal are, while sticking to the needs of the screenplay and the storyline at any given time.
The music is catchy and 24/7 lakhilna might stick in your mind for a while – not the dancing though, unless of course you’re watching Ahmed Ali Butt.
The film ticks most of the boxes for a purely commercial movie, but in bits and pieces addresses many of the societal issues – in some places seeming to endorsing the conservative mindset, while at others highlighting progress.
But, very smartly, it takes the complete backseat when it comes to any public service messages. It has an entertainment formula in place, and the ingredients react just as planned – that’s all the film cares about.