November Issue 2015
Let the Good Times Roll
Think kitsch… it’s here. Recall every wannabe somebody you’d like to send up — and voila! Imagine taking the farce that plays out as the life and times of Pakland’s young and restless, and satirising even that — but wait, it’s on screen. All that and more: great music, riotous colour and theatre of the absurd at another level.
Jawani Phir Nahi Aani, Pakistan’s latest film offering, is unapologetically ‘bonkers’ with an entirely politically incorrect string of one-liners fitting into an unabashedly, even if loosely, plagiarised storyline. (The Hangover). That’s the script, which almost seems to evolve at the director’s whims, not a set plot. Add to that the ensemble of characters — including a mad mafiosi turned fake-sheikh, a multi-lingual industrialist with a ditzy wife and a Paris Hilton‘ish’ daughter, and a lead cast, all ad-libbing at will and hamming it to the nth degree, and you could be looking at a box-office bomb.
Except, it’s not. In fact, it’s playing to packed houses, and everyone — young, old, hoi polloi, begamaat, alike — almost roll out laughing from the theatre because the film is unarguably funny, essentially feel-good.
Clearly, there’s a method to the madness. For starters, there’s the cast. Young, old, sartorially challenged or not, Humayun Saeed, and second lead, Hamza Ali Abbasi, look hot and happening. Ahmed Ali Butt is effortlessly adorable, and Vasay Chaudhry gets better which each scene. Ismail Tara is a riot, even if Javed Sheikh tries a little too hard.
The girls, Mehwish Hayat, Sohai Ali Abro, Ayesha Khan, Sarwat Gilani and Uzma Khan for their part, deserve bouquets for spunk and out there‘ness’. Good looking — botox and collagen notwithstanding ¬ and form-fitting in their respective roles, they give the guys a run for their money.
Most memorable: Sohai Ali Abro, for her self-deprecating, selfie-taking, cutesy take on US-returned, daddy’s dumb blonde doll. Also good is ‘Pathani’ Sarwat Gilani. And then, there is Bushra Ansari, who is well, just the usual, quick-as-a-whip Bushra.
Backdrop Bangkok provides the director freedom to really push the envelope: bikinis on the beach, hot—bod gyrations in the club, shots (of the liquid variety) at sunset…
The music by assorted artists is appropriately rocking — and the borrowed background numbers, used as fun interludes (Kal ho na ho, Larki ko dekha to aisa laga), cap the musical score.
The film’s director Nadeem Baig has clearly had as much fun with his film, as have his crew and cast — and more power to them. In fun-starved Pakistan, Jawani Phir Nahin Aani is a few hours of all-nonsense laughter.