Being able to laugh at yourself is something we Pakistanis are not good at and Jawani Phir Nahi Ani makes you do just that! Written by Vasay Chaudhry, directed by Nadeem Baig and produced by Humayun Saeed’s Six Sigma Productions, the film is a laugh-out-loud riot from the moment it begins till the climax — and that too without taking help from the slapstick branch of comedy. Yes, the plot is brainless, the ridiculous situations the characters end up in are inspired from the Bollywood films of the ’90s but the acting is hilarious, the puns are brilliant and that’s what the audience longs for.
The flick is all set to create box office records because it isn’t good for just one viewing; it demands multiple trips to the theatre. The writer-director take digs at the memorable scenes and dialogues from Pakistani films of recent years (Bol and Waar being two such movies) as well as make pop cultural references that will probably not go down well with the fans of Shah Rukh Khan wannabes in Pakistan. Even the actors make fun of themselves and others in their fraternity (including those not part of the film) but it’s all in good humour.
Three childhood friends (Hamza Ali Abbasi, Ahmed Ali Butt, Vasay Chaudhry) lead stressful married lives under the influence of their wives (Ayesha Khan, Uzma Khan and Sarwat Gillani) until they are rescued by their friend Sherry (Humayun Saeed) who takes them on a fun trip to Bangkok. Things turn from sweet to bitter when Sherry — a successful divorce lawyer in America — falls prey to the charms of the local don’s daughter (Mehwish Hayat) and the boys decide to exit the country. Their troubles don’t end here and when Sherry decides to marry another girl (Sohai Ali Abro) in Pakistan, things go from bad to worse post interval … but more the troubles, the merrier.
Writer-director combo is king
Vasay Chaudhry’s script is given the perfect treatment by director Nadeem Baig as they come out as winners in their first film together. The duo that has given us the Baraat series and TV remake of Abhi To Main Jawaan Hoon does justice to the production acumen of Humayun Saeed who doesn’t disappoint after Main Hoon Shahid Afridi. As for Vasay, the writer hits the bull’s eye with his punch lines, his one liners and brilliant characterisation. Every actor is perfectly cast in the roles they play (except for one of the wives) and even the guest appearances don’t seem bad. Furthermore, the way sponsors are incorporated in the script and the places where the film is shot locally are good.
Watch this film while you can, writes Omair Alavi because aisi film phir nahi ani!
The film’s soundtrack is the weakest element and although Jalwa and Aisa Jorh Hai will live on courtesy the wedding season, the rest will be forgotten as soon as a film with a better soundtrack gets released. Musician Sahir Ali Bagga and Shani Arshad must quit their Anu Malik inspirations. Had someone else partnered with Sana Zulfiqar in Jalwa and Jay Mundiya, the songs would have done even better. Dance the Party reminds one of Yo Yo Honey Singh numbers and trust me, that’s not a compliment!
The film’s soundtrack is the weakest element and although Jalwa and Aisa Jorh Hai will live on courtesy the wedding season, the rest will be forgotten as soon as a film with a better soundtrack gets released. Sahir Ali Bagga and Shani Arshad must quit their Anu Malik inspirations.
The element of surprise does the trick
From taking a dig at the selfie culture to politicians, from Hamza Ali Abbasi’s love for Facebook to Humayun Saeed’s attempt to cash on his SRK side, from making fun of people from different cultures to having fun at Bangkok, the film has it all. The acting and the script are the last thing one could have expected from Humayun Saeed and gang because, well, he played the lover boy in the dramatic Bin Roye, Vasay Chaudhry’s last work Jackson Heights wasn’t a sitcom and Ahmed Ali Butt and Hamza Ali Abbasi were playing normal human beings for a change. Had a few dialogues and the sequence with bikini-clad women been avoided, it would have been better because now, some people might avoid the flick for that very reason. The film has the ability to make you laugh and that’s what it cashes on. Watch it while it’s still in theatres because aisi film phir nahi ani!
Published in Dawn, Sunday Magazine, September 25th, 2015