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Janaan – Film Review

Janaan – Film Review 6

Producer: IRK Films, Reham Khan & ARY Films

Director: Azfar Jafri

Written by: Osman Khalid Butt

Music by: Ahmed Ali, Taha Malik, Salim Sulaiman

Cast: Armeena Rana Khan, Bilal Ashraf, Ali Rehman Khan, Hania Amir, Usman Mukhtar, Ajab Gul, Mishi Khan, Nayyer Ejaz, Jalal Khan, Fahad Ali Panni

Janaan promised to be a romantic comedy which would highlight the Pakhtoonculture. All the messages the film attempted to convey are relevant but does it manage to encapsulate the beauty of Swat and the attributes of the Pakhtoonculture? I would say not! The film challenges clichés about Pakhtoons but are the portrayals realistic or too modern? The best thing about this film is not its story but those two actors who make it worthwhile and its music. Bilal Ashraf and Hania Amir’s performances and perhaps good looks are the main reason why the viewers will have a reason to look forward to their upcoming projects and sit through Janaan. Janaan‘s soulful music adds some life to an otherwise lifeless story.

*Spoiler Alert*

Janaan opens with a verse from a Pashtu poet, which talks about attributes ofPakhtoon people. This opening raises the expectations of the viewers because all of a sudden you are looking forward to a very emotional drama which will have something bigger to offer instead of a romantic comedy.

The film opens with Meena (Armeena Rana Khan) packing her suitcases to leave for Pakistan. She is going to meet her family in Swat after 11 years of living in Canada. She goes there with a lot of preconceived notions. This opening gave the impression that the story was about Meena finding an identity in Swat, discovering her people and falling in love with them. All this eventually happened but at the end of the film you don’t feel like this was Meena’s story, this is Asfandyar’s (Bilal Ashraf) story more than it is Meena’s therefore it would have been much better if the story started in Swat and not in Canada! The first songJhoom Le was beautifully shot; this song introduced the viewers to the natural beauty of Swat and its people. You expect to see more of this natural beauty as the story progresses forward but it doesn’t happen!

janan-3-1After the intermission you expect the story to move forward more energetically but on the contrary all the reactions are somewhat delayed!! The only scenes which move you are the ones in which Daniyal (Ali Rehman Khan) shares his feelings with Asfandyar when he is locked in the bathroom although you do question why he didn’t lock himself in the room instead of the bathroom! Also the scene in which Palwasha (Hania Amir) tells her father that she was disappointed in him was very touching. Apart from that, everything was so delayed that it lost its impact. If Asfandyar’s father decided to hug him when Palwasha pointed out the family photograph was incomplete without her brother, it would have been more emotional. The timing of this scene and many other scenes was so wrong that they failed to have an impact.


The last scene of the film which should have been very powerful was flawed in many ways. Asfandyar, the hero, who was the only character in the film you could actually feel something for because of his overall personality and beliefs acts like a sissy in the end! That was a major put off. The “sharam aa rahi hai” dialogue was not funny or cute! Also, there is a noticeable difference in Armeena Rana Khan and Bilal Ashraf’s height, this difference was too prominent in the last scene just like it was in the first one. They would have looked more appealing together if Armeena Rana Khan wore heels or the scenes were shot in such a way that this difference wasn’t too obvious since it killed the beauty of some of their scenes together. Armeena Rana Khan’s shots from the front and the one from the back were also not consistent, which means they were not shot at the same time. The difference in the styling of her hair from the front made that very obvious. Also, after telling Meena that she should go avail the opportunity offered to her, Asfandayar came back, was planning to sit in the front seat and asked Daniyal to come – which made it look like he was planning to drive away!! Also, why did Asfandyar run straight into the fire?? Were there children in there he was attempting to save? No one mentioned those dead kids because when he was standing in the graveyard there was only one grave and he only blamed himself for not saving chotoo. Running into that fire was a completely pointless exercise only meant to keep the viewers guessing whether he was dead or alive!


Jannan is visually pleasing in a different way; everyone in the film is dressed to kill. The perfect looks of all these actors go really well with most of the situations but there are times when the made up looks don’t quite fit in! Armeena Rana Khan’s look in the last scene is much better than the gaudy look she is sporting throughout the film. Armeena Rana Khan has a very pretty face but her performance in Janaan is very average. In this film her good looks are also overshadowed by Hania Amir’s equally beautiful but more innocent face. Hania Amir isn’t just another pretty face but she does tremendously well for a newcomer. Her chemistry with Bilal Ashraf stands out more than Armeena Rana’s chemistry with him. I must admit that there were number of times when I thought it would have been far better if Hania Amir was playing the lead and not Armeena Rana. There is absolutely nothing new about Armeena Rana Khan’s looks or acting in Janaan. She sports the same look she has sported many times before too; the one we saw on Nishat’s billboards and commercial repeatedly! Since she is playing a character which doesn’t have much going for it either therefore even in those few minutes when she completely disappeared from screen, she wasn’t missed at all. Although Asfandyar’s character isn’t very impressive either, too simple and plain, but even then Bilal Ashraf manages to pull it off more because of his good looks than anything else since this character too doesn’t have much of a room for a grand performance. Ali Rehman Khan also makes the most of the role assigned to him but most of the jokes fall flat and he does not have the kind of screen presence Bilal Ashraf has. Mishi Khan is another actress who has done complete justice to her role in Janaan and her character is relatively different and very appealing. She deserved more screen time.


All of the songs in Janaan are upbeat and soulful but the film does not have a single well choreographed dance performance to its credit which is essential for a commercial film. The film does not involve you emotionally, there are very few times when you can connect to the characters on an emotional level but there are many more when you are left waiting for that moment when the situations will blow you away. The film has a Pashtu song and many dialogues in Pashtu, other than that it doesn’t really say much about the Pakhtoons in particular.


If you are looking for a film with a meaningful and solid story then Janaan is not the film for you but if you want to go watch this film because you support Pakistani talent and Pakistani cinema then you won’t be disappointed because it is 100 percent Pakistani! The production values of the film are great and it is visually pleasing in its own way even though the Janaan team failed to exploit Swat’s scenic beauty’s potential to the maximum!

How many of you watched this film? Do share your thoughts about it.

Movies Review

Arth – The Destination – Film Review

Writer: Shaan Shahid
Director: Shaan Shahid
Producers: Hammad Chaudhry, Faraz Chaudhry, Shaan Shahid
Cast: Shaan Shahid, Uzma Hassan, Humaima Malick, Mohib Mirza. Imran Momina, Yasir Hussain, Ali Azmat, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan & others.

Arth – The Final Destination (or Arth 2) is the remake of Mahesh Bhatt’s film Arth, a 1982 Indian film which even today is considered a classic for its groundbreaking storyline and powerful performances. This film therefore had big shoes to fill and I must say that Shaan Shahid deserves full credit for not only doing complete justice to this remake in all departments but also giving this classic a brand new identity. Arth 2 can easily be termed as a better and improved version of the original film because Shaan successfully managed to focus on that one character which I felt did not get the attention it truly deserved in the original version while keeping the essence of the original story and characters intact. Raj’s character in the original film was one of the most likeable characters but his journey wasn’t covered as beautifully in the original version of the film as it has been in this remake. The clarity with which Arth 2 has been executed reflects in every single scene; the characters are brilliantly etched-out and the riveting performances coupled with seamless direction and editing make this film a must-watch.

Arth 2 is essentially the story of two individuals who are lost and find their respective destinations in places where they weren’t even looking. The film has a strong message which is in line with its title but is different from the original film. Unlike many other recent Pakistani films, Arth 2 does not try to achieve too much but it stays true to its primary subject which is why it is a clear winner. Shaan Shahid essays the role of a singer (Ali) who loses his fan base as well as his career when he moves abroad. Shaan Shahid breathes life into this beautiful character almost effortlessly which is why you cannot help but feel and root for him every step of the way. Uzma Hassan plays the role of a housewife who also happens to be Ali’s biggest fan. The journeys of both these characters have been told in such a manner that you feel an instant connection with them right from the get-go. Uzma Hassan gives a phenomenal performance throughout; she owns her character completely all through the ups and downs. Humaima Malick and Mohib Mirza’s performances are equally impressive although there are times when you feel that Humaima Malick’s character gets more screen time than needed and it has also been over-sexualized. With this film Humaima Malick proves that she is perfectly capable of giving a solid performance therefore there was absolutely no need to focus on her sexuality so much.

This movie also has some beautifully composed songs to its credit with lyrics which gel in perfectly with different situations. Every song represents a specific point in a character’s journey therefore these songs are not just enjoyable but also unforgettable. Arth 2 is a complete package, a film which you can watch over and over again. It has an amazing screenplay, brilliant performances and it has been shot beautifully. The only disappointing aspect of the film is that the dialogues are mostly in English, there are many times when you want these beautiful characters and those wonderful actors speaking Urdu. That is the only reason why I gave this film 4 stars. I hope that the next time Shaan Shahid decides to make a film as beautiful and compelling as this one, he writes the dialogues in Urdu.

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Movies Review

Rangreza – Film Review

Writer: Akhtar Qayyum
Director: Amir Mohiuddin
Producer: Vision Art Films, MH Films and Malkani Films
Cast: Urwa Hocane, Bilal Ashraf, Goher Rasheed, Ghana Ali, Alyzeh Gabol, Seemi Pasha, Saba Faisal, Saleem Mairaj & others.

Rangreza is essentially a love story and like many other love stories which we have seen on the silver screen lately, this film too has a few social messages as well but unlike some other films which excelled in highlighting these messages while keeping the viewers interested and engaged, Rangreza falls short on many levels. The film is overcrowded with characters you feel absolutely nothing for and the love story doesn’t even start until after the interval. There is a lot of focus on the side characters who have nothing exciting to offer with the exception of Waseem Wallay played brilliantly by Goher Rasheed. Although the character itself is one-dimensional but the energy with which Goher Rasheed has translated it on screen makes it the only performance which stays with you.

Bilal Ashraf plays Ali Zain’s role in the film, he is a famous singer who falls in love with Reshmi ( Urwa Hocane) who belongs to a Qawwal family. The family ties and backgrounds of both these characters are just as unappealing as the characters themselves. Bilal Ashraf’s performance is just as plain and forgettable as his character and Urwa Hocane too doesn’t get a chance to showcase her acting skills. Although there is zero on screen chemistry between the leads but it is also a fact that the screenplay is such that it does not even explore the relationship these two share. Ghana Ali gets a lot more screen time than she deserves just like many other supporting characters. Alyzeh Gabol’s cameo in the film is pointless to say the least! Saba Faisal gives a decent performance in the film although her character too doesn’t have a lot to offer.

Watching this film was like watching an average episode of a drama which doesn’t have a solid storyline and is badly executed. The film does not even have the edge of being visually pleasing and it doesn’t have a single well choreographed song to its credit. Urwa Hocane proved that she can dance really well in Punjab Nahi Jaungi but the director and the choreographer failed to make the most of her ability to do so. The most disappointing aspect of the film is that the leading pair is hardly seen together in a romantic setting. Rangreza has the most unimpressive cinematography and overall it has an artificial feel to it which is why you feel completely disconnected from the happenings all through the film. The dialogues are just as plain as the characters and the story and there are also scenes in which the dialogues don’t even make sense. Overall the film is a big “yeh shadi nahi ho sakti scenario” which leaves a lot to be desired and literally puts you to sleep. Unfortunately such films are the reason why the cinema-goers think twice before watching a Pakistani film!

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Movies Review

Verna – Film Review

Writer & Director – Shoaib Mansoor
Produced by: SHOWMAN Productions
Starring: Mahira Khan, Haroon Shahid, Zarrar Khan, Naimal Khawar, Rasheed Naz, Salman Shaukat, Shaid Mir, Shehzad Mir & Others.

Verna was promoted as a film with a message and it was also quite apparent from the promotions that Mahira Khan and Shoaib Mansoor were the USP of this film. Shoaib Mansoor hasn’t only written, directed and produced this film but he has even written the lyrics for all the songs in the film. Anyone who has seen the trailers of the film must be well aware of the main plot. The question is does the film have enough surprises in store and is it well executed or not? While Verna succeeds in showing the mentality of many of the politicians who are at the helm of affairs in our country faultlessly, it fails to do justice to the other track which covers a victim’s story .  Many of the dialogues in the film have done-to-death written all over them, the kind of things we read and hear about all the time. There are a few hard hitting dialogues in the film but there are so many others which fall completely flat because you hear the characters say those things but you don’t actually feel them.

The trials and tribulations of Sara ( Mahira Khan) aren’t translated on screen in such a way that you truly feel for her. Although Sara’s character is the best thing about the film but there were times when I had a really difficult time connecting to her character. Her strength was admirable but some of her decisions and actions did not go well with the otherwise serious and realistic theme of the film. The introduction to the characters is simplistic and the relationship between Sara and Aami (Haroon Shahid) is probably the worst part of the film. Aami’s character is almost unbearable, his only role in the story is to give people the message that children should be given polio drops. There are times when his scenes are laughable. There is absolutely no chemistry between Haroon Shahid and Mahira Khan perhaps because of the fact that their relationship doesn’t have a lot to offer. The “love” that exists between them doesn’t really come alive on screen which is why it is difficult to feel for them when they are going through hell.

Verna’s plot is interesting but the execution is poor. While Mahira Khan performed well and did the best she could to do justice to her character, there were some scenarios so weak that even her acting did not appear to be effortless. Haroon Shahid and Aami both are the worst thing about this film. Aami’s character is poorly etched-out, he is a disabled man both physically and mentally. I am wondering what Shoaib Mansoor was thinking, did he think that a line of weak characters will make his heroine look even more powerful? This film has some of the weakest supporting characters including the parents from both sides. Zarrar Khan performed brilliantly in the film but his character too didn’t have a lot to offer. There were times when it seemed like Sara was the only wise person around!! Naimal Khawar also did complete justice to her character. Adding a few more strong and intelligent supporting characters would have helped make the film more interesting. Verna reminded me of dramas like Chup Raho and Sangat. This is the first time I watched a film directed by Shoaib Mansoor and the lack of creativity stood out like a sore thumb. He failed to establish a solid relationship between the lead characters which was the film’s biggest drawback. All the songs in the film are meaningful but they are not melodious enough. Even the “happy songs” have not been shot in a creative manner. The director hasn’t used a lot of locations which is why the film has a dull feel overall. Apart from a fierce heroine, this film also needed a likeable hero and more logical ending.

Overall, Verna is neither thoroughly entertaining nor as disturbing as it should have been but at the same time it isn’t as poorly executed as Mehrunissa V Lub U. The script lacks depth as well as clarity. It would have been so much better if Shoaib Mansoor focused only on politics and did not drag women’s rights into the discussion since some of the scenarios are just plain ridiculous!

How many of you watched the film? Do share your thoughts about it.

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Movies Review

Na Maloom Afraad 2 – Film Review

Writer: Nabeel Qureshi & Fizza Ali Meerza
Director: Nabeel Qureshi
Producers: Fizza Ali Meerza & Mehdi Ali
Cast: Fahad Mustafa, Mohsin Abbas Haider, Javaid Sheikh, Hania Aamir, Urwa Hocane, Marina Khan, Saleem Mairaj, Nayyar Ejaz & others.

I am going to be honest, I did not have high expectations from this film especially because of the trailers more than anything else. I was definitely not expecting to be thoroughly entertained and did not expect to laugh hysterically for most part of the film. The trailers and even the songs did not do justice to a film which has a solid screenplay and is shot so well that at times you forget you are watching a Pakistani film. This film definitely has more highs than lows. The characterizations of the three main protagonists are brilliant, their interactions (for the most part) enjoyable and some of the dialogues are remarkably witty.Fahad Mustafa, Mohsin Abbas Haider and Javaid Sheikh own their characters completely right from the get-go and in this sequel are more improved versions of their respective roles. Shakeel’s (Javaid Sheikh) is definitely the most enjoyable one among them all.

What I absolutely loved about this film was that it is a side-splitting, all out comedy. The writers do not hold back at all but at times they even go overboard. One aspect of the film however which did not appeal to me and which wasn’t even needed was the excessive use of foul language, the F word (although muted) is used number of times and there are plenty of other scenes in which the crass jokes are added unnecessarily. The toilet humor makes you cringe a couple of time but there are plenty of scenes in which it is tolerable and even hilarious!

The plot of the film is also unpredictable, the writers couldn’t have given the viewers a more solid entertaining plot. It is however not logical; since this is a comedy film therefore I feel it is unfair to decipher every tiny detail based on logic! I must say that it is one of those very few Pakistani films which has a solid and well thought out storyline which went well with the theme of the film. Like other films written by Nabeel Qureshi and Fizza Ali Meerza, this one too highlights the trials and tribulations of the common man residing in Karachi in particular but the script on the whole will be relatable for any Pakistani viewer since the issues faced by every Pakistani are the same. It addresses class difference and much more. Watching Marina Khan act on the big screen after a long time was an absolutely delight. Nayyar Ejaz is brilliant as Sultan al- Baklawa; it has to be one of his best performances. Saleem Mairaj and the actor playing his companion were absolutely brilliant in their respective roles.

Na Maloom Afraad 2 can easily be termed as a film which is fun and also an impressively “stylish” film which is visually stunning as a whole. The biggest shortcoming of the film is that it failed to include the talented female leads in the story effectively. Like Actor In Law and Na Maloom Afraad, this one too relegates the female characters in the background and does not really incorporate their characters properly in the story. This is especially sad because Hania Aamir andUrwa Hocane both have given remarkable performances even though their characters have not been explored properly. Both the actresses were even excluded from the songs, which I felt was rather unfair because they deserved more screen time. Instead of showing Sadaf Kanwal’s item number, they could have been part of a song which took the story forward in some way. The song “Chal Hug Ley” was also a disappointment because the girls in bikinis could not dance and their bare bodies were supposed to be the only attraction. I definitely expected better from a director like Nabeel Qureshi at least in this context. Urwa Hocane dances so well and Hania Aamir I am certain could have shown her dance moves too if she was given a chance to do so. The songs and the way they were shot was the biggest disappointment in the film.

Overall, I would give this film 3.5 out 5 and recommend it to anyone who does not mind a few jokes which are in bad taste. This film will make you laugh especially if you watch it with a friend. Even with a few shortcomings, you will leave the cinema hall happy because NMA 2 is definitely an entertaining film. The styling, makeovers and the cinematography give this movie a unique and modern look. Nabeel Qureshi’s creativity reflects in many scenes and I especially liked the scene which came before intermission. The background score is also highly impressive. This film has a completely different flavor from PNJ therefore if you enjoyed one, you should definitely watch the other. Those of you, who like me found the gold commode repulsive should go watch this film as well, you won’t be disappointed! There is more to that commode than meets the eye 😉

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