Jawani Phir Nahin Ani is a complete laugh riot!
Having read several reviews and after having watched a lot of the promotional stuff on TV, I walked in to the theater expecting to be mildly amused. I am so not into a Masti or a Grand Masti type of comedy, I thought to myself, but ek tau it was Vasay’s writing, secondly it had gotten good reviews, and thirdly it was actually screening at a nearby theater … so ab after all this how could I possibly miss out?
Rationalizing it to myself, though, was only half the battle… getting shohar sahab to come along was a whole other matter. Why do I have to be dragged along to watch rotey dhotey TV dramas parading as films, he asked in exasperation. And I couldn’t really blame his reluctance, he was right… our last experience had been exactly that.
Barely five minutes into Jawani and everybody … all of us … me, meray shohar sahab, saath wali aunty, unki dost, un donon ke shohar, un se aagey waley uncle … every single person in the theater was laughing. Not at the movie, like the last time, but with the movie. And yes, this one looks, walks and talks like a film, with no drama hangover whatsoever in sight. And, yes! No roti dhoti ladies, or lads, either.
On paper the plot is nothing to write home about – three guys are fed up of their hen-pecked lives and then one day a long lost bachelor friend shows up with an idea that turns everybody’s life upside down – but it is Vasay Chaudhry’s patented witty, razor sharp writing that holds an otherwise hackneyed story line together. His humor is intelligent and funny and the inside jokes are spot on. Most importantly, the comedy, though raunchy in places, is not crude and neither is it the loud and slapstick kind of stuff that is being passed off as comedy these days on TV.
The characterization is really well done; even though Jawani boasts a huge cast, every member gets to play a well-defined role, each one very different from the other. Pretty much every actor gets a moment or two to call their own and shine, but even then there are those who shine so much brighter than the others.
I guess one would call Humayun Saeed the hero of this film, his is the character that propels the story and he is good no doubt, but really Jawani belongs to Vasay and Ahmed Ali Butt – these two are absolutely hilarious. The pair have some of the best lines in the movie and their comic timing is spot on. Hamza Ali Abbasi makes a good impression as well. Ismail Tara sahab is an absolute delight as the Don, Javed Sheikh not as much.
Among the women, Jawani represents Sohai Ali Abro’s coming of age as she nails it as the young social media maven, a brilliant critique of the self-obsessed society we live in these days. I have been watching her since her first appearance in Manjali and then in Saat Pardon Mein, and have to say she’s come a really long way since. Of all the ladies in this film, Sohai is the one with a film star like aura about her. Aisha Khan has great screen presence and her wardrobe choices are excellent. Sarwat Gilani is beautifully pregnant here and is so much fun as Sheikh’s Pathan wife. Mehwish Hayat does not leave a lasting impression even though she has quite a bit to do and say here, Uzma Khan is another one who does not make much of a mark. Bushra Ansari does well at what she always does, there is not much new about her character here.
Alongside these central characters, watch out for a whole lineup of surprise appearances by Mohammed Ahmed sahab (hilarious sequence), Gohar Rasheed (fabulous as the designer XYZ), Yasra Rizvi, Farhan Ali Agha, Ali Kazmi, Bilal Lashari, ZQ, Adil Wadia, Ghazala Javed, Adnan Siddiqui (in abstentia), and Fahad Mustafa.
As a director Nadeem Baig does well here in his first feature. Though there are a couple of sequences that do not add much to the movie and could’ve been edited out, the bhang aftermath scene and the Mehwish-Humayun Punjabi song, overall the pace and tension is well-maintained throughout, and the humor, though omnipresent, is never allowed to overwhelm the story.
While all this is well and good, it is not like the film is not without faults. The biggest drawback, to my mind is the music. Apart from a couple of songs – Ahmed Ali Butt’s rap the big standout for me, khul jaye botal a fun shout out to Madam Noor Jehan’s disco dildar mera – there is not much that stays with you. Product placement is awkward to stay the least and in your face in quite a few places. The choreography of songs, bar the last one directed by Adnan Malik – is very messy and seems very Bollywood wannabe. The one fight sequence seemed to have been edited haphazardly. The wardrobe choices too were questionable, specially for men, and most definitely that particularly mind-boggling green-orange-yellow sherwani worn by Hamza Ali Abbasi- what the what was all that about?
As an aside, now with so many movies coming out, on top of all the 50001 dramas, there really should be more of an effort to find unique locations and settings. Here, if I am not mistaken, wasn’t Javed Sheikh’s house the same one as used in Bin Roye, Aman House in Karachi?
In terms of the controversies we heard so much about earlier, I would say apart from a few beach scenes in the begining and a some raunchy lines here and there, there is nothing particularly objectionable about the movie. Its definitely not rocket science but its not the pits either. I walked in expecting to cringe in a few places, perhaps uncomfortable at times, but there was nothing like that here, infact I see so much more upsetting stuff on Pakistani TV these days, on supposedly family friendly channels, with no filter no censor no rating, no nothing whatsoever.
Aside from all this, my big peeve has to be with the subtitles – could somebody please proofread these before sending the prints to be screened abroad? Apart from the at times incorrect translation there were numerous spelling errors – goy for guy, Gullo Pat for Gullo Butt, desmond for diamantés, and this while I wasn’t even trying to read the subtitles!
In the final analysis Jawani Phir Nahin Ani is a leave your thinking caps at home and come be entertained kind of a movie. All of us who had started laughing at the begining were still laughing by the end of the film. People walked out of the theater discussing how entertaining the movie was and almost everybody was talking about Sohai’s MA MA line and her social media crazy character. So yeah, co-produced by Ary Films and Six Sigma, Jawani Phir Nahin Ani is neither flawless nor a masterpiece but definitely masaledar + mazedar = paisa wasool!
Written by SZ~