Move over- The New Generation of Pakistani Super Stars is Here to Take over With ‘Janaan’
As I waited for the movie to begin, I was told to enjoy the experience and watch without any preconceived notions, which I did. The movie opens with Armeena Rana Khan, as she returns to Pakistan and takes us through breathtakingly scenic Swat valley to a house full of guests that had gathered together after years for a family wedding.
Although, the movie was claiming to portray the Pukhtoon customs and traditions, besides the location, local dialect incorporated in the script, there was nothing really reflective of the culture per say.
First half starts with a feeler of a 90’s Bollywood chic flick. A large joint family setting, with an assortment of cheerful characters engrossing the audience with their traits tailored according to their age and humour thrown in to keep the beginning light. The characters have their moments, they make you laugh and cry with them. Its very original in its treatment and thats why its so appealing till the end.
Osman Khalid Butt’s script is bumpy and often confusing. The story struggles to show a smooth transition syncing both the stories. The parallel narrative goes from family drama at a wedding to addressing a social issue, which might be an attempt to create a sense of mystery, however it shows a disconnect and feels incomplete with no lessons learnt by the end of it.
The saving face of the movie are the lead actors. Starting with Bilal Ashraf, the protagonist wins hearts from his first scene. His staggering good looks and a ‘people’s person’ personality has left girls swooning over his swag and youngsters loving his humour on social media. Bilal’s reel life character as Asfandyar in Janaan is an opposite of his real life persona. His performance as a debut is beyond admirable. His deep voice and tall structure was just what was needed to portray him as a hot-headed Pukhtoon reeled into issues. Beneath all the anger, was his character of a reserved and indebted boy and despite switching personality traits, he does justice to both sides with ease and fervour. He has established his strengths with Janaan and we can only wait for his other movies to see what the versatile actor has to offer.
Ali Rehman Khan, has established himself with his work as a theatre actor and TV drama roles in the past, but his performance in Janaan has left the big screen craving for more. We have been anxiously waiting for Ali to hit the screens and his role as Danial - a character very close to his actual personality has left us all wanting more of Ali in comic roles. He is fun, funny, emotional and definitely adds life to the film. He gels naturally with all the characters of the film with his considerable acting skills proving that he is capable of dealing with all genres effortlessly.
Armeena Rana Khan with her flawless skin and alluring smile plays the character of Meena with grace. Its great to see an actress who is not out there yet executes her scenes with much ease as a Canadian-Pakistan who returns to Swat for her cousins wedding and rekindle with her roots. However, she does a better job at emotional scenes rather than the chirpy girl next door, which felt a bit forced. The mehndi sequence, that should have been the strongest in terms of music and dance, was actually quite uncomfortable to watch; Armeena’s lack of dancing skills and the confused track is a recipe for disaster.
Although, the music could have been better, the title track is soulful and brews mixed emotions. Sherya Ghoshal’s vocals with the title track Janaan bring in the right depth when the female version is played in the background as Armeena emotes her helpless love for Bilal which is possibly one of the strongest scenes of the movie that resonates with emotions and brings out the best in all three actors.
Haniah Omar is definitely an actress to look out for. She plays her role as Bilal’s sister to perfection. Her screen presence, clear dialogue delivery and adorable looks makes her a complete package. It was pleasant to see Ajab Gul playing Bilal's father in the film and other actors like
Penned by actor Osman Khalid Butt and produced by Rehaam khan and Hareem Farooq the movie has its ups and downs, however it keeps the audience engaged till the last moment. A special mention to the the wardrobe stylist who manages to bring the right feel of the movie.
Please go watch Janaan. Its definitely deserves your time!