I saw the movie Punjab Nahi Jaungi tonight in the cinema in Calgary. This is the recent Pakistani movie released this Eid staring Humayun Saeed, Mehwish Hayat amongst other very prominent names from the Pakistan drama industry. It is written by Khalil ur Rehman Qamar who is famous for dramas such as Sadqay Tumhare and Pyaray Afzal. Here is my review without any spoilers!
Punjab Nahi Jaungi is a total entertainer. Watch it because you want to go have a great time this Eid with your family. There is no vulgar scene. No violence (a little more on this ahead though). No item songs. There are beautiful locations, lovely songs, gorgeous dresses, and lots of laughs. This movie is packaged like an Eid entertainer. Watch it with these expectations and you will walk out happily.
As the name and the trailer suggest, the movie shows us characters from two worlds: Karachi and Punjab. This theme has been used before especially in the famous “Baraat” drama series. There are lots of jokes, however you can clearly see that there is a sense of equality. No culture is shown higher or beneath the other. There is respect and acceptance for diversity. This is a difficult balance to strike and the movie is able to achieve that.
You can tell that Khalil ur Rehman Qamar is the writer because of the dialogs, the rhythm of the words and the sometimes odd (and out-of-place) use of English words. A few lines from the movie will stay with you and you will understand why everyone who has seen the movie is laughing about “Help me Durdana”.
Which brings me to my other point. Punjab Nahi Jaungi touches many social topics such as the girl’s consent in marriage, domestic violence, infidelity, women empowerment, respect for women, gender equality, etc. However you will find the audience (and yourself) laughing even when the most serious of these topics is being discussed. Either it’s deliberate so as to get social messages across in a light manner or it’s a tactless trivialization of important issues. I hope it’s the former. It’s refreshing to see in-laws who encourage their daughter-in-law to pursue her dreams, reprimand their own son for his wrong doings and have the girl’s family support/welcome her even after she is married (and not repeat the line “ab susral tumhara asal ghar hai“).
There are many issues with the story telling, such as the rushed story line, rapid onslaught of emotions (love, ishq, shadi, berbaadi etc) and some seriously flawed reasons to love another person enough to marry them. However, I think if you go with the expectations of this being an entertainer and leave aside your need to find logic/reason in everything, you will come out happy.
The production value is amazing. I realized the impact of the big screen as I enjoyed the songs which had looked OK on my small phone screen and were “WOW” on the big one. The locations are beautiful and I want to visit each one of them. This is the beauty and need for cinema in Pakistan. It tells our story through our own inside jokes, our beautiful traditions, and the breath-taking backdrops in a larger-than-life context. This is why we need to watch and discuss Pakistani movies. The more we watch, the more we talk about them, the better they became.
Have you seen “Punjab Nahi Jaungi”? What did you think?