Every Eid, Lollywood takes on the responsibility of releasing a few promising “blockbusters,” to entertain people during the holidays, and provide a chance for Pakistanis to support their local industry. Among this season’s releases, was a movie titled Heer Maan Ja, an obvious play on the famous Heer Ranja love story, which followed the story of Heer (Hareem Farooq), who was set to be wed to Wajdaan (Faizan Sheikh) against her wishes.
As expected, the movie revolved around Heer’s attempts to escape the wedding, a quest which leads to her re-encounter with her former love interest, Kabeer (Ali Rehman), who agrees to help her in her escape. As is predicted, the hijinks of the protagonists ensue until Heer and Kabeer find true love in each other, and end up together.
Directed by Azfar Jafri (of Parchi and Sherdilfame), and produced by Imran Raza Kazmi, Hareem Farooq and Arif Lakhani, this film certainly left a lot to be desired. Specifically, the loopholes in the plot left the viewers dissatisfied. One such instance was the mention of Kabeer’s cancer diagnosis in the opening scene of the film, a point which had no real connection to the storyline nor was it elaborated.
Faizan Sheikh as Wajdaan
What must not be disregarded entirely is the cinematography and direction of the movie, which speaks volumes about how far Pakistani cinema has come since its inception. Everything from the locations, to the cinematography, to Heer’s wardrobe offer a visual treat. Although, one wonders how many glamorous clothes Heer manages to escape with in one tiny backpack.
The factors which contribute to the downfall of the movie, unfortunately, heavily outnumber the positives. Any brilliant movie must be supported by a strong storyline, a factor which this movie lacked quite obviously. Even Heer’s frequent wardrobe changes could not cover the fact that halfway through the movie, the plot was still unclear. The storyline went through abrupt turns until things escalated out of control, and comedy shifted to drama. Along with Kabeer’s aforementioned diagnosis, Heer also possessed LED shoes for her run-away scene, shoes which reminded the audience of Mehwish Hayat’s sneakers in Challawa.
The songs in the movie were few and far between, leaving much to be desired, once again. In fact, the audience may have appreciated more songs simply to make the movie easier to sit through. What was hard to miss was the resemblance which two of the songs bore to the soundtracks from Dil Waley Dulhania Lay Jayengeand Kal Ho Na Ho, making one wonder when Lollywood will stop relying on Bollywood for its ideas.
Though each actor delivered what little was required of their character, Hareem Farooq overacted in quite a few instances. Ali Rehman, on the other hand, did a much more decent job of playing Kabeer. The latter character was also more likeable as compared to his love interest, who constantly blamed Kabeer for being selfish and having ruined her life, although he went out of his way to rescue her from different situations.
The slapstick humour also fell flat on many occasions, painting a sad picture of the effort which is put into a script by Owais Korai Baloch. The reliance on cheap and crude humor to attract the masses, indeed paints a gloomy picture for the future of the industry. A lack of planning was also indicated by the minimal role assigned to Aamina Sheikh, who could have contributed depth to the plot, had her character been developed further.
While the increasing amount of Lollywood movies being released each year is admirable, it is imperative to focus on the quality of films. Instead of churning out films with overused storylines, masked by glamorous sets and wardrobes, more attention needs to be paid on scripts and character development. Only then can support be expected from the regular cinema goers.