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Punjab Nahi Jaungi premiered today (or rather yesterday evening as it’s almost 2 am on Wednesday morning right now) and without giving away any spoilers, I will say that it’s a simple film with solid heart. The fact that I’m home after a long premiere and writing this story has a lot to say about how I feel about it.

The film’s first premiere, in Karachi, ran a little late and it seemed by the huge turn out that more invites had been distributed than there were seats in two fully packed cinemas but it was worth the wait and the mad rush. The film was engaging, thanks to Nadim Baig’s filmmaking skills and Khalil ur Rahman Qamar’s script as well as the cast, of course. The film isn’t flawless but there were more unpredictable strengths that added to its appeal. And to sum them up, contributing my two cents on why you should buy your tickets to watch PNJ this weekend (if you haven’t already), here are 5 reasons why Punjab Nahi Jaungi is a must-watch…

1. Humayun Saeed and Mehwish Hayat make a great onscreen couple

It wouldn’t be wrong to say that Humayun and Mehwish are the most compatible onscreen couple of the decade. I would have voted Fawad and Mahira Khan as number one but they haven’t done a movie together yet whereas Humayun and Mehwish have now done two films and one drama serial (Dillagi) together. Their performances in PNJ are extremely convincing.

Humayun Saeed, now better known as Fawad Khagga

2. Urwa Hocane is the surprise card

To be honest, I have seen Urwa Hocane in Na Maloom Afraad and Udaari and neither film or drama did justice to what this young actor can deliver. Her performance is extremely strong as she portrays a character that she’s never done before. I also liked the fact that she plays a part in the plot of the story and isn’t just a third wheel in a predictable love triangle. We critiqued her dance ‘24/7’ a bit too much, I confess, because it doesn’t look even half as bad on the big screen.

Mawra and Urwa Hocane at the Karachi premiere.

3. Sets and costumes: the aesthetic is right

PNJ’s production value is slick and the investment made in getting the sets and costumes right shows. We all know that Deepak Perwani designed some 300 outfits for the movie and they all work in making the look and feel of the film contemporary and tasteful. We had initially objected to the mermaid lehnga Urwa had to wear for her dance but Deepak clarified that the director very clearly wanted a ‘non item’ look and so didn’t want a sharara or lehnga.

It’s commendable that Mehwish Hayat has become a champion for strong women.

4. Comic element

There are no plugged in and forced comic scenes because the entire film’s narrative allows humour to blend in with sorrow and and drama. That is very refreshing.

Ahmed Ali Butt is a natural but one expected to see more of him.

5. The progressive toss between realism and romanticism

The film is progressive every step of the way and sends all the right signals. It pushes the boundaries of every stereotype associated with Punjabi feudals. The end, without giving it away, can be perceived in whichever way one wants; that is its beauty. Half full and half empty, depending what one’s perspective is, PNJ’s end allows the viewer to debate its validity and leaves room for discussion. I do think that is important.

  • Watch this space for an in-depth Haute review of the film, coming soon…