Before going to see this movie I called almost all of my friends and colleagues who are basically from Swat and one of my colleague who is an excellent cook came to my place with excellent home-made beef biryani
Once settled I asked him what jannan meant?, he immediately said “mashooq”, and he then countered a question “do you have any Janaan?. My answer was an immediate and a big No.
DIRECTION & STORY: I have been to Swat many times and have stayed there, made friends, although didn’t make any Janaan. We were told that Janaan will be a movie aimed at bringing life to a culture that is overshadowed the most and highlights the essence of Pakhtoons. I did see some glimpses of pakhtoon culture in the movie but calling this a movie based on pakthoon culture wouldn’t right.
Never heard of any pakhtoon family sending their girl all by herself overseas for education, even some-one as famous as Malala didn’t go all by herself.
Meena had been away from family for six years only and on return not recognizing Asfandyar didn’t fit well, this kind of stuff is very common in bollywood movies. There are many other scenes that can only be seen in bollywood movie not in any part of Pakistan or Swat to be precise.
Ikramullah (Nayer Ijaz) is shown as a very influential person and the way he was arrested (way too easily) is not digestible, in our part of the world even a small crook is not that easy to arrest.
ACTING: Starting with Armeena, she disappointed once again with her acting skills, although she looked cute all through-out the movie and that was the only positive aspect that she could bring into the movie.
Bilal Ashraf the other lead looked very much inspired by Siddarth Malhotra and his acting in Kapoor & Sons, for me Bilal Ashraf was the biggest disappointment of the movie, expressionless acting. He should be better at ramp-walk.
Mishi Khan and Nayer Ijaz didn’t impress at all, and guy who was playing the role of Groom will try to forget this movie pretty soon, as he just couldn’t deliver. That Canadian girl didn’t know how to cry, she reminded me of bollywood movies of early 90’s.
Ajab Gul was perfect most of the time and surprise was Hania Amir excellent on her debut, I was told by friends that this is her first acting assignment; before this movie she had not acted in any drama / movie / commercial or anything similar, she handled here character very well. Grand-Mother acted well enough.
And lastly Ali Rehman Khan future super-star, can’t wait to see you soon again on-screen, you are the kind of stuff that our industry needs the most, you know how to act on big screen and you carried your character very well through-out. Thoroughly impressed.
MUSIC: Music has always been best part of most of the Pakistani movies released recently and same was for Janaan. Both versions of title song Janaan were excellent especially female version sung by Sherya Ghoshal was mind blowing. Reid-i-Gul had an amazing feel to it, although didn’t understand much of song but felt good and Jhoom lay had nice vocals from Natasha but this song had a bollywood essence to it. Shor Sharaba was the only forgettable song of this movie.
CONCLUSION: Decent try by Azfar Jafri to show pakhtoon culture and even with its loop-holes it was a nice experience watching this movie with no real big stars. It seems that now we are getting used-to watching Pakistani movies and finally the cinematography of Swat was truly amazing, had no idea that Swat is such a beautiful place. Excellent of cinematography.