Janaan claimed to break stereotypes and show Pakistan in a positive light this Eid. Co-produced by Hareem Farooq and Imran Raza Kazmi, the movie showcasing the culture of Swat is Azfar Jafri’s directorial venture, penned by Osman Khalid Butt.
Promotional activities kept the movie and lead cast in the spotlight; Armeena Khan, Bilal Ashraf and Ali Rehman Khan along with the Janaan team left no stones unturned to create the hype and anticipation.
And at last, the premiere took place on Saturday, in a packed Nueplex full of celebrities who came to support the cast and the cause.
Janaan is a family movie, revolving around a Pakhtun family residing in Swat. The story takes off with Meena (Armeena Khan) dreading her trip to Pakistan and her friends being scared for her life. She’s heading home after living aboard for almost a decade to attend a big fat family wedding.
Armeena does justice to her role and makes it look very natural and believable. After all, she is a Pathan herself, and she has returned to Pakistan after living abroad. So considering looks, personality and the demand of the character , Armeena seemed to be the perfect fit for Meena’s role.
On her return, she is welcomed by beautiful landscapes, a huge khandaan and two potential suitors. Both her cousins Asfandyar (Bilal Ashraf) and Danial (Ali Rehman) are grown good looking men who happen to be interested in her. We’ll, wasn’t this expected? We always knew there was a love triangle to begin with. The only question was who she’d end up with.
Bilal Ashraf plays the much mature and responsible cousin who runs an orphanage to bring a change in society. The boy is the apple of everyone’s eye with only one flaw, his anger. On the other hand, Ali portrays the character of a carefree flirt to perfection. While Bilal’s charm is hard to resist, Ali’s acting and witty one-liners are hard to miss. Together the two are a treat to watch!
Mishi Khan, Hania Aamir and Usman Mukhtar play a great supporting cast. And since every fairy tale needs a villain, this one had Nayyar Ejaz.
The movie also had a number of blink and miss cameos that we couldn’t make sense of. A longer screen time would’ve done justice to the talent they possess. One such example is Hareem Farooq.
Janaan is a sweet simple story with a little unnecessary extravagance here and there. Not that we mind, but it could paint a false image of Pakhtuns yet again. If they are labeled as hot-headed terrorists, now they can be mistaken for being too liberal after watching the movie. Let’s not forget it’s Swat and not Karachi/Lahore we’re talking about.
Did Janaan actually break stereotypes? To be honest, it did and it did not. The movie comes with its fair share of highs and lows. But since the industry is still in the reviving phase, let’s be a little less critical and harsh maybe?
A good attempt by the filmmakers at highlighting some serious issues. However, with a more focused plot and smooth transition, the movie could’ve come out a lot better.
To watch or not to watch? If you want to support Pakistani cinema and new talent, why not?