What’s the foremost question that’s asked by film buffs when a blockbuster film with cult following is having a sequel at the corner? ofcourse its “Is it better than the prequel or not?” Watching the film at its premiere we took the same question like any other regular “lay man film buff” to find the answer and we are glad the answer to the question isn’t disappointing.
The much touted and heavily publicized sequel to the once all time highest grosser of Pakistani cinema history opens with much panache with Turkish music in the background. You see Turkish Dervesh Sculptures with soothing Oriental music while the camera moves from glittering lanterns to a regular Istanbul street scene where an adrenaline filled car chase scene ensues. The opening scene is a hint to you to brace yourself for the strikingly contrasting frames and themes that you will be witnessing for the next 165 minutes to come.
JPNA 2 is composed in almost every department in such sharpest way that you can’t help but notice how far the franchise’s second installment has left the prequel miles behind. The film isn’t pretentious at all, so much so that its not even hesitant to show the tiredness and creases over the faces of its leading men, following a car chase sequence, which would obviously appear on any regular man’s face after three years have passed. Looking at their torsos they may not be looking “Jawans” but they still share that eternal bond of friendship which the film very proudly flaunts and exploits very cleverly.
The film then rolls to show how the leading characters head to Turkey to fix the wedding of new gang entrant, the investment banker Rahat, played by the suave Fahad Mustafa. There is grandeur, luxury and glamour in very frame on the screen as new characters being introduced adding freshness to the screen.
What comes as a sigh of relief is that adorable characters like Gul (Sarwat Gilani) and Pepe (Ahmad Butt) have been given more screen space and substantial dialogues than the prequel. The film isn’t just a comedy sequel. There are so many subtle hints at how the characters have moved in their lives and how they have evolved as persons, making them even more believable. Gul for example has a more refined fashion sense than before, you won’t be seeing her clad in ethnic tribal outfits but still what she wears, hints at her roots. She has two sons now instead of one. The elder carrying the looks of his Punjabi father while the younger one is your quintessential handsome fair skinned Pashtun. You may love how ethnic outfits she wear, nevertheless she’s mercilessly trolled by Sohail Ahmad playing “Europe’s Top fashion designer” and father to Mawra Hocane, who doesn’t seemed to be fond of his Oriental background. All this makes up for the multiple crazy twists and turns which defy logic and reasons at all possible cerebral levels. Considering the brand of humor and cinema JPNA makers are selling, this should be expected as they had already told their clientele in the prequel what they will be selling to them in consequent outings of the franchise.
The friends have to deal with family politics between a “salaa” and a “Bhenoi”, a suicidal Lover who blames himself for his lost life partner ,a pampered “Papa ki princess” who’s love and compassion for Dogs dictates who she will be choosing for a life partner and a underworld Don who tries all what’s possible in the world to secure his multimillion dollar “investment”.
All this and you reach the end of the fast paced first half just before the effortless and beautiful Kubra Khan appears onscreen and take the film forward to the metropolitan of Dubai where this chameleon of a film changes its themes again encompassing cross border love, India Pakistan politics, testing of friendships and relationships and who gets the girl.
Its not just the characters in the film which have evolved. The entire film has “comes of age” and don’t expect just simple tongue in cheek comedy. It maintains it unapologetic political humor by using current affairs. This time not sparing PML N, Dawn leaks and even Imran Khan.
There is drama, a hint of action, commentary on sports and how two countries have wronged each other by reciprocating unjust and unneeded hate for each other. The brilliant Nawab Sahib come Indian ambassador to UAE played by Indian Talent Kalwanjit Singh shares a strong scene with one of the protagonists Sherry in his cozy study, where strong yet subtle emotions and dialogues are presented at you leaving you asking for more of this confrontation. this is followed by another scene where Humayun dialogue “Mere gurdey ma itna hi Dum ha, jitna meri ankhon ma Num ha” reflexly gets audience into claps. The India Pakistan angle is tackled with much maturity and you will see how the film doesn’t use Jingoist dialogues to attain claps of masses. It tries to bring the people on both sides of the border together. The treatment level is almost similar to what we saw in Positive films like “Bajrangi Bhaijan”. Telling us that both countries have “Ik Hi Baap Dada”, It doesn’t shy away in praising our neighboring nation for their achievements and attributes. At the same time it highlights how a Pakistani feels proud of his identity. All this is quite brave in itself considering the recent nationalist themes exploited in Indian politics and consequently in Bollywood.
The film however isn’t short on its “Could have been better” list.The songs and its choreography being the top of it. Shabeen Khan has previously added edge to the beautifully composed and sung songs in films of the same production house but here the only song that has the potential to stay longer is the celebration song “Lahore terey Te”. Other than that its Fahad’s Persona which makes the Wedding song “Aya larriye” an entertainer. God knows what would have happened, had the crowd puller actor absent from the song. There are some dragged scenes here and there, which could have been chopped to make the film sharper and slicker in running.
However this is covered by the already mentioned beautifully crafted characters, screenplay , a background score that’s treat to the auditory receptors and flawless acting of almost every actor. Amhad Butt, Fahad Mustafa and Kubra Khan steal the show. Not lagging behind is Sohail Ahmad and Humayun Saeed. Mawra Looks her best in the last scene and how her look is designed for “post heartbreak” phase is worth mention as well.
JPNA 2 will surely prove to be a crowd puller and will prove to give a tough run for their money to the other two releases “Parwaaz ha Junoon” and “Load wedding”. Some turns in the screenplay may not be easy to digest but keeping the genre of the film you leave the hall happy and entertained. That’s what this films strives for and that’s what it caters for. Also look out for interesting cameos by popular actors like Fawad Khan, Hamza Ali abbasi and Mehwish Hayat, aptly placed to carry the film forward.
This “Mature Jawani” should be enjoyed on big screens as a family entertainer considering its extensive scale, colorful palette and varying themes it has to offer for the entire family.