Maan Jao Naa (Review): The perfect weekend watch

Movie Name: Maan Jao Naa

Release Date: February 2, 2018

Director: Aabis Raza

Review by: Momin Ali Munshi

To say that Maan Jao Naa has emerged as a dark horse would be an understatement. When the film was first announced, there weren’t many expectations attached given it was a bunch of new kids coming together to make a film. Then once the promos came out, they made everyone sit up and take notice given their well shot and cut nature. However, the attention was soon diverted to the two leads because Elnaaz was a model whose acting chops seemed shaky and Adeel didn’t quite impress with his act in the trailer either. So people, including myself, had assumed it would be another blah film which would fail to impress and wouldn’t have anything new to offer. But boy was I proved wrong after seeing the film!

First and foremost I have to say that Elnaaz Norouzi’s debut as an actress is probably the most impactful debut of the last decade. And by debut here I mean an actual acting debut and not the game of musical chairs between television and film which is a norm here in Pakistan. The last time a girl had such a powerful debut was in 2000 when Zara Sheikh starred in Tere Pyaar Main and gave Pakistan it’s next obsession. Elnaaz gets a well-written role, where she has the margin to perform and showcase her talent. That she is drop dead gorgeous and can dance like there is no tomorrow only adds to the package. Obviously, given it is her first acting performance she is a bit raw, but for a debut, well she has arrived!

Adeel Chaudhry may have acted before in television serials and Bollywood films (yes, he has actually acted in two Bollywood film) but this time he’s in the spotlight as the outright commercial hero where he gets to dance, fight the villain and play the chocolate boy hero and Adeel is definitely a welcome addition to the limited number of heroes we have. He looks good on the screen, all he needs is some work on his dialogue delivery and he will go places. Ghana Ali who was the second lead gets a poorly written role where she doesn’t have much to do other than look pretty. Nonetheless, she does well and shows her prowess as an actress in whatever little she has. As I said in my Rangreza review, this girl is a star in the making and she just needs one breakthrough role.

As for the other supporting cast, Ayaz Samoo is funny as always and provides the comic relief with his one-liners and just being himself brings a smile on your face. Hajra Yamin is another welcome addition to the industry and is a great performer. Naeem Haque definitely looks the part he is playing but his dialogue delivery is off at times and his character is rather poorly developed too. All the senior actors do well in their roles with Asma Abbas and Asif Raza Mir particularly shining bright and lighting up the screen just with their presence.

What is the film about? Well, the story revolves around a group of four friends. Rania (Elnaaaz) does not believe in the institution of marriage, Faris (Adeel Chaudhry) who has a thing for Rania, and  Asim (Ayaz Samoo) who is head over heels for Sara (Hajra Yamin). Enter into the picture Gujhi (Naeem Haque) who proposes to Rania and what follows is a roller coaster ride which you will have to go see in the cinemas.

The film has been beautifully shot and is definitely one of the more visually appealing films to have come out of Pakistan in recent times. The director and cinematographer have done a tremendous job (barring that fight sequence in the second half). The writing, a bit of a mishmash, pays homage to the romance genre and uses all the tropes but gives them a localized treatment with a heavy influx of our cultural values which makes it an interesting watch. Yes, it is predictable from the word go, but the journey till the end is a fun one where lots of fun characters come and go making it worth the while.

The music is good and that all songs have been well shot is an added plus. Be it the peppy ‘Ishq Beqarar’ or the soulful ‘Dil Be Sabra’ (shot beautifully) every song helps the film.It was rather unfortunate that due to copyright issues chunks of song ‘Bijli’ were taken out or else that song would have been a treat.

Verdict: A visually appealing film, with a bunch of new talented actors, makes for the perfect weekend watch.

Rating: 3/5 stars

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I might be an Economics graduate from LUMS, but cinema is where my heart truly belongs. Always up for a discussion on fims and I guess you could call me a Pakistani Cinema aficionado. Email: mominalimunshi@yahoo.com

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