7 Din Mohabbat In (Review): A stale fairy tale

Movie Name: 7 Din Mohabbat In

Release Date: June 16, 2018

Director: Farjad Nabi and Meenu Gaur

Review by: Momin Ali Munshi

Ever since its release this Eid, 7 Din Mohabbat In has divided the audiences and critics like no other. While on one side are reactions praising the film for its magical portrayal, others have relegated the film as fatuous drivel. Initially, when I saw the film, I completely dismissed it and felt cheated because I could not wrap my head around the fact that the film was written by Fasih Bari Khan, a personal favorite, and directed by Farjad-Meenu, who in the past gave us wonderful films like ‘Zinda Bhaag’ and ‘Jeevan Hathi’ (yes, I liked Jeevan Hathi). The fairy tale seemed absurd, the plot felt directionless, and the film: a far cry from a fulfilling cinematic experience.

Upon a careful analysis though, trying to pinpoint what made the film so nonsensical, I came to the realization that almost all faults of the film could be traced back to one main fatal flaw which rendered the film ineffective, and that is the fact that the film is stuffed to the gills! New characters are introduced at the drop of a hat, with no backstory and hardly any development or motive. The film tries to go preachy one instant and reverts back to being a no-brainer entertainer in the very next scene. And this struggle to do so much in 120 minutes is what ruined the film.

The main premise of the film is actually pretty interesting. A thirty-something geeky looking, unlucky in love, loser Tipu (Sheheryar Munawar), who lives a rather mundane life with his controlling mother (Hina Dilpazeer), and a melodramatic cousin Neeli (Mahira Khan), who has a penchant for all things filmy and is a hopeless romantic. Enters Jinn Dwarka Prasad (Javed Sheikh), who will make our zero into a hero, provided he, in seven days, gets a girl to profess her love for him. Failing to do so, however, will have him enslaved for eternity.

Now, while the basic idea: boy-girl-genie, is compelling, I do not fully agree with the proposition put forward by character Dwarka Prasad and feel it to be a lapse of judgment on writer’s part. You see the paradox, right? A guy who has failed in love, wants to be a hero so he can get himself a girl, finds a genie who says he will make him a hero, but he needs to find love for that? Kind of disoriented, no?

A lot of people have been defending the flaws of the film citing its fantasy nature as if the genre supposedly allows for such transgressions. No, it does not! ‘Once Upon A Time’ is an American fantasy television series which has captured the imagination of millions of people worldwide. The show is as fantastical as it gets, fairies, dragons, spells, and whatnot. But everything is carefully explained, and as the show often says, ‘magic has a price’, which reiterates that every action has a consequence and there is a reason why everything happens. Moreover, the well-written characters all have full-fledged back stories which is why they are what they are and hence all actions have clearly defined motives.

The characters of 7 Din Mohabbat In on the surface are extremely appealing, but there are so many of them and since not much has been done to develop them, they all fall short on one level or another. The makers invest in flashy introductions for every new character, while they could have focused on relevant flashbacks for a few main characters which would have brought more value. A lot of time is wasted on irrelevant characters, for instance, Sinbad (Mohammed Ehteshamuddin), whose entire purpose is just to give Tipu the magic lamp, has an entire lengthy VFX infused scene.

And while we are on the topic of wasting time and VFX, let me tell you that the makers pulled out all stops to flaunt the special effects they had managed to get for the film. Agreed, that what you had was amazing and a new milestone for CGI and sound design in Pakistan, but the constant display of these VFX effects not only resulted in a lot of un-needed scenes but after a point, the entire process became stale. New supporting character- New supporting characters there to support the supporting character-Dwarka’s appearance- Tipu looks into the lamp- Mahira scene and boom the process would reset itself.

I genuinely feel that had 7 Din Mohabbat In been a ten-part television series, or hell even a twenty episode drama series, it would have done wonders. The creators would have gotten more time to build on the universe, better explain the arcs, and present a well-rounded more engaging story. But since that did not happen, we had to see a cluttered film which was somewhat salvaged thanks to the brilliant acting by the cast and some genuinely hilarious sequences.

Sheheryar Munawar almost single-handedly carries the entire weight of the film on his shoulders and delivers a strong performance where he succeeds in creating a character which the audiences felt for. He looks the part, acts the part and does exceedingly well. The real surprise, however, is Mahira Khan, who sheds all inhibitions and does a role like she has never done before. She gets into the skin of the character and impresses with her performance and proves to be the comic relief, bringing a smile to the face whenever she was appears on screen.

Mira Sethi has a hilarious role, and she does well, but I don’t know if her part was edited or what but she was hardly there in the film. Really wanted to see more of her! Amna Ilyas proved her mettle as an actress with her first movie itself and here she reminds you yet again that models can definitely act, at least Amna can. All other supporting characters do well in the limited capacities and definitely gell well as an ensemble cast.

The background score of the film is a huge plus, and quite beautifully adds to the appeal of the film. However, the same cannot be said for the songs and their picturization which do not really leave much of an impact. I mean you can’t have a romantic number with Sheheryar Munawar-Mahira Khan and shoot it like a low budget song for an Eid telefilm. Especially when you have invested so much in VFX

Verdict: The film tries to be too many things and stuffs itself with a plethora of half-baked characters and situations, resulting in a stale tale which fails to entertain.

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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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