Movie Name: Jawani Phir Nahi Ani 2
Release Date: Aug 22, 2018
Director: Nadeem Baig
Review by: Momin Ali Munshi
Film sequels are like a double-edged sword. While on one side is an increased probability of box-office bounty and the chances of creating a successful franchise, the flip side is a heavy weight of expectations along with a risk of content exhaustion. When Jawani Phir Nahi Ani 1 released in 2015, the newly revived film industry was experiencing its first major growth spurt after having come into existence a few years back. At that time a technically sound, visually appealing film with a decent script full of comedy and stellar ensemble cast spelled magic and took the entire country by storm. Talk of a sequel had already begun!
Now in 2018, three years later comes out Jawani Phir Nahi Ani 2 – a glossier, shinier, grander upgrade on the original film with even more exotic locations, more focus on wardrobe, and a general lush feel for the film. But while the highly stylised film has beautiful frames, the content that is filling those frames hasn’t really been worked upon which results in a film that is beautiful from the exterior but hollow on the inside. Don’t worry, the pop culture references and the localized humor is very much still a part of the film but the basic plot of the film and the general writing seems to have been taken for granted.
The story of the film picks up a few years after where the first film ended where we have the two original ‘Jawani boys’ Pervez (Ahmed Ali Butt) and Sheikh (Vasay Chaudhry) making their way to Turkey with their wives for a surprise reunion of Lubna (Uzma Khan) with her long-lost brother Rahat (Fahad Mustafa) who is getting married to Zoe (Mawra Hocane), daughter of super-successful designer Balani (Sohail Ahmed). As fate would have it, the boys are reunited with their friend Sherry (Humayun Saeed) and what follows is a brainless comic ride which moves from Turkey and ends in Dubai.
Written by Vasay Chaudhry, the film focuses much more on dialogues and punch lines than the main plot itself. Yes, a ground-breaking story was never expected from the film in the first place but the loopholes in the story are so major that one wonders how stupid do the makers think the audiences are. Without getting into spoilers, the main Humayun Saeed-Kubra Khan track is all based on one chance meeting, and what follows you cannot fully digest. In all honesty, I think Vasay and team should work on a spoof film where they have small comedy sketches with a thin plot which binds them together, that way they can fully make comic references to films and pop culture references – which is definitely his strength anyhow.
Furthermore, the addition of Fahad Mustafa to the film was both a win and a loss too. In the first film, Humayun was the central hero with the three boys playing second fiddle. However, this time around the addition of Fahad Mustafa meant that the actor was to be given the screen space his stardom required – not necessarily what his character demanded. So the first half of the film was primarily centered around Fahad Mustafa with a lot of introductory scenes being completely useless in the grander scheme of things. Running at about 2 hours 40 minutes the film could easily be chopped by about 30 minutes without having any affect on the plot.
Talking a bit more about the first half, the film opens with the grandiose which one expected from the film where we see a beautifully shot car chase sequence followed by the trademark ‘JPNA’ moment where a character is all set for a dramatic suicide. The scene serves as the perfect opening and sets the mood for the film. Then comes the much talked about ‘Fawad Khan’ cameo about which I could write another article. The scene is unclear, unneeded, anything but funny, wastes a good five minutes, makes you lose interest and look to your mobile phone and is only unflattering for the superstar although he completely owned the character on screen. The mood is clearly dampened!
Talking about the performances everyone in the ensemble cast puts their best foot forward and gives a brilliant performance. Humayun Saeed and his comic timing are too good, and the scenes where we see an uninhibited Humayun are amongst the funniest moments in the film. The emotional part, limited to a few scenes, has also been smoothly performed, and guess what his dancing skills have improved! Fahad Mustafa proves to be a wonderful addition if we solely talk about his performance, for he is comfortable in his skin, has an impeccable comic timing and also aces the physical comedy bits and is definitely a new chocolate hero for the industry.
Vasay Chaudhry and Ahmed Ali Butt are the two main driving forces for comedy in this film and they do great, especially the second half sequences featuring the duo are outright hilarious! Kubra Khan looks gorgeous on-screen and proves to be a great new addition to the film, she can act, she can dance and she is definitely a face to watch out for. Mawra Hocane is hardly there but she does justice to the content she had, also the last scene with Fahad and Mawra is the only time she actually got to ‘perform’ and can I say she looks beautiful when she’s crying.
Sohail Ahmed playing an extension of one of his Hasb-e-Haal characters is the funniest character in the film and owns the screen whenever he makes an appearance. Model turned actor Omer Shahzad fits the bill for the character he is playing and proves to be a worthy antagonist in the film with his drool-worthy body. Sarwat Gillani lines are funny but limited while Uzma Khan is the weakest link in the film. Indian actors definitely add a new flavor to the film and definitely add a lot of value.
The music of the film leaves much room for improvement where Behka Re and Lahore Terey Tey are the only two memorable tracks which have been beautifully shot too. Title track Tillay Wali Jooti is bland and the video is very forgettable. Ishq Hoa Jo Tari, God knows why it was there for both the audio and the video is boring! As for Aaya Lariye, well the unanimous verdict was out when the song first released itself. The background music is okay and it was interesting how music from ‘Punjab Nahi Jaungi’ was used in the emotional sequences.
Nadeem Baig as a director has given us two of the biggest films of the decade ‘Punjab Nahi Jaungi’ and ‘Jawani Phir Nahi Ani’ where he proved his mettle as a film-maker and storyteller. However this time he misses the mark by focussing more on the fluff and less on content. Had this film come out last year or the year before it would have been whole-heartedly celebrated. But over the years the film watching audiences have matured and become much wary. However, not all is wrong as this film does have its comic moments – a whole lot of them, and is a visual representation of how far we have come in terms of our technological advances and how our nascent industry is stumbling, falling but moving in the right direction.
Verdict: A highly stylised film with its fair share of laughs but not a worthy successor to the original film.