Load Wedding (Review): A socially relevant solid entertainer

Movie Name: Load Wedding

Release Date: Aug 22, 2018

Director: Nabeel Qureshi

Review by: Zeeshan Mahmood

Eid-ul-Azha now seems incomplete without a quintessential Filmwala production. This year, the dynamic duo of Fizza Ali Meerza and Nabeel Qureshi brought to screen the light-hearted social comedy ‘Load Wedding’. Set in rural Punjab, the film, packaged with a breezy romance, rib-tickling humor, and memorable performances, delivers a strong social message. A simple love-story is woven into a compelling social drama, which highlights various social issues and conveys the message effectively without getting preachy.

Nabeel Qureshi, director, and co-writer of the film succeeds in delivering another socially relevant solid entertainer. He has actually mastered the art of successfully bringing authentic and relatable stories from the heart of contemporary sub-urban Pakistan to the silver screen. After capturing the ordeals and ambitions of common men in Actor in Law and Na Maloom Afraad, he brings to fore the menace of dowry burdening the underprivileged class in ‘Load Wedding’.

The biggest highlight of the film is it’s simple and powerful script, which puts the story of Raja (Fahad Mustafa), who wants to marry his childhood crush Meeru (Mehwish Hayat) against all the odds, in center, and develops the subplot about his elder sister Baby Baji (Faiza Hasan) waiting to get married around it. The nuanced storytelling with relatable characters and lifelike situations makes it one of the finest scripts of the recent times.

Another strong point of ‘Load Wedding’ is its depiction of contemporary sub-urban central Punjab and the lifestyle of people living there with authenticity. Nabeel Qureshi’s supreme direction and Rana Kamran’s exquisite cinematography imparts realistic zeal to the film. The film accurately highlights many social issues prevalent in our society, including the menace of dowry and exploiting honor of the poor. It also captures the rising public frenzy over game shows (like, Jeeto Pakistan, which, ironically, is hosted by Fahad Mustafa in real life) and the desire to win big in these shows very well.

While ‘Load Wedding’ hits many right chords, it also exhibits some weaknesses of its director/writer, Nabeel Qureshi. With prior experience of making parodical shows on TV, like BNN, he laces his films with stock jokes and spoofs, which look like an extension of his small-screen work and do not work every time. The caricature of infamous TV host and politician Aamir Liaqat, presented as Aashiq Rafaqat, seemed like an ill-planned addition and only felt like a nuisance in the film. It was given way more than needed screen time, only spoiling the film-watching experience.

The reason for adding the spoof character of Aamir Liaqat was the game show, which had the same importance in the story as Who Wants to be a Millionaire in Oscar-winning Slumdog Millionaire. However, it could have been presented in a more mature and subtle way. The rating’s sub-plot, which was added to call out the TRP-hungry media, was reminiscent of similar sub-plot in Zindagi Kitni Haseen Hai. It was not properly integrated with the story and felt kind of over-powering too.

The co-writers of the film, Nabeel Qureshi, and Fizza Ali Meerza, wrote a well-paced script with tight screenplay; however, they dragged the second half, which dampened the film’s momentum. They made up for it by writing an eye-opening climax with good dialogues. Fahad Mustafa’s monologue in the end, especially, was one of the best things about the film and it will stay with the audiences for long. The co-writers also took some creative liberties in proving their point. For example, considering a widow a jinx is taken too far in the film. Also, the whole dowry part is overdone and seems unrealistic at some points.

Coming back to the film’s highlights, the performances given by every one of its small cast are praise-worthy in ‘Load Wedding’. At top of the list is Fahad Mustafa, whose performance is par excellence. He essayed the role of simple-hearted Raja to perfection and succeeded in making a connection with the audience. This is another memorable performance by Fahad Mustafa, who is a gem of an actor. Mehwish Hayat had a relatively limited role in the film but she delivered another powerful performance and created a spectacular chemistry and dynamism with Fahad Mustafa. She played the character of a rural Punjabi girl with aplomb. The only put-off was her unnatural Punjabi accent, which she needed to polish further.

All supporting actors played their roles equally well in the film. Most notably, Faiza Hasan brought the character of Baby Baji, an overage woman waiting to get married, to life with subtlety, despite that it was a comical role. Qaiser Piya gave another good performance by playing Raja’s best friend. He elicited several laughs with his perfect comic timing. It was also a novel idea to narrate the story from his perspective and giving him an important place in it (which gets clear in the end).

The music of ‘Load Wedding’ complements its story and settings. “Munday Lahore De” is a zestful Punjabi festive song, the tune of which is not commonly found on this side of the border. Fahad and Mehwish gave their best to match the energy of the vocalists in this well-choreographed number. “Good Luck” is another nice addition to the film, which augments the situation.

Verdict: A quintessential Filmwala production with a socially relevant story and high-quality entertainment. Baring its shortcomings and dragged second half, the film entertains, educates, and impresses with its storytelling, realism, and message.

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