Punjab Nahi Jaungi has so far been one of the most successful Pakistani movie to be released recently featuring Mehwish Hayat and Hamayun Saeed. The plot was relatively simple with a ‘Sweet Home Allabama’- esque touch.
The story opens on Fawad (Hamayun Saeed) returning to his hometown Faislabad after completing his MA degree making him the first lad from his family to do so. His family holds a lavish celebration in which he is even crowned (!!) of all things.
Fawad evidences his *ahem* distinguished education by littering his conversations with incorrectly used phrases of broken English. Fawad soon settles on his cousin Amal as his ‘Heer’ after his mother sends him ONE picture of her and there our drama unfolds.
Twists soon appear as Fawad’s cousin Durdana professes her love for him and amal (quite reasonably in this author’s opinion) declines his rishta. Ahmed Ali Butt provides comic relief as a supporting character while Azfar Rehman plays Amal’s slighted beau, Vassay.
Just to open with, this was a comedy romance so it’s hard to nitpick at some of the more distasteful humor without seeming like a complete spoilsport. But there are some parts of the movie I found very questionable.
A lot of the laughs in the movie depended on the audience laughing at Fawad and Durdana’s abysmal attempt at speaking English but honestly that in itself is such a big indicator that this movie is dedicated to a certain type of audience. The type of audience that can actually chortle over the supposed ‘paindu’s’ that Durdana and Fawad were supposed to represent.
But honestly it’s 2017 can we not accept that English should not act as a qualifier for the intellect of an individual especially given how it indicates our own colonial legacy. Maybe our film industry could finally make a movie that is inclusive for ALL Pakistanis, it may seem like a small matter to quibble over but we should all remember that this country was fought for on the basis of Urdu (among other things) not English.
Additionally as soon as Amal declines Fawad’s rishta her family (dissapointingly enough) launches a horrific campaign of emotional blackmail. It is completely shocking to them that she wouldn’t want to marry a random cousin she doesn’t even know on the word of her Bebo??. The regressions of the plot didn’t get any better after that.
Amal consents to marrying Fawad because he has land and money, Fawad consistently comes out as manipulative and abusive. He doesn’t think hitting Amal is wrong till his parents and everyone else tells him so. REPEATEDLY. Fawad trying cheat on his wife is justified mysteriously because his wife hugged a male friend.
Newsflash: IT’S NOT THE SAME THING
Conclusion guys: in Nadeem Beyg universe Hug = Cheating
You know what I’ll make this whole review easier:
Plot Points in Punjab Nahi Jaungi That Made This Author Want To Rip Her Hair Out:
- Fawad admitting he just fooled Amal into believing he loved her so she would marry him
- Amal trying to get a divorce for said abuse + cheating was her overreacting apparently
- Fawad dragging Amal out of a party was somehow totally okay and something she was supposed to find ATTRACTIVE
- Fawad saying sorry led to all physical/emotional abuse totally forgiven
- Fawad crying led to everything being magically forgotten (handy superpower)
It’s just a movie we get that, but it’s also a movie watched by millions of people. Nadeem Beyg had a unique chance in making this film. He had seasoned characters with good chemistry and some of the industry’s best actors at his disposal.
He also had the chance to make a statement, in a humorous and subtle manner he could’ve definitively said that violence against women is wrong and should be punished under the full extent of the law no matter the ‘circumstances’. In a country with 97% rate of domestic abuse he could’ve shown the millions of women who were watching that they do not deserve this, that we should be doing better for them.
But he didn’t
And that has made all the difference.