Cast: Sana Javed , Danish Taimoor, Javed Sheikh, Saqib Sumeer, Qavi Khan, Nayyar Ejaz
Actor-turned-director Yasir Nawaz’s Mehrunisa V Lub U was one of the two big-banner Pakistani movies released this Eid. It is his second movie as a director, the first being Wrong No. The movie’s preview promised a typical masala entertainer with an underlying social message.
Just how much the movie managed to deliver on that promise, depends on the viewer’s tolerance for crude humor and an average plot.
Mehrunisa V Lub U carries a simple enough storyline. The hero, (Danish Taimoor) pines for his childhood sweetheart Mehrunisa (Sana Javed) who lives somewhere in the pristine Northern Areas of Pakistan. After spending three years in China, he comes back to Pakistan and immediately sets off to find and woo Mehrunisa. Quite predictably, they meet, fall in love and get married.
The real problem starts when the couple returns to Karachi and starts living in Ali’s neglected and dirty neighborhood. Mehrunisa, or Mehru, finds this environment such a huge change from her own clean and fresh surroundings that she falls into depression. Resultantly, she remains unable to conceive even after many months pass. Ali realizes that the filth in the surroundings is an obstacle to living, and giving birth to, a healthy and productive life. Hence he convinces his neighbours to clean up the area. Add to this a corrupt politician who wants to take over the area with the help of local hoodlums, and you have yourself a masalaydar plot … at least theoretically.
First, the good things: The movie tries to draw attention to many social issues. The first is the effect of physical environment on people’s psychological well-being. Secondly, the dire need to give married couples, especially newly married ones, space to know each other and grow together. One more issue that this movie highlights is the whole responsibility of ‘adapting’ to the in-laws should not fall on the girl’s shoulders after marriage. Her husband and in-laws should also take steps to make her transition easier and less problematic.
The song locations, music and pacing are quite suitable. Javed Sheikh, Qavi Khan and Nayyar Ejaz all fit their roles to a T. Nayyar Ejaz in particular deserves kudos for his portrayal of Marzi, who is frankly the most menacing negative character I have ever seen in Pakistani movies.
Sadly, that’s where the good stuff ends. There are many negatives in this film. Starting with the basics, I could not, for the life of me, understand why Mehrunisa was given minimal dialogues. Being the title character, a meatier and more proactive role was justified. Kuch nahi toh mohallay waalon ke sath mil ke jharoo hi laga letin? But it seemed like all she did was cry, dance and look sad or scared throughout the movie. Honestly, this role could have been played by anyone and Sana Javed’s talent was just wasted here.
As for Danish Taimoor, he seems to have fallen into this rut of playing the gali mohallay ka larka . We know that he can act, but it is high time he started taking risks and going for more diverse roles. In Mehrunisa V Lub U, he acts like he is supposed to but nothing beyond that.
The supporting actors fare better. Javed Sheikh delivers as the hero’s father, despite his obviously fake moustache. Qavi Khan plays the hero’s grandfather and wins with his timely one-liners. Nayyar Ejaz is best when he’s playing the bad guy. Saqib Sumeer is the real surprise package here. He plays the dual role of Ali’s friend and his friend’s father and is quite entertaining as both.
However, I cannot understand this weird obsession with the third gender. Ok fine, they exist, but why not give them the same treatment as you give to other characters? Why are they always either the source of, or the butt of jokes? Secondly, while I appreciate the good intentions behind showing the neighborhood rallying together to clean up their area, how in the world did they convert a Karachi mohalla into something resembling a European town? It was as if all that scrubbing and cleaning unveiled a hidden underground city.
The humor in most of the supposedly scenes was cringe-inducing, especially if you made the grave mistake of watching the movie with your family. Caution: MAJOR embarrassment ahead. Lastly, its high time Pakistani movies stopped using item numbers to draw audiences. It is crass and totally defeats the purpose of making a supposedly ‘ family oriented movie’ with a female-sympathetic plot .
Despite the flaws, Mehrunisa V Lub U has its heart in the right place. It oscillates between being preachy (especially at the end) and being entertaining. It is like the lanky teenage neighborhood boy who is going through an identity crisis. On one hand, he wants to help others and for everyone to like him, but on the other hand he wants to be seen as tough and cool, so he hangs out with the tough older guys and cracks dirty jokes to get into their inner circle.
Mehrunisa V Lub U is certainly not a bad movie. Its not a good one either. This one is more up your alley if you liked Jawani Phir Nahi Ani. If you are more of a Waar, Khuda ke Liye or even Ho Mann Jahan fan, give this movie a miss. Also, take your family along ONLY if you are completely comfortable sharing adult jokes and watching item numbers with them. Otherwise, steer clear.