Tuesday January 25, 2022

A well-made socially relevant film

By Aijaz Gul
November 21, 2017
Writer-Director Shoaib Mansoor was back with his third film ‘Verna.’ Apart from his earlier two film ‘Khuda Key Leye’ and ‘Bol’, Shoaib Mansoor holds the credentials of many successful musical (Read: ‘Anarkali’), comedies (‘Fifty Fifty’) and TV drama (‘Alfa Bravo Charlie’). Let us stick around here on ‘Verna’. This film was cleared by CBFC after some hard workout at the Panel and Full Board level.
Why would one review Verna here when a lot has already been written on the film.
To begin with, Shoaib Mansoor makes a film about every six years. He knows by heart ‘Less is more.’ One cannot ignore his work. Social issues ranging from music and faith, planned family, daughter child, child abuse and other social issues have been part of his earlier films. He does not agree with the fact that film is just a casual entertainment. Critical, daring and alarming issues have been part of his two films in the past. This time, in Verna, it is rape which stands on the forefront. Without disclosing the plot in details, a women, in our society for some, is nothing more than disposable tissue paper. Our leading lady would not take that crap. Pandora box can open in public and defame big names. This can jolts to government pillars running on coalition.
As said earlier, this is not casual entertainment. Shoaib Mansoor has worked hard to bring on surface the pain, the torture and turmoil of daughters, wives, mothers and the rest who go through this day in and day out all over the country. It is a pain which cannot be covered or described in this review. However, some references have to be brought in. When the leading lady Saira (played remarkably well by Mahira Khan) comes for a talk show on television, a cleric brands women as showpiece who exhibit their physical contours in pubic with jeans, low necklines and sleeveless attire seducing men folk. Saira give tit for tat on these comments by quoting sex abuse instances on innocent and

helpless children at the hands of some clerics. This speaks volumes on sex abuse in the society.
‘Verna’ is not a documentary on sex abuse and rape. With powerful direction, impressive performance by Mahira Khan, Haroon Shahid and the rest, good use of Islamabad locations (both indoor and outdoor). Crisp and brilliant camera work, sound, and soothing production effects, its stands first-rate film not produced earlier here. As a matter of fact, technically it can be compared with any top American or European film.
For audiences out there waiting to see a well-made socially relevant film, go out and see ‘Verna’. With this film, Shoaib Mansoor lets us enter a world where movies can rise above boy-meet-girl romances, comedies and actioners and soap operas made in the name of "this is what public wants". Public now wants ‘Verna.’
Director, Producer, Script: Shoaib Mansoor
Camera: Salman Razzak, Khizer Idrees
Music: Shoaib Mansoor, Haroon Shahid
Editing: Zohaib Mansoor
Cast: Mahira Khan, Haroon Shahid, Iram Rehman