Don’t judge a book by its cover

July 2, 2017

From a distance Mehrunisa V Lub U may look unoriginal but the film has enough merit to surprise you

Don’t judge a book by its cover

There is no such thing as a good film or bad film. It’s all very subjective. Some people prefer emotional sagas while others enjoy crude jokes. How else can one explain the success of films like Jawani Phir Nahi Ani and Wrong No? In such an environment, it becomes difficult to critique a film based on its subject matter because really it boils down to your taste. However, what can be examined is the craft. Does the film come together? Is it technically sound?

Mehrunisa V Lub U is one perfect example of subjective taste. Directed and produced by Yasir Nawaz and Nida Yasir respectively, it is one of the two local films to have released this Eid season. Box office figures suggest that the film did well during Eid holidays and critics are undecided over whether MVLU qualifies as a good film or bad.

The story revolves around a couple, Ali (played by Danish Taimoor) and Mehrunisa (played by Sana Javed) who have been in love with each other since their childhood and finally tie the knot many years later. Ali brings Mehrunisa to Karachi, as she originally lives in the Northern areas of Pakistan. Seeing the dirty and disorganized infrastructure of Karachi distresses Mehrunisa which prompts her husband to change the environment they live in. Ali then riles up the entire neighbourhood into keeping their streets and homes clean.

The film explores some very relatable and relevant themes and that is the mark of an original film. Nowadays, our films pick up concepts that are so far from reality in Pakistan that they do not resonate with the masses. MVLU talks about the pressure young couples face including having children immediately upon marriage. It discusses the level of corruption in our country. It identifies the escapist mentality of Pakistanis who would rather leave the country for a better life instead of trying to bring about change.

If someone were to watch MVLU ten years from now, it would help them study Pakistani society a lot better than half the films that have come and gone in the last few months.

Also, the two hour long film flew by without us noticing the time. All the conflicts were well constructed and were resolved in a timely manner as well. The film moved from one event to another with ease and believability.

However, no film is without its flaws and MVLU has quite a few. The dancing sequences in the film are awkward and unnecessary and it’s clear that Danish Taimoor needs to work on his dancing skills a little. Sana Javed looks beautiful in the film but her character is underdeveloped. The entire film revolves around a neighbourhood that is trying to make Mehrunisa feel better but we see very little input from her in the film. We don’t understand the context of Amna Ilyas’ item song. The couple is about to have a child, and to celebrate, the entire neighbourhood gets together to watch Amna Ilyas sing and dance. Also, the performance is sensual in nature so it makes us question the believability of it. Where does this happen in Karachi?

The film also makes use of crude humour to get people laughing and on some occasions it excels in getting the laughter. The audience, for instance, was erupting into laughter every time Saqib Sameer came on screen. Sameer plays two characters, Ali’s best friend and his own father. The father is a confused maulvi who can name every Bollywood actress to have ever existed but pretends to hate anything un-Islamic. However, the dialogues are sometimes weak. They are too ornate; people don’t really speak like that in real life.

There were some memorable performances that deserve to be acknowledged. Nayyar Ejaz was brilliant, as always. He plays a transvestite who works for a corrupt politician and does it with a lot of sincerity. After watching various performances from the actor, we’ve come to the conclusion that Nayyar Ejaz brings his own characterization to every film that he stars in.

Danish Taimoor has a lot of potential and if polished correctly, he can reach super stardom. He oscillates between real and honest expressions to overacting in the entirety of the film but has shown enough acting chops to prove to us that in the hands of the right director, Taimoor can be phenomenal.

Despite its title and Bollywood-esque songs that reminded us of Hindi cinema in the nineties, the film Mehrunisa V Lub U isn’t as bad as we thought it would be. The film will do well with the masses and even if you aren’t too entertained by the jokes while watching it, you’ll at least leave the cinema hall with a positive message at the end.

Don’t judge a book by its cover