In my last review, I alluded to having seen two movies over the Eid weekend. Parwaaz Hay Junoon was the second of the two, watched consecutively after. Normally, when I opt for a double feature, the second film always disappoints. Now, I can say, the second film disappoints 2 out of 3 times. I feel I can confidently say, Parwaaz Hay Junoon is the best film to release film has heron Eid, period.
Junoon Ki Parwaaz
While yes, JPNA2 will make more money, it’s a salacious comedy with a lot more star power. It also doesn’t have to deal with the baggage of patriotic films of Eids past. Waar may have inspired the genre but it also remained the best film to come out of it. Until now.
Parwaaz humanizes the Pakistan Air Force, in a way that other films are yet to manage. It also tones down the brand of nationalism which breeds a hateful rhetoric, something the genre has been known for. While occasionally stumbling into the territory of melodrama and overacting, Parwaaz manages to tug at all the right emotions. Even if the story is a little cliched. My Score: 8/10
A Little Turbulence
Let’s begin by discussing where Parwaaz Hay Junoon loses altitude. The story, though heart-warming and well-executed, is about as original as your average rap diss-track. The writers opted for a double-narrative showing Saniya’s (Hania Amir) struggle to become a GD pilot and discussing why. It’s a plot device in use from as far back as Citizen Kane, and used as recently as Motorcycle Girl. Add a typical boy meets girl love story, a professional rivalry, a coming-of-age arc and splashes of nationalism. What you get is a very predictable narrative with a twist you call from miles away!
Oh and there are songs. Songs that either meld with the storytelling in the form of montages and background play to shoehorned in dance sequences. The latter of which the film could do without. The next bone to pick is with some of the acting. Barring a few exceptions, almost every performance falters at some point.
Loud and Inconsistent
Ahad Raza Mir, was in particular, inconsistent. His Saad wavers furiously from earnest to Star-Plus worthy melodrama. Additionally, Kubra Khan also gets lost in the sea of supporting characters. It’s a colossal shame to see such fine talent squandered on screen.
Similarly, the film is also very loud and noisy.
There’s background music in every single scene. For the most part, it accentuates the drama. The remainder of the time it’s ferociously distracting. Distracting in the sense that the many dramatic pauses never fully take off. Why? Well, a violin often insists on a constant serenade.
Thankfully though, there’s more than enough thrust here to make up for the lost altitude.
An Excellent Pilot
Earlier I mentioned that there are a few exceptions. Well there’s more than a few. First up, Hania Amir. This is her film, don’t let anyone (like the posters) tell you otherwise. She never misses a beat. Her charm and ease of emotion are the driving forces of the plot. Not to mention, the ease with which she connects with the audience. As clichéd as it is, her transition from the average Pakistani Girl to a heroic GD pilot is definitely something to behold.
A Capable First Officer
In what’s a rare but emerging trend, the ‘hero’ of the film lends excellent support to the female lead. Putting my general disdain for him aside, I am compelled to congratulate Hamza Ali Abbasi. He plays his eponymous character with an understated bravado that does credit to the character’s air force profession.
It’s also very refreshing to see him speechless at times. If only he’d apply that more in his real-life online presence. Jokes aside, you will find yourself very easily invested in Lieutenant Hamza. So much so that you’ll fear for his life in the more daring scenes. You’ll root for him and Hania and grieve when the inevitable finally sets in.
A Stellar Crew
There are also quite a few stellar supporting performances. Comedian Shafaat Ali as Zaid and Sikander Vincent Khan as Rashid Minhas Yousufzai (Yeah, I know) are extremely indelible as Saad’s roommates. As it happens, it’s Saad’s repo with these two that actually flesh out his character more than anything else. Other standouts include, Asif Raza Mir, Marina Khan, Shaz Khan and Hina Khawaja. All of whom make the most of the platitudes given to them as roles.
Parwaaz Hay Junoon: Cleared For Take Off
While I can’t laud writer Farhat Ishtiaq for taking risks with the story, I can appreciate her for perfect execution. I will repeat this praise for producer Momina Duraid and director Haseeb Hassan, as well. Together, what the create, isn’t a genre-defining film, but instead a master class in how to produce a patriotic film. Yes, Parwaaz does have more in common with Motorcycle Girl then Yalghaar. It still is a film, any Pakistani can be proud off.