FILM REVIEW: ‘Parwaaz Hai Junoon’ Falls Short Of Expectations

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The much awaited Air Force themed action-drama, Parwaaz Hai Junoon released during the Eid holidays. The film depicts the lives, loves and losses of Air Force fighter pilots in the backdrop of Pakistan’s war on terrorism.

I had very, very high expectations from Parwaaz Hai Junoon. It is after all a HUM TV banner film, Momina Duraid Production, has a stellar cast; it is directed by Haseeb Hassan (Dayar-e-Dil, Mann Mayal) and written by Farhat Ishtiaq (Humsafar)!

The fact that I could not get tickets for a couple of days as the shows in Dubai were completely sold out just added to my excitement. I thought to myself, “Now, this is a great sign!”

After finally watching the film, however, my feelings were rather mixed.

What Worked

Acting 

The actors make an earnest effort to breathe life into their characters. That said, I would call none of the performances outstanding as we have seen better performances from Hamza Ali Abbasi, Hania Aamir and Ahad Raza Mir in television plays.

The addition of social media celebrity, Shafaat Ali added to the film in terms of extracting laughs from the audience who found him positively endearing. One did however, wish that his role was of greater length.

Production Quality

The locations are beautiful beyond belief and the cinematographer brilliantly captures the awe-inspiring locales at his disposal. Full marks to the art direction team. In short, the film is an absolute visual treat!

Here is the Problem….

Slow First Half

The film started out by introducing the individual back stories of the  characters. This led the audience to expect that multiple interesting story lines would be weaved into the narrative. However, the story in the first half became abruptly static. We were shown scene after scene of the life of a cadet, ragging by seniors, the tough daily regimen, the punishments by the trainers, the adventures and the strenuous physical exercises etc. The first half then became more like a docu-drama about a day in the lives of Air Force cadets.

Encouraging Wrong Behavior

Ragging by seniors was glorified in the film, which is sad since there have been cases at military academies across the world where young cadets have lost their lives due to ragging. The Indian friends in the audience, especially commented on how depicting ragging as positive and fun in the film was encouraging potentially hazardous behaviour.

Disconnected Second Half

In the second half all the other characters (save the lead, Hamza Ali Abbasi) and their stories abruptly disappeared as if they no longer mattered. The lead actor and his family members, who were suddenly introduced in the second half, took over the narrative completely.

The second half, however has more substance than the first half and thankfully it moves the story forward.

Unnecessary Drama

The disagreement between the lead actor and his family (which forms the basis of the second half) seemed forced and unnatural. The (over) reaction of the family to a small disagreement is not in the least believable. The writer(s) should have given this more thought.

Cheesy Romance & Average Music

The romantic scenes are not written well at all. It seems like the person who wrote those scenes has never really been in love himself/herself and depends heavily on the idea of what love might feel like! This results in wannabe romantic sequences that are extraordinarily cheesy!

The music of the film is quite average, leaving behind nothing that can be ranked as truly memorable.

Good Looks & Lavish Lifestyles

The actors, it seems are all handpicked for their looks (though they are all good actors too), but as a result the film feels a bit unnatural as it seems like a modeling parade rather than an Air Force academy with real people.

Almost all the characters in the film are shown to be from affluent backgrounds. The luxurious mansions sprawling with huge gardens depict a lifestyle that seems far removed from the lives of most ordinary Pakistanis. This makes it very hard to connect with the characters and their struggles.

Dehumanizing the Enemy

The villains in the film shown as Taliban-styled terrorists have no back story. They are simply shown as the “bad guys.” No reasons are given as to why they are fighting the Pakistan Air Force, what is their agenda and who funds them. It seems like a video game in which smartly uniformed, handsome Air Force officers get into their planes, approach an area, bomb the hell out of the place and leave cheering in their planes, as the landscape below them is devastated by fire and is strewn with dead bodies.

The film dehumanizes the enemy completely and shows the Air Force pilots cheering like the American armed forces cheer when they see drone attacks on screen killing Afghans, Libyans, Iraqis etc. It just does not feel right at all.

Final Verdict

Parwaaz Hai Junoon wasn’t as bad as 7 Din Mohabbat In or Yalghaar but it was not quite as good as Actor in Law or even Janaan.” At best, it was somewhere in between!

 

 

Review by Faraz Waqar – The writer is Director & Script writer at Khwaab Factory Films and has done his Film making diploma from New York Film Academy, USA.

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