Jawani Phir Nahin Aani is a drunk desi uncle on the dance floor. Here's why you should watch it now

Jawani Phir Nahin Aani is a drunk desi uncle on the dance floor. Here's why you should watch it now

The film is hilarious even when it's awkward. Branding and bad dancing brings it down but it's saved by Pakistani humour
Updated 23 Sep, 2015

With a star-studded cast, exotic locations and the promise of plenty of entertainment, Jawani Phir Nahin Aani (JPNA) is easily this season's biggest release.

The film scores on many levels, with some excellent performances, sleek styling and plenty of laughs. But it is also let down by some frankly awful songs, awkward product placement and heavy inspiration from Bollywood. Nevertheless, it’s a laugh-out-loud entertainer with just the right feel-good factor for Eid.

Note: Spoilers ahead!

Introducing Sherry and his band of hapless husbands

Humayun Saeed plays lawyer Sherry who returns after years in America to find that his three best friends are now hen-pecked husbands.

He manages to arrange a boys-only trip to Bangkok for his crew, where Mehwish Hayat, the daughter of an underworld Don, falls for him. The plot thickens as his friends’ wives find out what they’ve been up to. With his three friends’ marriages falling apart, Sherry himself heads to Lahore to marry a billionaire’s daughter, played by Sohai Ali Abro. When Mehwish arrives in Lahore to claim her prince, mayhem ensues.

Sherry (Humayun Saeed) with his boys — Publicity photo
Sherry (Humayun Saeed) with his boys — Publicity photo

Also read: JPNA trailer: A hackneyed story of henpecked husbands?

The plot itself is full of holes and Sherry comes across as an amoral character whose motives are never clear. The entire story line about Sherry being engaged to both a billionaire’s daughter and a mafioso’s daughter is lifted straight from Bollywood movie Houseful 2.

Sherry's hopefuls, played by Mehwish and Sohai — Publicity photos
Sherry's hopefuls, played by Mehwish and Sohai — Publicity photos

What saves the film are inspired performances by the ensemble cast and many genuinely funny moments.

JPNA gets comedy right, and the cast have a funny bone

Writer Vasay Chaudry, who also plays one of Sherry’s friends, has filled the script with self-aware one-liners, references to Pakistani pop culture and hilarious situations. There are some cringe-worthy scenes, but it’s the lesser slapstick comedy that had the audience laughing out loud and clapping.

The gags allude to ad slogans, drama serials, films like Waar and Bol, Shah Rukh Khan, TV anchors and the actors themselves. In one scene Sohai Ali Abro goes to bridal designer XYZ while in another Hamza Ali Abbasi is called Pyaare Afzal. Witty and self-deprecating, the jokes reference pop culture with a light touch.

Vasay Chaudhry is responsible for the funny script — Publicity photo
Vasay Chaudhry is responsible for the funny script — Publicity photo

Actor Ahmed Ali Butt gets some of the best farcical moments, including mistakenly romancing his father-in-law and a Thai massage gone wrong. His comedic timing is one of the many acting highlights of the film.

Much of the ensemble cast has small parts. Both Javed Sheikh and Bushra Ansari play caricature characters that resemble former roles. The two veterans do an excellent job and are engaging and amusing.

Veterans Bushra Ansari and Javed Sheikh bring some extra zing to the film — Publicity photo
Veterans Bushra Ansari and Javed Sheikh bring some extra zing to the film — Publicity photo

Sarwat Gillani has also small role as Vasay’s Pathan wife but she lights up the screen whenever she appears. Her accent and mannerisms are superb and she gives an exemplary character performance.

The bubbly Sohai Ali Abro is hilarious as Sherry’s spoilt rich fiancé. Selfie-obsessed and extravagant, she parodies new-money princesses brilliantly. With her hashtags and her 'MA MA', this is one memorable character. But the movie only scratches the surface of the madness of over-the-top society weddings, with their choreographers and one-upmanship. It would've been great to see that aspect developed further.

Even Mehwish Hayat can't make Humayun Saeed look good on the dance floor. But he shows an unexpected talent for comedy.

The other female ‘lead’ Mehwish Hayat seems to have stepped into the movie from another world. While other actors look awkward and stilted in their dances, Mehwish is brilliantly effortless. There’s not much to her role but she looks great and her confident portrayal shines.

Unfortunately, even Mehwish Hayat cannot make Humayun Saeed look good on the dance floor.

Awkward and stilted, he is a terrible dancer and this detracts from what is otherwise a solid performance from the star. Better known for straight roles, he shows an unexpected talent for comedy. The scene where he pretends to be seducing his friends is simply hysterical.

Aisha Khan and Uzma Khan do a good job with their small parts, but it’s the menfolk who have meatier roles. Vasay Chaudry, Ahmed Ali Butt and Hamza Ali Abbasi get the bulk of the jokes in the first half and all three carry them well. They get less scope in the second half, but there are a couple of sidesplitting sequences even then.

Hamza Ali Abbasi in a dramatic court scene in JPNA — Publicity photo
Hamza Ali Abbasi in a dramatic court scene in JPNA — Publicity photo

Also read: Indecent proposal? Hamza Ali Abbasi may drop out of his own film's promos

Hamza, of course, is the biggest star of the three, but disappoints at times with his comic timing. He also comes across as hypocritical after the huge fuss he made, distancing himself from the movie citing its item songs. In one shot he emerges from a pool staring at a bikini-clad girl. One of the other leads could clearly have done that shot.

JPNA would have been better without its item songs

The item songs in JPNA are actually much tamer than most Bollywood movies but the many people seem to have double standards as to what they’ll accept from each side of the border.

What’s ironic is that the item songs actually do the film no favours at all because they are so poor.

'Khool Jaye Botal' did not impress as a party song

The two songs that work best are the ones where the cast is rapping more than dancing. Most of the songs in the movie are terribly shot and badly choreographed. Mehwish Hayat’s song with backing dancers dressed in horrible skimpy police costumes is painful. The Bollywood-inspired Khool Jaye Botal looks a pale imitation of a party song, but the shaadi songs are truly dreadful. Step into any real mehndi and you’ll see much better dancing. Worse still, both songs are blatant brand endorsements that do nothing for the movie.

As far as brand placement is concerned, the chai song and the fairness cream song show how sponsors can actually damage a movie. JPNA would have been a better movie without them.

It’s evident that the producers needed sponsorship to pay for the exotic locations, but these relationships should have been subtler.

Brand placements are glaringly obvious throughout the movie, with a bank, a fast-food chain and a high-street chain all prominently highlighted. While this is obtrusive enough, the chai song and the fairness cream song show how sponsors can actually damage a movie. JPNA would have been a better movie without them.

Songs like 'Jalwa' show how blatant brand placements can damage a film

Not all of JPNA’s brand collaborations were a fail. The movie’s stylists called on various top fashion designers to provide the wardrobe for the movie. Deepak Perwani, Sania Maskatiya and Sana Safinaz all contributed clothes without overt branding and the result was a cast that was well turned-out and stylish.

Similarly the locations were well chosen and beautifully shot, as was the one fight scene. The improvement in production values over recent years has enabled local film-makers to make much more of a mark. Pakistani cinema is still finding its feet but needs to break free of the shadow of Bollywood.

How can we claim this? Well, because some of the film’s funniest moments were uniquely Pakistani in character.

Despite its flaws, JPNA is an out-and-out entertainer. An engaging blend of slapstick, spoofs and wit, the film is easy on the eye and an undemanding crowd-pleaser. Definitely worth the price of admission.


Mansoor Sep 22, 2015 02:58pm
Why Humayon Saeed in every Movie? I don't understand.
sijaz Sep 22, 2015 03:08pm
No one taught you about spoiler alerts it seems. For future, please refrain from ruining the potential experience of a future viewer by recounting all the details.
Apache Sep 22, 2015 03:22pm
I hope this movie flops.
kash Sep 22, 2015 03:37pm
Even bollywood films have blatant brand placements, like Krish with Bourne Vita and Bang Bang with pizza hut. I will have to see the film but I don't think Pakistani film will have it so blatant compared to Bollywood
A CITIZEN Sep 22, 2015 03:42pm
@MANSOOR exactly!! I don't understand it either. He's not even handsome. He is OK looking but not handsome enough to be a hero of a movie.
arsalan Sep 22, 2015 03:56pm
Bollywood shadow? They even have copied how to market their film e.g. hamza by distancing himself from the movie once the trailer is out creating a hype needed for a movie.
ManiG Sep 22, 2015 04:19pm
Hamza's dance is awful.
REHAN OMAR Sep 22, 2015 04:38pm
the movie seems to be great last 3 years i have seen almost all bollywood movies and only few goes up and mostly down i think this movie is better then most bollywood movies as pakistani are very good in comedy and thats what we need for dancing we should get help from bollywood as to be very honest we need there support in dancing all in all if bollywood and lollywood makes movie together it will be huge hit anyway good luck and we should all watch the movie
Aamir Sep 22, 2015 04:47pm
@Mansoor He is one of the producers of the film. Nothing wrong.
Aamir Sep 22, 2015 05:01pm
JPNA has had very positive feedback from all the people who have seen it at the different premieres. Its an all and out fun comedy film. Perfect for Eid. A lot of people are saying its the best comedy to come out in recent years. Its not inspired from any Bollywood and Hollywood film like everyone was predicting before the release. Will catch it on Friday/Saturday. Glad this time the promotion of the film in UK has been up to the mark and has got decent number of screens. Probably the film makers have woken up and seen what good promotion can do to the success of a film. As Bin Roye has raked in about £535,000 ( 8.6 PK Cr) and its still showing at 3 places. Only Bajranji Baihjan has done better. All the best ot the team of JPNA. Sure Blouckbuster.
Rashid Sep 22, 2015 05:24pm
It looks like a very shallow movie, something that is rather made made by Bollywood. Sometime my country fellowmen and women amazes me; why we don't copy any good thing from India?
Khwarezmi Sep 22, 2015 05:28pm
We have copied Indian style of showing more skin on girls. Whished we copied more from their educational side.
Ehsan Sep 22, 2015 07:05pm
When is it releasing in U.S., would love to watch it
Abbas Raza Sep 22, 2015 07:08pm
@Mansoor no buddy i think you are not following all movies
Abbas Raza Sep 22, 2015 07:09pm
@Apache its good movie boy
Mansoor Sep 22, 2015 07:19pm
@Aamir So What if he is the producer of the movie? He should stay out of one Movie atleast for a change. He cant be part of every movie made in the country.
Mansoor Sep 22, 2015 07:33pm
@Abbas Raza Not really. May be i am wrong but whenever i get chance to watch any drama or movie Humayun Saeed in it? May be he is too good or we ran out of artists.
Moria Sheikh Sep 22, 2015 08:25pm
The film looks completely awful - but surprisingly - your review was even worse. With little to no understanding of film making you added no value to the film - a review does not mean 'describing a film' (it was funny, it had pop culture references, overall very nice) but adding something to the readers - even those who have seen it, (Is humour in Pakistani films evolving, why do pop culture references work, and what makes a story work.) I expected great things from this site with the launch but so far the content continues to be a pale copy of actual culture sites and magazines. A disappointed reader, MS
haque khan Sep 22, 2015 08:41pm
Seems like a fun movie and a lot of people would watch it. At least it does not look depressing. I am sure it would do good business in the United States. Its songs look like brilliantly shot and colorful and getting help from bollywood in music composing and choreography is the way to go and there is nothing wrong with that. Mehwish Hayat is another good entrant after Sohai Ali Abro in the Tinsel Town, perfectly fit for a movie. In the hero department I believe they could have chosen from people like Imran Abbas, Mekaal Zulfikar, Ahsan Khan or that guy from Wrong Number movie, I can't recall his name................ but anyways, Good luck!
Aamir Sep 22, 2015 09:39pm
@Mansoor So far this year 11 Urdu Films have been released. Out of them Humayun Saeed has appeared as hero in Bin Roye. He would have not even got this film had Fawad Khan not ran away to India. Secondly has a guest appearance in Manto. That's the only films he has appeared this year so far. Out of the upcoming projects he is appearing as villain in Yaalghar.
Omer Kayani Sep 22, 2015 09:54pm
It looks more like copy of Bollywood Housefull and Hollywood Hangover with desi masala mix.
Shahid Sep 22, 2015 10:07pm
Mehwish Hayat looks great. Ayesha Khan’s botox and surgeries are wearing off with age. Good thing for the movie that she had a small role.
Mahesh Puri Sep 22, 2015 11:10pm
@Apache Very bad copy of flop/third class indian movies
junaid Sep 23, 2015 12:13am
looks like a rip off of hang over trilogy
Asif Sep 23, 2015 12:34am
What’s up with Ayesha Khan. She is only good for side roles now? This was almost like a no-role.
Anees Sep 23, 2015 12:41am
Its about time Humayun Saeed should seriously think why he must be a lead in movies whether be his own or not.
Ali Sep 23, 2015 01:40am
Please stop copying Bollywood. Bollywood is good and famous at what they do but we look like a cheap copy and distasteful.
Solo Sep 23, 2015 01:41am
I guess Humayun needs to have a break and give a reasonable chance to other youth talent out there to bring up on the screen please. Seems plagiarised bollywood films. Pakistan should promote its own culture and upbring with their own ideas.
Ali Sep 23, 2015 01:42am
We need better actors not these uncles and fame Hamza
shahid Kinnare Sep 23, 2015 03:07am
I do not think Pakistan Cinema should break free from Bollywood. Pakistan Cinema can learn lot by copying Bollywood.
juhna Sep 23, 2015 07:04am
Junk movie. Bollywood wannabees.
juhna Sep 23, 2015 07:13am
@Anees he will look much better if appears in the movies as dad or uncle, imho.
juhna Sep 23, 2015 07:15am
Who is that fat guy in every scene? The hero with a goatee.
hytnob Sep 23, 2015 10:42am
junk movie.
Rashid Nazir Ali Sep 24, 2015 09:40pm
Watched it today in cinema in full house. It is a very good entertainer without any crass language. The whole crowd enjoyed it fully. Definitely a quality entertainer from Humayun Saeed.
Siripai Sep 25, 2015 06:22pm