Directors Meenu Gaur and Farjad Nabi offer a fresh and modern, and decidedly original take on romance, fairy tales and the coming-of-age hero, as 7 Din Mohabbat In tells the story of a flailing young man who just wants to fall in love and get married.
Sheheryar Munawar, who plays Tipu, is a shining star in the making – his grungy, edgy version in Ho Mann Jahan is replaced by a goofy, vulnerable, confused non-hero who gradually becomes the ‘man’ that he did not want to be (but ought to have been). Mahira Khan stars as Tipu’s cousin Neeli, a funny, dramatic and quirky young girl with a lot of dreams and a lot of heart. While she swishes her dupattas, blushes frequently and blinks with stars in her eyes, Neeli also makes you laugh with her witty repartee and plenty of ‘physical’ comedy. This is a role Mahira rarely depicts on screen: a non-linear heroine that the hero has simply not fallen in love with because of her beauty and her charm.
Neeli is flawed, erratic and idealistic to the point of being caricaturish. She reads digests, loves morning shows and recites cheap poetry, but somewhere during the film, as she is obviously the protagonist you root for, you also see shades of darkness in her role. The qawaali Kaahay Ko Biyaahi Bides where Neeli is devoid of all colour except her own sadness pivots the film onto the climax convincingly.
Besides the main star cast, the are others to watch out in the film too. Hina Dilpazeer stars as Tipu’s mother and Neeli’s aunt who wishes and plans for her to marry the local goon – originally depicted as Kankatta (played by Amir Qureshi, son of Pakistani films’ noted villain, Mustafa Qureshi). Dilpazeer’s dialogue delivery and over-the-top theatrics are pitch perfect for a story like 7 Din Mohabbat In as she delivers some truly hilarious punchlines. Beo Rana Zafar who stars as Parveen, aka Pino, is incredibly enjoyable. Amna Ilyas is underused and perhaps the most paper-thin of all characters in the film, as women’s rights activist Ghazala, but provides enough oomph to her appearance. Javed Sheikh, who stars as a Djinn, continues to wow audiences as an enigmatic antagonist and a powerhouse performer. Much to be noted is Rimal Ali, a transgender, who has starred in a song and plays a character named Mona Lisa. Mira Sethi stars as Princess Sonu, a British-Pakistani heiress and her role makes an important comment on women from that demographic.
Written by Fasih Bari Khan and directed by Meenu and Farjad, the film has a simple enough premise but their unique story telling style, which won them critical acclaim in Zinda Bhaag, combined with the lovable charm of Mahira and Sheheryar, as well as a capable cast, makes it a fun and enjoyable watch. While the film retains some pithy dialogues and lags at some points, it stays fresh and intelligent for the most part. The film may be a departure from the dark and gritty Zinda Bhaag but it is no less smart. This is perhaps what can truly wow the audience: Meenu and Farjad take care of the smallest of details, they add important messages, play on metaphors and transformations, they take the best of Pakistani stage qualities, boil down the macabre theatre and turn it into gold. The film, albeit fairly lengthy, is fast enough in its pace for the audience to stay tuned into the characters’ storylines. That in itself is a big feat for a feature like this. It’s a smart film that makes you laugh but it also makes you think.
It incorporates elements and motifs that swirls around in a giant melting pot and presents viewers a fresh, original comedic romance that is worth your money. It’s the kind of film you take your friends and family to – for a fun Eid outing