“Ho Mann Jahan” opens to a full house audience in Toronto

Positives

Art Direction, Cinematography

Negatives

Weak Script, Characterization

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Bottom Line

The film is one good effort to bring back Pakistani audiences to theatres

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Ho Mann Jahan has been one of the most anticipated Pakistani movies as much hype was created around it with glitzy promos and music launch videos. The film was released in Toronto as well at local desi cinema circuit on January 1, 2016, and as expected huge line ups were witnessed.

Ho Mann Jahaan is a coming of age story set in present day Karachi. It revolves around three main characters – Arhaan (Sheheryar Munawar), Manizeh (Mahira Khan) and Nadir (Adeel Hussain) and their friendship born out of shared experiences at the same college and a passionate love for music. The three of them are in fact very talented musicians and aspire to fame. 

The film is also a reflection of the current dichotomy that exists in our society. We talk of free will but readily accept conformity. Parents impose restrictions and dictate terms, because they love them but at times don’t understand them. This is a film of many layers, connecting to both young people and an older generation. 

The star cast also includes Soniya Jehan, Bushra Ansari, Arshad Mehmood, Nimra Bucha and Jamal Shah. The film has been directed by Asim Raza, who is a well known music director, Ho Mann Jahan is his first big screen directorial.

When it comes to script and dialogues, half of the film seemed to be lagging in terms of characterization. Adeel Hussain does justice to his character (Nadir), Sheheryar Munawar does remarkably well (as Arhaan) but somehow weak and cheesy dialogues make him a laughing stock. As for Mahira Khan, we all know she’s a very a good actor, but the role she played was very predictable. She too was a victim of some weak dialogues.

Jamal Shah’s character seemed confusing and we were not sure why was he behaving the way he was. Soniya Jehan delivered a decent performance, but here again, there was no background regarding her character as to who she was in her lonely world!

Since the film was about passion for music, it was anticipated that the music will be the biggest draw. Ho Mann Jahan boasts great Pakistani musicians, and here in Toronto, “Dosti” had the audience go into a ceeti blowing mode (for obvious and pleasantly surprising reasons).

The film has cameo appearances by famous Pakistani stars including Fawad Khan, Bilal Maqsood and Faisal Kapadia that had the audience in applauds. But one appearance that really made Torontonians burst into ceetis, wows and applauds was when Zoheb Hassan made an appearance with "Dosti" song. Here's the screen grab that Zoheb tweeted from this song:

 

“Shakar Wandaan” by Asrar Shah was nicely choreographed and Jimmy Khan’s “Baarish” infused well with the script.

The film’s art direction and cinematography department were very powerful and highlight attention to fine details. However in some sequences, post processing and over softening of sequences involving Adeel Hussain and Bushra Ansari was very obvious.

Ho Mann Jahan also has major Pakistani stars in surprise cameos which came as a pleasant “wow” to the audience, and in one song sequence, with whistles and ceetis.

Over all, the film could have been 20-25 minutes shorter in the first half, or could have done with stronger characterization. Second half seemed better, and as the credits rolled in, the Toronto audience still managed to give a standing and resounding applaud.

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