KARACHI : With the exception of Waar, Pakistani films that were supported by the armed forces don’t exactly have a good track record. Even Waar was a success because of its novelty factor, not its quality and Yalghaar was a travesty for the medium of film itself. Haseeb Hassan’s Parwaaz Hai Junoon is the latest to try and depict the story of our military men.
Now, on the whole, Parwaaz Hai Junoon is deeply flawed. From the acting and cinematography to the screenplay, one can spot massive flaws in almost every aspect. And yet, surprisingly, the film works.
Hamza ‘Tom Cruise’ Ali Abbasi flies through blue skies and rides his bike across the roads of Islamabad like a true maverick. This is his Top Gun. And I don’t just say this because of his daredevil mid-air stunts or the alpha hero that he portrays but because the film actually rips off a couple of scenes from the 1986 classic (particularly the memorable inverted flight one).
When it comes to cinematography, almost half the film is out of focus. The cinematographers even attempt to mimic the sunset silhouette shots from Top Gun. Even then, it would be an injustice to say Parwaaz Hai Junoon doesn’t have a very good opening. The two timelines are soon established – one where we follow Hamza (played by Abbasi) and Nadir (Shaz Khan) into their love lives and aerial combat missions, and another where we see Sania (Hania Aamir) join the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) training academy.
The characters are established well. One gets to know the space and the relationships between the characters and the whole canvas is set. The problem arises when the setup goes on until intermission. Too much focus is placed on minor characters and their journeys. In doing so, the film-makers open too many subplots which don’t impact the main story at all. Until the half-time mark, Parwaaz Hai Junoon feels like a drama film more than an aerial combat action film.
Even that is passable but we don’t exactly know what the main conflict is until the second half begins. Further, the songs don’t add anything to the story and are merely there for the masses. It’s almost as if the director is afraid to delve right into the actual story and keeps delaying it in favour of the masala element. You could say Hassan has played a smart game by doing so, keeping the audience entertained but it wastes valuable screen time.
Inconsistencies not only plague the script but also the performances. In one scene, we see three different characters call Aamir’s character by different names, all within a minute. The budding starlet, however, does a great job. Aamir is slowly maturing as an actor and knows not to over-project. Khan does justice to his limited role too. Abbasi leads the film and though he still has a long way to go, his macho persona suits the character. I wish he could have shown more than two expressions in the film though.
As I said earlier, writer Farhat Ishtiaq and Hassan’s real success is in keeping our attention. Whether it’s the star power, the entertainment factor of the first half or the bubbling tension in the second, there is always something to keep you glued to your seats. It helps that the scenes themselves don’t drag, even if the story does. We don’t linger long enough to hang out with the stars after the action is over. Here, less is not more, but it’s just enough.
More credit goes to the film-makers for attempting something in the climax which, though predictable, is something that others usually don’t. On a different note, Hassan and Ishtiaq also pay nods to the APS incident and PAF martyr Rashid Minhas.
Cinema has the power to shape narratives and Parwaaz Hai Junoon uses it to its advantage. The film offers entertainment, action and a substantial story, which is a welcome deviation from the usual Pakistani film.
Verdict: Despite being deeply flawed, Parwaaz Hai Junoon soars high thanks to Abbasi and Hassan.
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
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