In 2017, when Nadeem Baig brough Punjab Nahi Jaungi to the forefront, it made waves for its poetic approach to romance with the words of Khalil-ul-Rehman Qamar making the film flow and the acting talents of Humayun Saeed and Mehwish Hayat making the audience fall in love with them. Now, five years later, the dream team has returned with a promise to make London Nahi Jaunga all that and more with a fresh narrative resonating with the crowds.
But does it deliver on its promise? Diva explores…
Starring Humayun Saeed and Mehwish Hayat in lead roles with Gohar Rasheed, Kubra Khan, Saba Hameed, Saba Faisal, Iffat Omar, Vasay Choudhary and Sohail Ahmed playing pivotal characters, the film narrates the story of Jameel (Humayun Saeed) – a free-spirited man attached to his roots, who spends his time racing dogs and avoiding a forced marriage with his cousin Azroo (Kubra Khan) in a bid to find love somewhere out of the environs of Bahawalpur – despite his family’s disapproval.
Enter, Zara (Mehwish Hayat). Making her way to Jameel’s familial haveli on the day of his coaxed engagement to Arzoo, she ends up being the ‘one,’ he had hoped for. Or so, he thinks. Taking a meandering twist through the things she says, Zara soon makes it clear she’s only there to seek revenge for the attempted murder of her father and mother in the name of honour killing and not to fall in love with Jameel – a crime she associates with the whole Tiwana & Choudhary households who both of them are connected to.
Pursuing answers to the case which shook their town two decades ago, it is soon revealed that Zara’s mother survived the assassination attempt, and unbeknownst to anybody had been living in London. What ensues afterwards is what the story confluences amidst the larger narrative of Jameel continuing to fall further in love with Zara – despite her constant negation of it all. The film continues through its plot-lines to show Jameel as a forlorn lover, who keeps trying to woo his lady-love unsuccessfully – so much so, that he even makes it to London in an attempt to make her fall in love with him.
With serpentine changes driving the story, the film coalesces a love story, a tale of honour and the effects of the past affecting the future, making it a torrid story the audiences would sit on the edge of their seats for – just to find out if Jameel gets Zara or nor or whether the latter ever gets to avenge the death of her father.
In its two-hours and thirty-five-minutes runtime, London Nahi Jaunga intricately answers each question put forward in the start, making it a power-packed drama worth seeing. But does it falter? At some points, most definitely.
While London Nahi Jaunga is a fresher, more-breathable story than its previous counterpart, it at points becomes a tad bit stagnant. Especially, when the film explores the character of Azroo, played brilliantly by Kubra Khan. Like Punjab Nahi Jaungi’s Durdana, Arzoo too suffers from loving her cousin a bit too much – something which could easily have been downplayed. Having said that, the film does still give Arzoo a backbone, which had been completely missing from the previous part.
Adding to it, the film also does a small but important disservice to Zara when they constantly showcase her as a strong yet dependent character. It would have been a joy to see the character continuing to be independent rather than finding Jameel as her knight in shining armour. In some scenes, she is quite literally seen easily handling a gun, but right after, it takes for Jameel to fight off four gangsters to rescue her. One strong move from Zara would have proven that Khalil-ul-Rehman Qamar could go beyond making his female characters demure ones.
London Nahi Jaunga, fortunately, is a film that has almost everything going for it. For starters, the film despite having a rather traditional-style narrative has the ability to keep the crowds entertained from the get-go. It has strong plot structures which keep the films interesting throughout its runtime, without risking being preachy, stereotypical or boring. Adding to it, the film, despite not having as many spectacular songs as Punjab Nahi Jaungi, still has entertaining songs that keeps the film entertaining even in moments of poignancy.
Apart from a strong plot, the film also proves why Mehwish Hayat and Humayun Saeed’s chemistry is considered one of the strongest. Both actors once again have done a tremendous job to successfully make their characters their own. The only letdown is Hayat’s British accent, a feat they could have easily fixed with further training. But it isn’t a major let-down, so all feels great. Plus, their chemistry is palpable enough for this to not matter much.
Apart from the lead role’s chemistry, the chemistry between Humayun Saeed and Kubra Khan is brilliant as well. Kubra has come out of the film in an extremely strong position, proving that she is a force to be reckoned with and has come such a long way from her initial roles in films. Her supporting role contemporary, Gohar Rasheed too, has proven his mettle in the film. He aces every comical touchpoint of the film, and works perfectly alongside Humayun Saeed’s Jameel. Kudos to both of them for their perfect portrayals of their roles.
Lastly, the biggest high of the film had to be its fresh approach towards the topic of honour. It without getting preachy, questions the term and its connection to the woman. It advocates for the need to change the concept in our society of love being tied to honour – especially when it comes to women making their choices in love. Although it’s a small move towards the right direction, it is a much-needed one, for which the complete team behind the film must be appreciated.
All in all, London Nahi Jaungi does away with many of the issues found in its prequel, and introduces the same team but in a much-more brilliant manner. The film completely is the perfect one to watch over the Eid holidays, and one could bet it will fulfil the promise to be a complete entertainer. So, go ahead, book that ticket to London – ahem, we mean, the cinema!
Diva Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars