The best thing about walking into a cinema hall with zero expectations is that you’ll probably not walk out disappointed. And that’s quite an understatement when talking about Mehrunisa V Lub U because I actually left impressed with this two-hour outing that was quick paced, positive and fun despite delivering a social message. I say ‘despite’ because we have made it a national sport to churn social messages through sob stories and spin them to a nauseating level that will leave you with a head-spinning case of vertigo. MVLU is nothing of the sort.
The story is simple and yet unique; there is a sense of sincerity in its trappings. Ali (Danish Taimoor) returns from a work-stint in China with childhood sweetheart Mehrunisa (Sana Javed) on his mind. Daughter of his father’s (Javed Sheikh) friend, their rishta turns out to be the simplest hurdle to jump because the bigger issue arises when he brings her to Karachi where she is unable to adapt. Used to the serenity of the mountains, she finds Karachi’s chaotic character unsettling to a level on which her doctor advises that she is too stressed to conceive. Instead of taking Mehru back to her preferred habitat, Ali decides to change things in their mohalla. All this transpires while a local politician (obviously corrupt) is trying to have the mohalla vacated.
Here’s the downside. The film wrestles with cheap humour and one ribald innuendo too many; the thing about ribaldry is that it offers the men laughter by pointing a stick at the women. The scene where Javed Sheikh is making fun of the caretaker Malik’s daughter was insensitive, inappropriate and unnecessary. Normally one would dismiss it, as this genre of crass humour is all too popular amongst the masses, but then when you’re advocating the ‘khud ko badlo’ mantra, maybe a little of that change of mindset could have been applied to the script too.
Second, for a film that names the heroine in its title, she is a pretty useless creature. “All she needed to do was look pretty,” the men who I posed this thought to echoed and it rested my case. Mehrunisa does absolutely nothing but look pretty, even if it meant wearing impractical clothes in the snowy mountain. She does nothing to win the hearts of her neighbours in Karachi (why they ‘Lub’ her is anyone’s guess) and then nothing to help in the clean-up operation. But she’s not the only useless female character. There are barely any memorable women in the film.
The transgender characters, however and on the bright side, are positioned with more prominence. Nayyar Ejaz shines as Marzi, the corrupt politician’s henchman, and he is actually the most memorable personality in the film. There are two other gender benders who offer a moral lesson as well as light humour. People have appreciated the double role played by the hero’s friend Saqib Sameer but personally I found him to be OTT and his scenes often stretched.
Back to the film, it definitely deserves a watch. Between the two films released on Eid, my first choice was MVLU for it’s light and entertaining value. I will watch Yalghaar, obviously, but my idea of entertainment is not watching 300 people die in bloody violence.