Is Ho Mann Jahaan any good? Does it live up to its pre-release hype? Asim Raza brings his own unique craft to the Pakistani Cinema scene with his first venture on the big screen. Any project involving Mahira Khan has its own buzz but the addition of handsome hunks like Sheheryar Munawar and Adeel Husain make it even more irresistible. Is that Right? The movie did have its share of great acting and exceptional dramatic shots but no way was it perfect but it can’t be termed terrible either.

The movie itself is about the lives of three students from different economic and social backgrounds. Arhan (Sheheryar), Manizeh (Mahira) and Nadir (Adeel) are the best of friends but then reality sets in and so they have to alter their dreams and aspirations. Arhan is from a lower-middle class family and ends up failing the university while Manizeh comes from a home where her mother is a painter and accepts her passion for music as a career and Nadir comes from an affluent family where every decision is taken keeping in view how it will be perceived by the society.

The problem with Ho Mann Jahaan is mainly at a single front. Yes the acting is top notch but the pacing of the story is painfully slow. The first half of the movie had some unnecessary dialogues between the secondary characters which really didn’t aid anything to the progression of the story. The length of the entire film was perhaps an issue and was felt by almost everyone.

This movie is a treat for those people who prefer some really fine acting. A few scenes were a pure joy to watch. One particular scene where Sheheryar’s character confronts his father played by his real life father Munawar Siddiqui when he reveals his failure in college, was just exquisitely done and intensely felt. Sheheryar was the star of the first half with an incredible performance. He looks like a star in the making. Yet the first half was extremely long and didn’t have many big twists.

The second half had a better pacing and Adeel Husain felt like the real deal here. One of the scenes where his character undergoes a mental breakdown got a huge appreciation from the audience. Though an underrated actor, Adeel Husain was incredible in the film. He acted gracefully and was phenomenal. But acting wasn’t the real problem of the film.

Mahira Khan had a different wardrobe than what we usually see her in but there was nothing much unconventional about her role. She plays Manizeh, The lead singer quite well but a lot of it was quite similar to her previous work. At times it was difficult to assess her character’s true intentions but you can’t deny the fact that Mahira puts heart and soul in every work she does.

Even though Sonya Jehan was decent in her portrayal of Sabina and looked stunning but her character arc couldn’t be resolved in a fulfilling manner either.

The supporting cast was solid. Bushari Ansari, Arshad Mahmood, Nimra Bucha and Jamal Shah were all reasonable.The film does have its fair shares of cameos too. Hamza Ali Abbasi, Sangeeta, Fawad Khan, Syra Yousuf and a lot of musical talent. One in particular is a very famous band in Pakistan and a legendary singer from the 80’s also makes a cameo in the film.

Though Aesthetically, Ho Mann Jahaan is a great film but at times the pacing was extremely slow and it kind of gave an impression that it was more of a Pakistani Soap. That might be an overstatement but some circles will definitely complain over this issue. Every Director is entitled to have his vision but pulling of a dramatic film which is over two and a half hours long is a mammoth task for any film-maker and maybe Asim Raza couldn’t get it perhaps fully right.

Music was one of the central themes of the film and was one of the strong suits of the film. The music in the film is nicely integrated. All the music videos were nicely shot. A certain soft drink brand has also been integrated for brand promotional purposes and actually does have its use in the main conflict. “Dil Pagla” was nicely done and especially the Chitral scenes and “Ghar Nari” was fittingly done in the resolution. “Shakar Wandaan” lives up to it’s hype and has been beautifully choreographed.

Every Director has his or her own vision. Asim Raza came up with something that has never been attempted before in Pakistan, a film about the problems faced by the urban youth and he presented it in a very realistic narrative form. He perhaps couldn’t construct something like “Dil Chahta Hai” but maybe that wasn’t his intention. At times it felt that the story was stretched too much. The movie could have been made much shorter. Simpler would have been the better option but some of the scenes shot and the acting done are brilliant. It might resonate with some of the urban youth, women, families and people who prefer dramatic stuff but it will have a disconnect with the people who are more Bollywood oriented. In simpler words, Ho Mann Jahaan isn’t an epic movie that it could’ve been but it’s not amateurish or inferior either. It’s quite different and if Pakistani Cinema is to progress then experimentation should be appreciated.

Movie Rating: 3/5

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