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Load wedding review

load wedding

After having watched various “attempts “at making a movie from Pakistan, it’s almost a surprise when you come across the real thing: Load Wedding is the film you have been looking for . Nabeel Qureshi and Fizza Ali prove once again that they know how to write a script and put together a cinematic experience that is both entertaining and moving.

The story is very contemporary and completely Pakistani. Raja, (Fahad Mustafa) is a simple young man living in Narali, a large but decidedly provincial town in Punjab. His friends are all married but he is left putting up the wedding decorations at his childhood sweetheart’s Meerab’s (Mehwish Hayat) house because his mother (Samina Ahmed) insists that he cannot marry before his elder sister Baby Baji (Faiza Hassan). Marrying Baby Baji off is no easy task, she is a spoiled, disappointed woman, who isn’t as slim or rich as rishta auntys would like. Raja accepts his fate until the suddenly widowed Meerab returns to their town, and he finally connects with the woman he has quietly admired from afar for so long.

Fahad Mustafa literally shines in this role,  even if his ‘Punjabi act” doesn’t quite ring true , he makes Raja’s character both believable and lovable . This film doesn’t waste time with long rolling scenes and torturously long set ups, the sharp, effective script immediately connects the audience to the fates of Raja and Meerab , and has us rooting for their sweet little romance . Mehwish Hayat is excellent and despite being given very little to say , she uses her expressions and body language to maximum effect managing to keep an equal footing with what looks like a script oriented towards Fahad Mustafa .Of the two main leads she had the more authentic Punjabi touch and boy can she dance . After watching one Pakistani actress after another fail in the dance department, watching Mehwish’s “lachak mattak’ was a treat, and the best part was she looked sexy minus any kind of overt sensuality or vulgarity. On the dancing front Fahad Mustafa matched Mehwish seamlessly , their mehendi dance was fabulous .

Jahez, marriage and widowhood are usually considered, “women’s issues “so the maker’s pivot to Raja’s perspective on these issues was a curious choice , only just avoiding a charge of “mansplaining” because of Fahad Mustafa’s charm and his characters disarming , gentle personality. Raja’s collection of “paindu” sweaters was especially adorable .

Faiza Hassan is a wonderful actress and was perfect as the petulant, bratty sister in law that has become everyone’s problem. One thing I really appreciated about Fizza Ali’s script is the way no one was allowed to carry a mantel of victimhood. Meerab is naturally upset at the label of unlucky now attached to her because of her widowhood but instead of melting into a pile of self-pity; she gets on with her life and finds a job administering polio drops.

Thank you team Load Wedding for pointing out the cruel superstitions of “bad luck’ which still surround widowhood, by making Meerab the family’s good luck charm. This thread had me smiling through my tears!  As for Baby Baji, well she is irrepressible and quite determined to snatch any kind of “mazaa “she can even if it means acting like a mean spirited kebab main haddi on her brother’s honeymoon. The clever satire of Amir Liaqat and the way TV shows reduce the dignity of the recipients they claim to be helping in the name of charity were spot on. A big shout out to the actor playing the game show host, it was a tour de force. Also good to see Samina Ahmed and Noor ul Hassan as a great supporting cast.

Nabeel Qureshi is a fantastic director, one of the few Pakistanis who know how to tell a story on the big screen from start to finish and I hope he continues to grow and diversify. While I loved Fizza Ali’s script just a minor complaint about the missing female voice in this movie. A few more scenes for Mehwish and a little self-realization for Baby Baji would have made this movie even better.

The final verdict on this movie is, don’t miss it! This is a gem of a film, the complete package; great acting, great music and a great message.

Sadaf Haider

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