Haseeb Hassan’s Parwaaz Hai Junoon has the distinction of being the first Pakistani aerial combat-war romantic film. Anchored by a strong cast and some good music, this Pakistani film isn’t the best local feature you’ll see this year nor would it be the best film to release this Eid, but the film is different from your run-of-the-mill romantic flick, and that’s probably the best thing you can say about it.
The story revolves around the lives of Hamza (Hamza Ali Abbasi) and Sania (Hania Amir) and shifts between two timelines, as it details the growing romance between the two. The story varies from your average romance movie simply because much of it is set in Pakistan Air Force’s cadet academy and is the kind of film where both leads are more invested in their careers than each other.
The film also has slick cinematography and solid aerial sequences (though the CGI work leaves a lot to be desired). The film is meant to be a love letter of sorts to the Pakistan Air Force and it certainly delivers on that, making the viewer more interested in and often even awed by the PAF.
The story revolves around the lives of Hamza (Hamza Ali Abbasi) and Sania (Hania Amir) and shifts between two timelines, as it details the growing romance between the two.
The film manages to utilize most of its cast and even the supporting cast, Shafaat Ali, Rachel Vicaji, Sikander Vincent, all do good work. What I was most surprised by however, was that Hamza Ali Abbasi didn’t do as good a job as he could have.
Abbasi has demonstrated his acting chops on numerous occasions with serials like Pyarey Afzaal and Mann Mayal. Even his roles in films like Waar, Main Hoon Shahid Afridi and Jawani Phir Nahi Ani have established him as a versatile, and overall talented actor. But his strait-laced performance in Parvaaz Hai Junoon comes across as so typical that it wouldn’t be any different from him reading lines from a prompter.
In an effort to show how patriotic his character is, Abbasi gives a wooden robotic performance that just doesn’t do him or his character justice. What’s sad about this is that the actor has the skills necessary to do more with his role than take the easy way out and deliver a performance like any other, lesser actor would.
Ultimately his performance while not being insufferable, does make the film less cool than it could have been. Hania Amir does a relatively better job, while she lacks the charisma that Abbasi has, she has enough in her arsenal to make Sania a memorable character.
The film is meant to be a love letter of sorts to the Pakistan Air Force and it certainly delivers on that, making the viewer more interested in and often even awed by the PAF.
Praise must also be given to Shaz Khan, Kubra Khan and Ahad Raza Mir. While the two Khans don’t have very meaty roles, they deliver good performances. Ahad Raza Mir shines too, despite having a very badly written character. All that doesn’t distract from the serious flaws of this film.
The cinematography of the film borders on being great and then amateurish at times, with many out of focus frames. There’s also the blatant ripping off of scenes from Top Gun and Sunehrey Din which brings the film down for viewers who remember them.
The film’s script suffers greatly from its over patriotic tomfoolery, lines like “Yeh dharti bhi meray maan aur baap hain” get old really fast and this film has loads of such dialogues. While it is important to have such sentiments in the film, the film could have done with more subtlety and less heavy-handedness.
There’s also the two running timelines that got confusing simply because Ahad Raza Mir’s moustache was supposed to be white in the present and black in the past and yet the director would mix that up sometimes and feature a white mustached Mir in the past. Another problem that the film faced was that it was very much like a TV Drama.
While previous Pakistani films have been accused of being too TV drama like as well, recent additions to our film slate have done a good job of establishing a clear distinction between film and TV serials.
Parvaaz Hai Junoon apparently didn’t get the memo as the film’s first half is full of stories of other characters and arcs that don’t make it to the second half, let alone impact the movie in any way. With a tighter script, better execution and more originality, Parvaaz Hai Junoon could have been an excellent film. Sadly the film, while far from a waste of time, isn’t going to fly with audiences the way it should have.