Jaanisaar: Film Review – Love in hard times

There’s one thing common between a good film and a bad film- they both turn out to be memorable affairs. After more than three decades, the director of the classic-cult film Umrao Jaan, makes a comeback with Jaanisaar. But sadly, the well-respected director (Muzaffar Ali) seems to have lost his flair.

The film begins with Naseeruddin Shah’s voice-over explaining how the English thought it was impossible to invade India due to its rich culture, etiquette and heritage. The film then introduces Raja Ameen Haider (Imran Abbas), who has been raised by the English as one of their own. His respect for them is immense as his late parents were devoted to them. He is soon introduced to Noor (Pernia Qureshi), a local courtesan whom he proceeds to falls in love with. As their romance blossoms, the naive prince starts questioning the way the British operate, which soon leads to combat.

The Good vs. Bad fight has been tried and tested many-a-times in Hindi cinema. Imran Abbas lacks depth in his performance as the prince. Pernia Qureshi makes an elegant debut but lacks the grace that an actress should have to fill  the rather delicate shoes of Umrao Jaan. She’s superb when it comes to her dancing skills though, and the rhythmic music gives her many occassions to show these off. A stylist herself, she’s styled beautifully for the film and wears vintage clothes that capture the mood of the pre-Independence era. 

However, the film is slow in pace, lacks action and has poor dialogue delivery from the cast, which lets it down in the end.
Why you should watch the film:
If you are a fan of period drama and Indian history, this movie will fascinate you. The music is soothing to the ears, and the choreography is excellent too. The film showcases culture, poetry and clothes of the pre-independence era. Also, the film is shot in the beautiful locales of Lucknow. Poetry lovers will love this film- it is a true poetic delight!