Majajan (2006)


Madiha Shah, Shaan and Saima in Majajan (2006)

Syed Noor’s much awaited Punjabi language film Majajan is finally out. The showman had cancelled the release earlier for almost three times – once due to the October 8 earthquake, then the Pak-India Test series and most recently Eid-ul-Azha – adding to the hype of the film and testing the patience of Pakistani cine-goers.

With the all-Pakistan premier of the Sonia Jahan starrer Taj Mahal just around the corner (April 28), Syed Noor had no option but to release Majajan right away and with not much publicity. Although a local TV channel is promoting the film, if done earlier it certainly would have helped get more people to the cinema who still remember Syed Noor and Saima from Choorian – the biggest Punjabi grosser of present times.

Majajan is expected to face tough competition from Taj Mahal, but as one who is quite familiar with Syed Noor’s brand of cinema, this writer thinks that we might already have a winner on our hands. If the latter is a monument of a man’s eternal love for a woman, Majajan doesn’t fall short on this count either.

Syed Noor has been romantically linked with Saima for years and it is probably the oldest talk around tinsel town that she has been his heroine in more than a dozen films so far. So when Saima decided to launch her first film as a producer, it was all but natural that she chose Noor to direct it. The story is by Rukhsana Noor for who else could write it better than she?

Shaan plays Zille Shah, an unhappily married man belonging to the revered Syed clan who falls in love with a courtesan, Taari (Saima), when she performs in his village. His wife (Madiha Shah) and family straightaway condemn the budding relationship, thereby leading to a conflict that keeps the audience entertained for three hours straight.

Majajan took almost two years to complete and it was rumored that it was the Punjabi version of Devdas. Zille Shah is shown as a drunkard, dressed in white and looking very much like Devdas’ character. He is a man trapped in the feudal system but who revolts against it to win the love of his life. If Majajan resembles any Indian film, it could only be Silsila which cashed in on the hype of Amitabh Bachchan and Rekha’s love affair when he was married to Jaya Bhaduri as the characters on screen spoke the language that people couldn’t hear off screen.
Majajan has not been marketed or presented that way but the characters on screen are rather close to real people. For the film, Syed Noor has not only provided his directorial skills but has also written the screenplay and dialogue. So when Madiha Shah refers to Shaan as Shahji, telling him that she will not accept his affair with Saima, one can guess who’s talking here; also when Shaan turns around and says that falling in love with Saima is his heart’s doing.

And this makes Majajan even more interesting. Shaan, Saima and Madiha Shah fit their characters like the proverbial glove. The film is a comeback movie for Madiha Shah and she lives up to viewers’ expectations. Shaan’s character has different shades and rumor has it that while shooting for the film, he put the production team in a tough spot by causing delays with his disappearing acts and other shenanigans. But everything aside, he has delivered an excellent performance and one must commend Syed Noor (and Saima) for sticking with Shaan and not opting for Moammar Rana who, one feels, would have killed the character.

Saima is one of the finest film actresses we have and since this is a home production with her favorite director, she seems totally at ease and very much in control of her character. She is stunning as Taari, the courtesan who sings and performs in village theatres but lives a very simple life. She is shown to respect her peers and values but speaks her mind out loud and commands respect. Majajan has already proved to be another feather in Saima’s cap and as a producer she has launched a film that is truly entertaining and beautiful. One also feels that she must be appreciated for stepping forward in the revival of good cinema at a time when our Lollywood is struggling hard to survive.

Majajan can be labelled as a musical as Zulfikar Ali, the celebrated music director of the earlier hit, Choorian, is back with a score that’s just as brilliant if not more. All the songs are sung by Azra Jehan coupled with a good melody. Tere Ishq Nachaya by Bullhay Shah is also included in the soundtrack that has 10 other songs, and Syed Noor has filmed them so beautifully that none of them seem out placed except for the last one where it feels like the director has stretched the ending to fit it in.

With a spate of new film directors working on their projects and competition as big and strong as Mughal-i-Azam and the ongoing King Kong on nation-wide cinemas, what the audiences want from Javed Sheikh, Sangeeta and Syed Noor is good clean quality films. Majajan is just what they have been waiting for – Raza Shah

Cast and Production Credits

Year – 2006, Genre – Drama, Country – Pakistan, Language – Punjabi, Producer – Saima, Director – Syed Noor, Music Director – Zulfikar Ali, Cast – Saima, Shaan, Madiha Shah

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