At a time when filmmakers are ready to spare a good deal of money, as well as effort, on promoting their product — whether it means flying their chief cast members out to different places, arranging multiple red-carpet premieres, touring popular public spots and engaging with the crowds, or appearing for press junkets — Aabis Raza opted for low-key publicity for his debut directorial venture, Maan Jao Naa, which was released on Friday in theatres across Pakistan.
Interestingly, it’s also the first cinematic outing for the film’s lead pair — pop singer turned actor Adeel Chaudhry and Iranian-born German model Elnaaz Norouzi — a fact that made it all the more important that the promotional campaign should have been aggressive and forceful.
The duo’s random appearances on TV shows, coupled with the few song trailers that haven’t really become viral, so to say, Maan Jao Naa has offered virtually little to pique your interest. At best, it promises another feel-good, romantic comedy, with the usual dose of a boy-meets-girl-at-a-family-wedding drama, the kind we’ve seen Bollywood master over the decades through Silsila, Chandni, Hum Aapke Hain Kaun, Badrinath Ki Dulhaniya, and so many blockbusters. Of course, there’s the anti-hero — Naeem Haq — and a bunch of loyal friends, too.
At the film’s Lahore premiere on Sunday evening, a few people who are related to production were found doing loud thinking about starting post-release advertising all over again.
While only time will tell if the makers can go ahead with the new plan and thereby achieve their desired results, the film has opened to mixed reviews. People like Chaudhry’s performance and Norouzi’s looks. The supporting cast, led by Asma Abbas, Asif Raza Mir, Ayaz Samoo, and Ghana Ali is superb. The soundtrack is catchy. Also, certain gags are quite funny. If only its plot was a tad less predictable, and its conclusion not so convenient.