Written by Imtiaz Ali and directed by his brother Sajid Ali, 'Laila Majnu' is an explicit adaptation of the classic folk tale of the same name which has been often used as idioms and phrases. Interpreting the myth, Imtiaz makes us walk beneath the picturesque mountains and rivers of Kashmir touching with the silence of sorrow and tears pouring out of our soul making us feel the charm of unconditional love in his own style.
Laila and Qais played by Tripti Dimri and Avinash Tiwary who are two individuals residing in the heart of Kashmir meet each other by fate and slight 'nok-jhok' to begin with. The character development of the two is embedded with innocence and purity and the care of Qais makes our Laila fall for him which she never intended to. The Majnu of the film is a rich lad belonging from a political family surrounding himself with some caring friends all the time. Their love story prospers and reaches the peak as loverboy Qais is ready to marry the one and only love of his life. It is the cousin of Laila played by Sumit Kaul who eyes her all the time; spies them. The situations turn their fate of love and the family feud consisting of a political rivalry which splits them apart. Not giving much of the storyline from here now let's talk about the performances.
Parmeet Sethi plays Laila's possessive father who takes charge of her life. Sumit Kaul as antagonist leaves an impact with his Kashmiri dialect performing some scenes with a lot of intensity. Tripti Dimri shows sparkling versatility in her act performing almost every emotion of life that thoroughly reflected on her pretty face as well. The standout performance is delivered by Majnu aka Avinash and that's how you make a grand debut when you have an artist filmmaker to pull the best out of you. Tiwari leaves us abhorrent with his psychopath act. Playing two phases of his character so brilliantly and we question ourselves is this the same actor or some body-double doing these tragic bits.
What makes this one a gem of a film is its music which is ensembled with a real folk touch and its narrative which is choreographed by maestro Imtiaz Ali himself. Whether it is the cuddly chemistry or the bewitching eye to eye talking between the two, the chemistry is the benchmark set for a modern-day generation that begins with, 'Babu jaan and shona' and ends up with another date on Facebook, Happn or Tinder. The forever bond is the reason behind this madness of love which is retold cinematically and we wonder how difficult it was to capture a silent Kashmir which was definitely a task for the makers. The first half of the film is joyous, impish and serene while proceeding towards the second half is when the real tensed moments arise.
No doubt the songs are like the pain-killers for the intense sorrow scenes from the film. Beginning with 'Gayee Kaam Se' that showcases our flirt Laila who likes to get chased by the strangers who admires her beauty. Performed by Dev Negi, Amit Sharma and Meenal Jain the song is sung like Qawali and the composition has totally entwined every audiences. 'Aahista' by Arijit Singh and Jonita Gandhi is placed when Laila Majnu recollect the memories they have made and the visuals are extremely compelling. 'Hafiz Hafiz' by Mohit Chauhan serves Majnu's madness with a captivating composition and Mohit's soul-soothing voice. The song that has left many of us spellbound is the Atif Aslam and Jyotica Tangri number 'O Meri Laila' which is placed perfectly in the film's end credit scene and no one will move out of the theatre without watching this. A Kashmiri folk song is placed with the flashback of the memories is equally spine-chilling as well and every single song plays their chord in our heart.
'Laila Majnu' is quite cinematic and director of photography Sayak Bhattacharya has explored every abiding destination from the heaven on earth whether it is a wooden villa located on the bank of Jhelum river in Srinagar or scenic hilly terrain from Pulgaon. These scenes won't let us even blink for a second and the contrast is set quite on the brighter side. Imtiaz Ali's writing is well executed by brother Sajid Ali and the film will be endured from generations to generations. Clearly setting an example of one love one life Imtiaz continues to cater to the niche audience who always admire his work. We can say he is back with a cinema that stays with you.
Watch Laila Majnu for Avinash Tiwary's stellar performance and Imtiaz Ali's affluent thought-provoking writing that would surely be relished for quite a long time.