Verna Film Review
In an attempt to spotlight the necessity for female empowerment, critically acclaimed filmmaker Shoaib Mansoor has once again used the medium of cinema to raise awareness, ignite action and create change by producing and directing his highly anticipated and emotive social drama,
Verna’s narrative revolves around the life of a highly educated and attractive woman Sara (Mahira Khan), who was born to an affluent family, with both parents teaching at a university. Out of her ideals of righteousness she goes on to marry a polio-stricken young musician Aami (Haroon Shahid) and they proceed to make a wonderful couple, leading a happy life until their lives are disrupted when they are faced with some extraordinary circumstances.
Facing the risk of punishment, marginalization and isolation, Sara looks to take a stand against rapists despite the fact she will have to battle the entirety of the socio-political system. This brave act will see Sara wage an impassioned fight against the powers that be as she looks to put an end to female oppression and sexual abuse against the vulnerable.
Shoaib Mansoor is renowned for backing projects that not only play a vital role in the revival of Pakistani cinema but also that draw attention to critical socio-political issues, from feudalism and misuse of power to gender equality, as he did with breakthrough films such as ‘Bol’ and‘Khuda Kay Liye’. However, with Verna, Shoaib Mansoor has produced his most hard-hitting and poignant project to date, as he continues his passion-filled quest to implement social change through the art of film. His strengths as a film maker are very much in evidence throughout the film. But there are major flaws in this film and towards the end it plays out like a black comedy.
Performance wise the film belongs to the vivacious and unconventional Pakistani actress Mahira Khan, marking her second collaboration with Shoaib Mansoor after the huge success of the critically acclaimed ‘Bol’. Sara is a difficult role for to prepare for as needs to convey a character who is in every frame and one that had been assaulted sexually. The actor rises to the challenge and portrays such a complex character..
The exceptional performances by Taapsee Pannu in Pink, Aditi Rao Hydari in Bhoomi and Sajjal Ali in Mom over shadow Mahira’s performance in Verna this year. She fails disastrously to leave a significant mark in any of the scenes in this movie. Top marks to her for starring in a film that brings this sensitive issue to the viewers and may it have an impact on all that see it. Haroon Shahid, lead singer of SYMT, who makes his acting debut in the film fials to make any impact as the husband who is ver weak willed. The role should have gone to a better actor.The audience laughed at his feeble acting skills.The supporting cast of Zarrar Khan as the spoilt rapist was passable and Rasheed Naz as the corrupt lawyer was just plain embarrassing.
The music album of Shoaib Mansoor’s Verna has a total of six songs, which will make the listeners go on a musical roller coaster ride. The director is the lyricist of all the songs except for Zinda which has been sung, composed and written by Soch Band. Ashko is different and unconventional in its own way. The lyrics don’t rhyme and that perhaps is the beauty of the song. Lafzon Main Kharabi Thi, another painfully poignant song that will hit it right away with you. Sambhal Sambhal Kay is Verna’s romantic track and its utterly beautiful. Khushi Ki Baat is a beautiful track that’ll make you fall in love with its simplicity and the message it has in store. Zinda is another heartbreaking song from the album. The music arrangement are very poignant and you can hear the hurt in the music and the voice of the singer very clearly.The Verna sound track is Intense, Poignant, Beautiful and Outright Powerful!.
Rape is often used as a tool for oppression amongst the powerful in society to humiliate and invoke fear among the vulnerable. Bodies of women have become the battle ground for men to fight their battles of honour, power and revenge, leaving women powerless at the mercy of their abuser.Verna seeks to push boundaries and eradicate the stigmas attached to discussing the monstrosities of rape whilst challenging the stereotype and commonly held myths that only poor women get raped, in dark lonely allies by uneducated savages. Even though the film has major plot flaws and more attention needed to be paid to other characters and story points in the film. Shoib Mansoor should be applauded for bringing to the discussion table of how rape is used as a tool to show power.