A new movie is landing at movies theaters across the nation that promises the perfect Bollywood escape: romance between a beautiful cast, gorgeous clothes, cinematography, catchy songs and fabulous dance numbers, but the most surprising thing of the sleeper hit Balu Mahi is that it isn’t from Bollywod at all. It is, in fact, from Pakistan.
The movie starts when a supermodel-looking Baloo (played by Osman Khalid Butt) crashes a wedding and professes his undying love to the veil-covered bride. The bride, who turns out to be the freedom-chasing Mahi (played by the beautiful Ainy Jaffri), has been forced into a marriage and when the opportunity to runaway from her wedding shows itself, she immediately agrees. To Baloo’s dismay, he realizes that he has crashed the wrong wedding and taken the wrong bride, but before he can try to find the correct wedding hall, Mahi has already kidnapped the wedding horse and has forcibly galloped off with an incensed Baloo in tow. What follows is a Disneyesque night of fantastic experiences framed by the couple running away from her chasing family members.
Written by Saad Azhar, directed by Haissam Hussain and produced by Sadia Jabbar, Balu Mahi takes audiences through comedic scenes and rousing dance numbers set against the breathtaking cinematography of the ancient city of Lahore and Pakistan’s northern mountain areas. The soundtrack by Sahir Ali Bagga includes a qawwali, “Rang de Chunar” by Rahat Ali Khan and a danceable title song, “Balu Mahi.”
The movie has some really funny moments with double entendres, dual-language linguistic confusion and mistaken identity, and admittedly though Balu Mahi is a bit long, it makes for a fun movie-going experience that leaves audiences with the message of empowerment for the female future of Pakistan, a theme now so much in societal vogue.