I’ll be honest, I wasn’t expecting much from Load Wedding when I saw the trailer. But looking back I think my opinion was clouded by the two other movies that were releasing at the same time, JPNA2 and ‘Parwaaz Hai Junoon‘. But as I watched the movie, I was drawn in to the story and pleasantly surprised.
While ‘Load Wedding’ may not the be the best movie this year, it is reflective of how romantic comedies are improving in the local industry.
In a few words, it’s cheesy but not in a bad way. If you’re looking for a film to watch this weekend, to just kick back and watch brainlessly, you should go watch Load Wedding. But keep in mind it is a very Punjabi movie so Karachi folks probably won’t enjoy it as much, especially the KGS crowd.
Warning: Spoilers Ahead
The story starts with Raja played by Fahad Mustafa, setting up the lights for the wedding of Meeru, played by Mehwish Hayat, with whom he’s been in love with since he was a little boy. Since they were children, Raja would secretly leave chooriyan for Meeru and yet she would remain oblivious as to who her secret admirer because Raja koh apnay pyaar ka izhar kar nay say dur lag ta tha. But on the day Raja finally mustered up the courage to tell Meeru how he felt but ~plot twist~ tragedy struck as Raja’s father suffered a fateful accident.
Now, Raja must also act as the caretaker of the family which means that before he can get married, his elder sister Baby Baji must get married. At the same time, Raja is unable to tell Meeru how he actually feels, which leads to her getting married to someone else. Can’t blame her if she didn’t know someone was in love with her?
Stuff begins to work out in Raja’s favor, albeit in a pretty fucked up way, as Meeru’s husband dies. So, back she comes to the village, but this time to the scorny eyes of the mohalla because of her widow status. Meeru’s character is important in that it allows the movie to tackle the issue of how widowed women are treated, especially in suburban and rural settings. After her husband dies, she is sent back to her own home without anything. Moreover, people seem to have a lot to say about her behind her back, all to do with her being widowed and as if that makes her less of a person or is someone who shouldn’t be allowed to be happy.
For Raja, though, this is his chance to be with the woman he loves and there’s no way he can let her go this time
And so, Raja tries to get Meeru’s attention and have her fall in love with him. It doesn’t take long either. One slap, a letter, a few glances and a song later, they fall in love and Raja wants wants to marry Meeru. Only one problem. Baby Baji has to get married first. And for Baby Baji to find a suitable husband, Raju must prepare for decent dowry. What to do?
Raja decides to try and commit suicide by drinking phenyl, which lands him in the hospital but also helps convince his mother to let Raja and Meeru get married, much to the dismay of Baby Baji.
Baby Baji, playing the typical vindictive nund, doesn’t keep her frustration secret and becomes a perpetual third wheel in Raja and Meeru’s life. It can’t be fun having your sister tag along during your honeymoon and then sleep in the same room.
Things get more tumultuous when the game show Jeet Ka Lay Lo, a parody of Aamir Liaqat, comes to town. There’s a lottery for people who will be allowed to contest on the show. And guess who wins the lottery? Nope, not Baby Baji, but her now arch-nemesis Meeru.
Meeru, being the bholee bhalee character that she is, offers her spot to Baby Baji. While noble, it’s against the rules of the show and doesn’t help improve the sour relationship she has with Baby Baji. Meanwhile, Raja makes a secret plan to take Meeru on the show. News spreads throughout the village, courtesy Raja’s best friend and next thing you know the entire village is watching the show. Even Baby Baji who’s fuming, yet also curious to see where things go.
Raja and Meeru strike gold, literally, on the show and come back home with home appliances, a new car and 25 tola gold. And then Meeru takes it up a notch by giving all the winnings to Baby Baji. Not bad eh? But the winnings from the show act as a sort of curse for the family.
All of a sudden, Baby Baji has a wedding proposal from a lad who lives in London.
The family, however, smell of greed and make grand demands for jahez which Raja’s mother agrees to. Soon enough, wedding preparations ensue, and it seems like it’s about to be a happy ending after all. Not so fast. The family comes home after the mehndi to find that they’ve been robbed and all their fortunes stolen. No jahez, which means no marriage for Baby Baji unless Raja can come up with 20 lakh rupees.
In desperation, Meeru turns to the game show host Aamir…sorry Ashiq Rafaqat for help. He smells opportunity and agrees to help them in exchange for a live show that he knows will earn him ratings. While things seem to be working out especially for Baby’s groom to be, Raja, Meeru and family are utterly embarrassed. The movie uses Ashiq to throw shade on game shows and how they exploit human emotions for ratings. While not so overt, it is there and really surprising given Fahad Mustafa himself being a game show host and engaging in activities that the movie throws shade on.
As Raja talks to Ashiq on live television, in his embarrassment, he criticizes the entire jahez culture and compares it to selling property, in this case, women.
The monologue enrages the groom’s family who has essentially been exposed for their greed and starts causing a stir, refusing the marriage itself. Cue Baby Baji’s transformation, she gets up and denounces the wedding herself, bitch slapping the groom to be in the process. This was, for me, one of the most stand out features of the film. They discussed dowry in a very head-on way, which if anything, saves the movie from being just another romantic comedy that is easily forgettable.
Aaaaaand end scene, with the narrator (Raja’s best friend) leaving the audience with a message about the evils of jahez. Oh, he also ends up marrying Baby Baji.
The movie’s script was very simplistic, which I think allowed the performances of Fahad Mustafa and Mehwish Hayat to shine through the film.
Both the actors are only growing in terms of their popularity with the audiences, but it seems like their command of the characters seems to be growing, especially with the case of Mehwish. Unfortunately, she wasn’t afforded the same amount of screen time as Fahad but still leaves the audience with a memorable performance.
While Load Wedding may not have been a deeply profound movie, it is obvious that the movie does not plan on it either so as to appeal to a larger audience. But that should not take away from some massive topics that the movie sheds light upon.
So long story short: it’s a decent film to watch with your family. Super cheesy, but not in a bad way.
Cover image via: Filmwala Pictures