OK so we are on a roll here – the Pakistani film industry has taken off from themes of religious extremism to tender romances to brilliant biographies with the latest one, Jawani Phir Nahin Aani – #JPNA being a complete mirch masala movie. It is a humdrum of a fillum with strong Bollywood undertones, a trip to jazzy Bangkok, smartly dressed, clear-skinned women with bleached locks, men looking dapper in coloured blazers and velvet shehrwanis and product sponsored snazzy songs.
The multiple stories of hopeless married men, spiced up by an all boys flirtatious trip abroad, sweetened by glamorous people falling in love, heavily embellished costumes, dances and songs and some Shahrukh Khan imagery is all wrapped up neatly by the director, Nadeem Baig, in a bag of witty barbs and banters. Atif Aslam and Sahir Lodhi are bashed for their voice and looks respectively while Shahrukh Khan is glorified – all with a good laugh!
I mean seriously, doesn’t it sounds like a Thai inspired rice paper roll with a #dabang combination of spice and sweet, balanced out with vibrant colours, textures and flavours.
Penned by the very quick-witted Vasay Chaudhry, who himself plays one of the hen-penned husbands, brings in the universal #fatherofthefilmindustry Javed Sheikh next to a very peppy Punjabi wife, Bushra Ansari who plays an exact replica of her own character in Dolly Ki Ayegi Baraat. My personal favourite however was Ahmed Ali Butt: adorable, funny and too sentimental a guy. I happened to meet him at #LSA2015 and expressed my sentiments to him, to which he very shyly replied “even I am embarrassed by my own role in the movie”
Big guy, Humanyun Saeed the protagonist has paired up well with the very sultry Mehwish Hyaat and the #fairnlovelyjalwa Sohai Ali Abro who is a complete replica of our young divas obsessed wholly and solely with social media, hashtags and selfies.
Yes the fillum is not without its flaws; the guys have tried to squeeze everything in the awfully long reel moving from pathan jokes, to Shahrukh Khan influences, to Don repartees to some over the top romantic exchanges. The storyline is usual too. Yet, you leave the cinema light-hearted and punchy.
And talking about punch I just had to share the following recipe, which has its usual Thai elements and much more, rice paper rolls – encasing freshly slit crisp veggies, succulent shrimps and some rice noodles. And then they are finally accompanied with a very sweet and sour and crunchy peanut dip.
Ingredients (Makes 3 logs)
100 gm. Shrimp (12-15 small sized)
40 gm. Rice noodles
20 gm. Carrots (Finely chopped)
3 Lettuce leaves
3 Rice paper (16 cm)
(Note: you can also add chicken instead of shrimps, and/or thinly sliced cucumbers, bean sprouts, avocados)
1 ½ tbsp. Peanut butter (I used crunchy)
1 tbsp. Honey
2 tsp. Soy sauce
2 tsp. Rice vinegar
2 tbsp. Warm water
Steam the shrimps or plunge them in boiling water for three to four minutes, take them out and dunk them in cold water immediately to prevent them from further cooking. Drain the water and set aside.
Follow the instructions on the packet to cook the rice noodles and set aside. With your lettuce leaves, chopped carrots and cooked shrimps at hand you can now start preparing the rolls
Carefully dip the rice paper in water, give it several dunks until soft but not squishy. With great care lay the paper out on a board, line it with the lettuce leaf, lay the prawn horizontally across the paper, do the same with the carrots. Lift the edge of the paper closer to you and gently roll the logs away from you, ensuring at the same time that the filling is neatly folding in.
Seal the edges by lining them with slightly wet fingers. These rolls can be made ahead and covered with damp cloth until ready to serve. Slit sideways and serve with the peanut dip.
To make the peanut sauce combine everything in a small bowl, give it a thorough stir and it is ready to serve. This sauce can also be made ahead however it will thicken in the refrigerator. Warm it slightly before serving to make it more pliable and dunkable.