Growing up in my teenage years, I had a hazy memory of Layla and Majnun, the classic folklore of two famous lovers of Arab origin adapted into an Indian version, Laila Majnu. Rishi Kapoor was the Qais, the Majnu as we know it, and Ranjeeta was the Laila. Even now, I only remember koi patthar se naa maare…the iconic track from the 1976 cult classic.

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Cut to 2018, the famous tale was modernised with the same name, and I managed to watch it while delving into their tragic love story set in today’s world.

I am talking about Imtiaz Ali’s presentation, Laila Majnu, an unnoticed film about Laila and Qais that deserved so much better from us.

Source: ZEE5

I remember I wanted to cover an angle on this movie for an article during the initial days of my career, but unfortunately, it didn’t get approval back then. ‘Coz who would read it? The 2018 film was a commercial failure at the box office and had no ‘big stars’ in it. But for me, it mattered. It worked for me on a personal level and still remains close to my heart. You ask, why? Because I believe in ‘shiddat waala pyaar‘. Watching that tragic romance in contemporary style was quite a new experience.

I watched Laila Majnu (2018) to know if such love exists at this age. I wanted to know that a modern man, who wears jeans, a tee, and a jacket can transform into a lunatic Majnu roaming around in Kashmir valley. ‘Coz even Ranbir Kapoor in Tamasha didn’t choose to be a Majnu and tried to stay ‘cool’. The last time I watched a common man turn into an obsessive lover was in Dil Se, as SRK’s character goes through seven stages of love. I also wanted to know if this Laila, who is outspoken and later rebellious, could manage to do justice to the classic tale.

Laila and Qais were separated by family feuds but they were destined to be together. “Tujhe kya lagta hai ye hum kar rahe hain? Hamari kahaani likhi hui hai.” Qais knew that their tale is pre-written and no one in this world could change it, not even them ‘coz they are just playing their parts.

Source: Avinash Tiwary/Twitter

Destiny separated those lovers and reunited them in a world where they lived ‘happily ever after’ post experiencing attraction, love, longing, grief and DEATH. Maangi thi duwaeyin jo unka hi asar hai hum saath hain.”

Source: YouTube

With picturesque locations in Kashmir, vivid colour palette, underrated soundtrack, Laila Majnu is a masterpiece for me. And Avinash Tiwary’s performance as Qais/Majnu, especially, in the second half stands out the most.

In a scene when Qais meets Laila after her marriage, he waits anxiously, sees her and falls on his knees. He almost faints and she cries inconsolably. Relaxed? Destroyed? He feels both and you feel the pain. So much so that you end up shedding tears. You get flashbacks of his ‘pahado ke peeche waala ghar’ that he always dreamt of.

Special mention to another gut-wrenching scene when Avinash Tiwary as Majnu lies on the bed while making Laila believe that he has moved from his waiting phase.

“Meri saanson mein, mujh mein, tujh mein, har jagah bas ek hi naam…La-ilaha,” he says while pointing towards different directions in the sequence. Laila, who has finally returned to her Qais, realises she has lost him forever.

Laila Majnu was truly an underrated gem. I didn’t just watch it, I felt it. Laila and Qais deserved more.