Back in 2008 when I had seen this Pakistani film named ‘Khuda Kay Liye’ after listening about it on a Medium-Wave radio station, I was left pretty much stunned and amazed by the brilliant concept the makers of the film had thought of; and it was quite an apt and realistic story which ‘must’ have conspired with many Muslims after 9/11. The film was a very nice effort to show to the people the real agonies faced by the Muslims and Pakistanis in the world after 9/11! But what surprised me the most was that the film came out from Pakistan! Now fortunately I haven’t been one of those countless people in India who are programmed since a young age to loathe Pakistan, in fact I believe in what ‘The Times Of India’ says everyday, ‘Love All Nations Alike’; but still what I perceived of Pakistan back then was a nation ruled by a dictator where there must be no artistic freedom and people being supressed of their rights; and being a backward nation there couldn’t be adequate resources for them to have their own film industry which produced quality movies! So immature of me! But this flick changed it all!
Now when the same guy Shoaib Mansoor came up with his second film ‘Bol’ which luckily was released in India, I knew I had to watch it! So few days back I saw this another brilliant work by him and once again this fellow rendered me speechless!
A serious and thought provoking movie which focuses on the problems faced by many families in Pakistan (and India too) headed by overtly religious minded people who badly misinterpret and are blind and staunch followers of the lessons their faith has to offer. The movie though is based in modern day Lahore, one watching it here in India will also ‘feel’ the agony and the helplessness of the family portrayed even though there is vast difference in our upbringing in urban India and their life in Lahore; such amazing is the acting, the cinematography and the direction! The film is made to show that unspoken face of the Pakistani society which many tend to ignore or never think much deeply about! The problem of being a blind follower of one’s religion, bringing people in the world without proper means to look after them, homosexuality, poverty, education, misinterpretations of religion, corruption, generation gap etc. are some of the issues which have light thrown on them in this film which make it a bit too long but who cares until the story is sane and it grips you to the end.
The performance by Humaima Malick (Zainab) is worth appreciating. It was a difficult role I would say and she surprised me by doing it all so naturally. One statement mentioned by her telling her sisters to drop the Burqas (Islamic Veils) and live their lives freely kind of stunned me; for in a country which has its foundations based on the stones of its religion, such statement made in a mainstream film could have been controversial (It sure would have been if it was India). But it was boldly stated without any issues; it made me wonder about the broad-mindedness and openness of the people of Pakistan which is worth appreciating. Also the stunningword Iman Ali (Mina) does an appreciable job in the film.
The stark contrasts shown in the film, thanks to the amazing cinematography are worth mentioning; the many colors of Lahore from its congested lanes to swanky malls, from old mosques to lush fields; all this would account for your mini Lahore tour. Also the beauty of the Urdu language is clearly seen in this film! And yes, the music is too good and way above the kind of music we have in today’s Bollywood movies. I would like to mention the songs ‘Hona Tha Pyar’, ‘Kaho’ and ‘Mumkin Hai’ which are exceptional. And one thing I noticed that these songs have been carefully interleaved in the storyline unlike in Bollywood movies.
It is a wonderful movie and every sensible person should see it, but if you are one of those Bose DKs (the term I will use from now onwards for the ‘MTV Generation’ youth of India) who likes typical Bollywood movies with Happy Endings and at least 5 songs put in randomly and out of place, then this movie is not for you! Better go and waste your time and money on some crap like Delhi Belly, Bodyguard, Brother ki Dulhan etc.
Sometimes I wonder that if Pakistanis can make such evocative movies about social issues, why can’t our filmmakers in India? But again it depends on the kind of movies people enjoy for the filmmakers have to earn their revenues from them. And because of these Bose DKs our film industry comes up with something as disgusting as Delhi Belly and as stupid as Akshay Kumar movies. The last rational film I seem to remember in Bollywood was ‘No One Killed Jessica’.
In the end there are two things we need to learn from Pakistan:
1. How to make good music by reviving our pop music industry and
2. How to make sane and rational movies.