Pick this flick 8-Khuda Kay Liye  

Posted by Praveen in , , ,

I never had high opinions about the Pakistani film industry. Whatever clips I've seen in youtube from their movies looked amateurish and a pale imitation of bollywood. That was until yesterday when I watched the path breaking Pakistani film "Khuda Kay Liye". I had heard a lot about it being one of Pakistan's best movie ever. Still I didn't have much of an expectation. The only reason I found to watch the film was the presence of Nasseruddin Shah. The movie directed by Shoaib Mansoor takes you from London to Pakistan and then to USA. The film opens with a shot of a sad lady in a US hospital. Before you can understand what its all about, the action cuts to Pakistan.

In Pakistan, you get to see the story of an affluent family. Mansoor(Shaan) and Samad(Fawad Khan) are two singers who become quite popular locally. At the same time, their uncle is living a wealthy life in London, having married a British lady. His daughter Mary(Iman Ali) is in love with a British native Dave. He disapproves of their relation with such fickle reasons like "A pakistani male can marry anybody, but if a female marries from outside, it will create problems within the community". But, all of a sudden he agrees to her marriage and takes her to a visit to her home country before her marriage. There, Samad is on his way to become a religious fanatic, having quit singing and grown a beard after some ill advice by an Islami Mullah. The Mullah talks at length on how music is just another vice like drinking which should be avoided by true followers of the religion. Samad even asks his mother to wear a burqha. Mansoor is shattered and he leaves for US to study music. Meanwhile, Mary's father fools her into marrying Samad after taking her to a village near Afghanistan. The scene where she is forced to marry him will have you seething with anger. Mansoor joins a music school in Chicago where he falls in love with Janie. They get married soon. Thats when tragedy strikes in the form of 9/11 and he's arrested as a suspect just because he was having a muslim name.

The scenes of Mansoor's torture are well-shot. He is made to write his feelings on the wall after the torture. Still, he writes "I love USA". But, after a point he realises that they just want him to confess as a terrorist and won't believe whatever he says, even if its the truth. Thats when he changes "I love USA" to "I love USAMA". Its a poignant scene when he says "afterall, USA started it". The writer has indeed got his history right. Mary tries to run away from Samad but she's caught. But she writes a letter to Dave about her plight and as a result the British government rescues her from the hell hole. She takes her father and her husband to court. Thats where the best part of the movie happens. A Maulana(a brilliant cameo by Naserruddin Shah) delivers a speech on how the principles of Islam are twisted by the so-called learned scholars and clerics to their own advantage and spread hatred around. He convincigly disproves the notion of Islam's disapproval of music with some brilliant examples. He also talks on the inequality of women and such matters. In the end, you'll feel like standing up from your seat and clapping. After winning the case, Mary going back to the village to teach the illiterate young girls is a master stroke. She could've chose to go to London and live a luxurious life. But, she wants to set an example. The transformation of Samad back to his old self is also heartening. You will have a smile on your lip when he comes with his modern outfits and a cap turned backwards to sing "allahu akbar" at the local mosque.

The film works at various levels conveying a flurry of messages. Many might not have forgotten the news of Lal Masjid closing all music shops and banning all music education in Pakistan. These kind of retrograde steps are due to some twisted notion of the religious texts. The scene where a tortured Mansoor says that he doesn't know a single word of the arabic writings in his locket tells a story. He says he can read it but doesn't understand the language. And this is the case with many other people. In such a scenario, getting misguided by elder religious clerics who are hell-bent on spreading hatred is relatively easy. Another one important aspect of the film is how the plight of women are filmed. Women are considered unequal to men in Pakistan, most evident from the dialogue of Mary's father that I mentioned above. The Pakistani women are mostly uneducated and even those who are educated are not allowed to cross the boundaries of their house to interact with the soceity. At the end of the movie, Mansoor's lover Janie reads a letter that he wrote while he was in jail. The letter ends with the words "I can't hate all Americans because some of them have done injustice to me. In the same way, please don't hate all muslims because some of them have done have to your country". A superb movie! Must watch! The movie also has a great soundtrack with some chart topping songs like "Bandya" and "alla hu".

Quick 3 Recos
3 more recommended movies
1. V For Vendetta- A political commentary scripted by the Matrix makers, Wachowski brothers. Set in a futuristic England, it tells the story of 'V' who single handedly fights against the totalitarian regime. He wears a Guy Fawkes mask to cover his face that got a bad burn as a result of a Government purging experiment gone awry. Hugo Weaving gives an amazing performance without ever showing his face.

2. Infernal Affairs- Cantonese language film which inspired Martin Scorcese to make 'Departed'. You will see scenes straight out of this one in Departed. It has the same plot. But, somehow I liked this more than Departed.

3. Good Morning, Night- An Italian film directed by Marco Bellochio which chronicles the kidnap and murder of Aldo Moro, the former prime minister of Italy by the terrorist group 'Red brigades'. Watch out for an awesome performance by Maya Sansa, the female member of the group. Also, Roberto Herlitzka playing Aldo Moro evokes a lot of sympathy. Beware, this is a real slow movie.

pic courtesy-muziqpakistan.com

your crusader Praveen

This entry was posted on Tuesday, November 04, 2008 at Tuesday, November 04, 2008 and is filed under , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


V for vendata.. i watched it again and again.. i memorized some dialogues.. amazing movie for all literature lovers..

10:13 PM

Bandya and alla hu... I LOVEEEE these 2 songs :)

Naseer is an actor par excellence..no 2 ways abt it..

I haven't seen 'KKL'..but im sure its a gr8 film and so is 'A Wednesday'.

12:05 AM

"Remember, remember the Fifth of November,
The Gunpowder Treason and Plot,
I see no reason
Why the Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot."

I wonder if you meant this post to include V on 4th !..Its the 5th as i write this :)

2:02 AM

Read it last night, and wanted to put down the views right away, but got sidetracked, lol, into learning Malayalam typing.. :)

As I've mentioned earlier, you do have a simple, straightforward, no nonsense maaner of narrative that makes for good reading, and makes your opinion on the topic stand out: to be accepted or not, but certainly something one can connect to!

And so with this; good reviewing skills. I know for certain that I'll want to watch the film when it comes around here, [most likely when the CD gets here, lol!]!

Haven't seen any of the films you've mentioned here, but I will look out for them now :) Thanks!

6:32 AM

Another must watch here! Are the DVDs of Khuda Kay Liye out? And I love Bandya too...awesome song! Will catch up on all these movies soon! :)

11:52 AM

sounds like a real great movie. I didnt know there were such Pakistani movies either

12:41 PM

i too loved the movie.. it starts with a halt, moves a l'il slow but then, it is juz a shaking and touching movie..

3:52 PM

sounds gr88 but I reely am not in the habit to watch latest movies..I mean going to cinemas and all
hmmmm got to thnk abt it.

9:26 PM

its full of such lines worth memorising

'a wednesday' is a different genre...
and its one awesome movie..
KKL is more touching, deals with a lot of subjects

today morning, one of my colleagues pointed this out when I posted this in our company blogs..thats when I realised it//shocking coincidence:D..and 3 cheers to your memory..

thanks for those truely honest comments:)
and do get the cd soon

donnow if DVD is out..I downloaded it

I once thought they stopped making movies altogether..hehehe

touching, indeed

you dont have to go to the cinemas..u can sit at home and watch..Most of the movies mentioned here, I've watched at home

10:24 PM

Hey cinemas r a different fun...don't u think so?

7:31 AM

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