September 4, 2011


I'm absolutely thrilled, not to mention honoured, when a sensible Pakistani movie comes out. Call it biased, but I love the movie even if I disagree with all of it. Because let's face it, we come from a place where the film industry thrives on women shimmying and writhing in brightly-coloured, blindingly-shiny neon lachahs that are 5 sizes too small for them. So when I see our talent emerging and sensible movies the like of Khuda Kai Liye, Azadi, etc. emerging, I will go out and support them 100%, and so should you.

That being said, I went to watch Bol on the second day of Eid. All the movie-review business aside, I liked the movie. I loved the technicalities, the filmography, acting, editing, blah di dum. I understand and agree with what it preaches about bigotry and hypocrisy. But the specifics of the film ticked me off, and these btw, are what your average audiences take home from the movie; your average audience that is passive and is not a very analytical/critical thinker. Your average audience that isn't too in-touch with Islam.

You see, Shoaib Mansoor has this very clever way of 'liberalizing' our society. Of making things that are wrong appear right. He did it in Khuda Kai Liye, and he did it in Bol again.


When they show Zainub addressing her mother and sisters in the jail, she screams out,"APNE BURKE UTAARO AUR APNI ZINDAGI KHOD BANAO!" (or somehwere along those lines anyway). Loosely translated, it means take off yor burkas and do something with your life.
Seriously? My burka does not inhibit me in anyway, from doing anything that I please. If anything inhibits me, it's me, myself and I. Your clothes do NOT make or break your life, nor do they make or break you. Your clothes do nothign for you. YOU make your own life. Your clothes do not oppress you, YOU oppress yourself.

Or take the example of the character portrayals. The religious Hakim Sahab was obviously the bad guy. He was a bigot, he was angry, he was sexist, he was condescending. He was a bad father, a bad husband. He hooked up with a prostitute. He didn't keep his word. He was two-faced. But the pimp was a man of his words! He kept his word and OH! The cherry on top of the cake. The pimp who was so desperate for a girl child to flourish his business, let 4 beautiful young girls escape even when his deal with the Hakim Sahib went sour. Would a pimp really let these girls leave unscathed in a situation such as that? Watch the movie and then give me an answer.
How many hardliner mullahs have we seen in real life? How many of our brothers, sisters, doctors, teachers, etc. are like that? A true Muslim would never be hateful. A true Muslim would never be inhumane. A true Muslim would never be a bad father, a bad husband and he would definitely not be a murderer. Why, then, are Mullahs considered to be such a threat to us, eh? Why are religious people such a threat to our society when they don't even exist! This whole religious-man-bad-guy act is becoming a little too stale for my taste. If their only purpose was to highlight the wrongdoings of a CULTURE, then why bring religion in between? Islam is not the only religion that has hypocrites, so why show a practising Muslim to be a bigot? ALL THE TIME?!

Frolicking away on a motorbike with your boyfriend and going on dates is perfectly okay, but "Duaon ko pata nahi kya samajh liya hai humne".

Good going, Mansoor bro, good going *applauds*.

Or how about the time when they show the mother and sisters at the end doing well with their lives, but taking off their dupattas once they're well off. What is that about? Does not wear a dupatta liberate you in any way? You could be traditional or hold on to your morals but still be really successful.

Look, I'm not trying to be hateful here. But yes, I am knit-picking, if that's what you wanna call it, because the specifics are what the audiences generally remember, and what they take home. What is the general view of the pimp that we had? Even though his character was a bad man, the audience had a positive perception of him because he was a man of his word, he wasn't a hypocrite, he helped out the Hakim Sahib in his time of need when the Hakim was previously demeaning and disrespectful of the pimp. But with the Hakim, we had a bad image of him from the start. He was quick to get angry, he was abusive of his women, he was self-righteous and a bigot. Most of all, he was a murderer, and a maniac who's blood boiled at the sight of anything that was not acceptable to him. What image of the pimp and the Hakim do the following descriptions leave on your mind? Who's the good guy, who's the bad?

There were positive aspects of the movie as well, but the reason I'm concerning myself with the negatives is not because I'm a bitter old woman who likes to troll on good effort. NO. It's because I want to open people's eyes to how we are subtly manipulated by the media. We tend to question Hadiths and Qur'an more and find loopholes in it as compared to the media, which we accept without questioning.

The fact is that many people will take home what the movie is portraying, thinking it to be the correct thing Islamically as well. I've seen it happen. Not with one, but several people. Moreover, I'm a media student and I'm actually in the process of studying the effects of mass media as we speak, so it's not likely I'm completely clueless about these things.What I just want people to do is to watch the movie with an open mind. Be critical. If something seems doubtful, question it and seek the right answers.

In the end though, I would once again like to applaud the movie for truly matching up to the professional standards of thriving movie industries, and for addressing issues that need serious addressing in our society. Despite its shortcomings, Bol undoubtedly forces its audiences to think, which is the first and the most important step towards a positive change that we need in our society. It is important though, that while we think and learn from this movie, we mustn't abandon all our principles and morals that we hold on to, but seek the right answers and strengthen our characters to be the catalysts for a positive reaction in our society.