Mike Sees Our
By Rafiq Ebrahim
Glen Ellyn, IL
It was at Park Towers in Karachi
where I had gone with my wife who was on a shopping
spree, slashing the contents of my wallet mercilessly,
when I accidentally met Mike, an old buddy from
Chicago. After exchanging greetings and complaining
as to why one of us didn’t inform the other
about the visit to Karachi, we agreed on spending
a day together, in which I was to show him some
As such, the next day I went to meet him at the
hotel he was staying in. Coming out of his room,
he suggested a minibus ride, which I ruled out forcefully
because of my recent heart-jolting experiences in
one of the buses. Then he expressed a keen desire
to see one of our movies. I tried to discourage
him, but he was bent upon seeing one.
As such, we went to a cinema house which was exhibiting
what seemed to be a forceful movie with the title
somewhat like “A storm of love” if translated
in English. On a big billboard displayed outside,
the movie was described as an unforgettable saga
of love and sacrifice, a musical extravaganza. This
would be the right movie for Mike to see, I felt.
I bought the tickets and we took our seats amid
hardened cinemagoers, old and young women and children
of all ages who filled the auditorium to its capacity.
After a few commercials, the movie started with
a scene showing a well-built, rural young man looking
very depressed and disheveled, and shedding tears
in a hospital lobby.
“Why is the body-builder crying?” asked
“It seems he has been struck with a tragedy,
let’s wait and see,” I replied.
The guy suddenly bursts out into a song, employing
rigorous gestures with both hands. A doctor and
a couple of nurses, on seeing him, are visibly moved.
The doctor rubs his eyes to wipe off tears and the
nurses get hysteric. Another doctor, coming out
of his room and sensing that the guy has gone mad,
grabs his arm, takes him to an examination room,
inserts a needle in his arm and makes him relax.
This doctor seemed to be a psychiatrist. He begins
to probe into his unconscious, and the story of
the film starts in a flashback.
A typical village scene, with all its greeneries,
trees, plantations and birds chirping, appear on
the screen. A muscular, tall woman of about forty,
trying to look like a bashful maiden of seventeen,
was circling around a peepal tree with the hospital
guy chasing her. They start singing a duet, and
my friend Mike heaved a long audible sigh. A little
boy, sitting next to him, began to cry at the impact
of the sigh.
The guy, whose name happened to be Jameel, hugs
the heroine, whose name happened to be Jameela.
They promise to live and die together. After this
romantic scene, Jameel, with a happy tune on his
lips, goes home. At home he is confronted by a pugree-clad
chaudhry with a fierce moustache who looked like
Jameel’s father. The chaudhry, on seeing his
son coming back, shouts, employing his vocal chord
to the fullest.
“What does the dacoit want?” asked Mike.
“ He is not a dacoit. He is the hero’s
father and wants that his son should work in the
fields instead of fooling around with village girls
and singing songs,” I clarified.
“Oh, I see,” said Mike.
Now we see a village well. Jameela and other girls
– or rather matured women pretending to be
young girls –are seen fetching water. And
while doing that, they begin to dance and sing loudly.
“Are they doing some kind of workout to reduce
their unseemly fat?” asked Mike.
“This is supposed to be one of our popular
folk dances. Mike, you won’t be able to see
such a dance anywhere in our country. What we are
seeing is a filmy version of a dance.”
Another day dawns on the silver screen. Jameel peels
sugar cane with his strong, white teeth and goes
out in search of his girl. Suddenly, we hear a loud
bang of music and see Jameela with a lean and hungry-looking
guy. Jameel, hiding behind a tree, sees them together
.He gets a jolt, drops down on a plank of tree and
begins to sing a sad song.
Mike put a nut in his mouth and cracked it hard
making a few children sitting behind us laugh.
Disappointed in love, our hero marches back to his
home, and the accompanying background music conveys
the impression that a war has broken out and a soldier
is going to the front. Jameel gets himself closeted
in his room for days and days, doesn’t shave
or wash, grows long hair, smokes too many cigarettes,
consumes a large quantity of locally made liquor,
shouts and acts madly.
“Has he contacted Aids?” asked Mike,
“He is suffering
the pangs of disappointment in love,” I said.
Meanwhile, Jameela misses him and sends a messenger
to inquire about his condition. The messenger happens
to be the same lean and hungry-looking guy with
whom he had seen his girl some days back. “Villain!”
shouts Jameel. “I’ll teach you a lesson.”
He leaps forward – in slow motion. “I’ll
break your neck or arm or both,” he yells.
The messenger is taken aback. A fistfight follows
in which the messenger is badly hurt. He starts
crying and reveals that he is the one and only brother
of Jameela. Jameel gets the shock of his life. He
acts fast. He informs the heroine about the accident
over his cell (mobile) phone and takes the injured
brother to the nearest hospital on a horseback.
While the brother is being examined and treated
inside, Jameela comes to the clinic in tears. Both
now wait in the lounge in acute anxiety. A doctor
at last comes out, shakes his head and announces
that the guy’s arm is broken. Jameela begins
to cry aloud and then starts beating Jameel with
The flashback ends. The first scene appears again.
Mike got up and pleaded, “Let’s get
“But the actual movie has not even started.”
I said. “The saga is about to unfold; the
storm of love is about to unleash.”
“Never mind,” Mike said. “Please
Outside, in a nearby café over a cup of coffee
and long reflection, Mike said, “The movie
certainly had a message which I have been unable
to grasp, but one thing is sure, it is far away
“Most of the movies made here are purposely
unrealistic.” I said, trying to defend our
Lollywood. “People want to escape from reality
every now and then, because it is often harsh for
the masses. They generally don’t take drugs
or indulge in most Western vices. They just go to
“I see, “ said Mike, reflectively. “Your
movies are doing great service to the people!”