Movie Review: The Reluctant Fundamentalist
A 9/11 Story from the Pakistani Perspective
By Ras Hafiz Siddiqui
Every once in a while a story comes along which is needed to be told from another perspective. Pakistani writer Mohsin Hamid’s novel The Reluctant Fundamentalist was one such post-9/11 tale. Published in the year 2007, it made its appearance on the American literary scene and earned him recognition here. Little did we envision at the time that his fictional story would be re-told through a film that Indian director Mira Nair would direct.
Mira’s past work has already brought her much critical acclaim with successes like Salaam Bombay, Mississippi Masala, Monsoon Wedding and The Namesake, to name a few. One day we will have to ask her why she chose The Reluctant Fundamentalist to make a film (we just missed her as she flew to India for the 25 th anniversary of Salaam Bombay and other events). Our deadline intervenes so that answer will have to wait for a future writing.
The story by Mohsin Hamid here is a complex one, certainly quite a challenge which Mira took on and overcame. But let us first hear from Mohsin (MH) since we were able to catch up with him for this review. He has recently been on the road so to speak promoting his latest novel "How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia" and responded to my (RHS) questions below:
RHS: How does it feel to see your book story converted into a movie?
MH: It's exciting and strange. Movies and books are very different things. So for me the main thing was to pick a film-maker I respected and allow her to make her own film, without trying to insist on complete fidelity, which is impossible.
RHS: Do you think that releasing The Reluctant Fundamentalist more than 11 years after 9/11 will be of benefit, helping in the healing process between cultures or is that too ambitious a goal to strive for at this point?
MH: I don't know. But I do think it is different from almost every other film that has come out in America related to 9/11. This one has a Pakistani protagonist, so it looks out the other end of the telescope, so to speak. I think that's very important.
RHS: How was it working with Mira Nair on this project?
MH: It's been wonderful. Mira is brilliant and generous. She has also become a good friend. She is a very special director and human being.
Without too many “spoiler alerts” we now move on to the movie itself, one which Mira Nair has handled with a keen eye. It starts off in Lahore with the haunting vocal/spiritual number “Kangana” sung by Fareed Ayaz Qawwal. But during this enriching musical experience a kidnapping of an American “educator” takes place. Subsequently a grainy video about the hostage is delivered to the press. The Asal Mujahideen terrorist cell is the entity responsible, one which is active at a Lahore University campus where Changez Khan (Riz Ahmed) is a teacher of radical (left wing) ideas and becomes “a person of interest” in this kidnapping (Yes, it appears that one can become a person of interest even while living in Lahore).
America is extremely resourceful, and its penetration into the Pakistani political and security landscape is shown to be extensive. We are introduced to Bobby Lincoln (Liev Schreiber) an American media man/writer of articles who knows Urdu and interviews Changez at a tea house looking for information on the kidnapping. The place is buzzing with Pakistani security personnel. “Police become very animated when it is an American who has been kidnapped,” says Changez.
The Reluctant Fundamentalist has two major characters, the prime focus of this story is the interaction between Changez the Pakistani and Bobby the American, and neither of them are what they appear to be. This interview is about a news story but in reality it is much more. Bobby is representing a super power and Changez is a basically powerless man (his only support appears to be his students) who only has his keen intelligence to defend himself and his family. Changez agrees to the interview (he really has no other choice) with Bobby but on one condition that he listen to his whole story not just bits and pieces of it.
Changez comes from an educated Lahori (old money but broke) family which is struggling to keep up with its newly rich upstart neighbors. His dad Abu (Om Puri) is a poet and Ammi (Shabana Azmi) who is dealing with their reality the best way she can. His high maintenance sister Bina (Meesha Shafi) dreams about going to America so that she can have a loft in Soho, a weekend in the Hamptons and a pair of fake American assets. ‘God Bless America,” she says. Changez who has gained admission to prestigious Princeton University later adds, “God bless America indeed. God bless its level playing fields. God bless winning.”
America provides an opportunity for Changez to bring back financial security to his family. He is certainly bright and gifted. Nearing graduation, while being interviewed for a job by his future mentor Jim (Kiefer Sutherland) representing Underwood Samson & Company a Wall Street valuation firm he is asked why he came to America? “In America, I get an equal chance to win,” says Changez.
Changez joins and becomes a rising star at Underwood Samson and finds this success by being ruthlessly efficient. He also meets his love interest Erica (Kate Hudson) a young photographer still grieving about a love she has lost. Changez and Erica become an item. Things are going great till Jim and Changez go to the Philippines on a company assignment where Changez once again shows his magic for saving corporations money by drastically reducing their work force. It is on television in a Manila hotel room that Changez sees the Twin Towers fall on 9/11/2001 and it is from there that his American dream starts to unravel.
At the airport on his return to America he shows his Pakistani passport, is separated from his coworkers, asked to strip and is cavity searched. In many drastic ways (and some subtle ones) the America that Changez came to find success and refuge in has changed, and that change transforms him too slowly but surely. Changez, the once open-minded clean shaven (drinking) progressive starts growing a beard and the rest is the story of The Reluctant Fundamentalist.
The perpetrators of 9/11 killed many innocent people. But the results of their actions also caused misery for countless others worldwide. The war on terror (WOT) is indeed deep and dark in this story and Mira Nair has handled it with the focus and care that it deserves. This is film-making at its best (flaws and all). Imagine that the city of Lahore has almost lost its usual vibrancy and color in this movie (although Istanbul thankfully fares better). The American corporate world is equally colorless and only interested in the bottom line. Guilt and innocence is exposed here. And in the end the increasing trust deficit between countries and cultures is questioned.
This film will encounter many critics on both sides of the divide created by 9/11. But let us hope that besides South Asians and Muslims, more people from mainstream America will take the time to go and see The Reluctant Fundamentalist. It is worth watching especially if one really wants to know what life is like from the perspective of someone in the crosshairs of America’s security establishment.
(The Reluctant Fundamentalist is slated for a late April-early May release here in the US. It contains some violence, Punjabi-Urdu-English profanity and some sexual situations.)
Picture of Mohsin Hamid by Jillian Edelstein
Picture of Changez and Bobby Lincoln talking at tea house by Ishaan Nair. Copyright Reluctant Films II, Inc.
Picture of Mira Nair and Liev Schreiber on set by Ishaan Nair. Copyright Reluctant Films II, Inc.
Picture of Changez and Jim Cross by Ishaan Nair. Copyright Reluctant Films II, Inc.
Picture: Changez takes Erica by the hand. Photo by Quantrell Colbert. Copyright Reluctant Films II, Inc.
Dilip Kumar: The Star of a Bygone Era
By Dr Asif Javed
Way back in the 40’s, a producer approached DK--then a struggling actor--and offered the lead role in one of his stunt movies. DK was tempted: the money was very good and he was hard pressed financially so much so that he had asked his studio for a loan. There was one problem, however: stunt movies were considered C-grade stuff; Having thought it over, DK declined the role. Many years later, when he was making Koh-i-Noor, he found out about a scene that required him to play sitar in a song sequence. Naushad suggested that Ustad Jafar Khan would play sitar in the scene while the camera would focus on his fingers and the audience will not know. DK did not like that and instead spent months training himself on Sitar. When the day came for shooting, he was ready to play sitar. “Jadoogar Qatil” is the song that can be seen on you tube by those who wish to confirm this. So there you have it; DK knew early on how to be selective and had an unmatched dedication to his work.
Yousaf Khan who was born in a conservative Pathan family in Peshawar, was forced to move to Bombay because his older brother fell from a horse and sustained a serious back injury. It so happened that the nearest back specialist available was in Bombay, so the whole family moved on to Bombay. As luck would have it, Ashok Kumar, the established star of Bombay Talkies, was about to leave the studio and Devka Rani, the owner was desperately looking for his replacement. Unbeknownst to his conservative father, Yousaf interviewed. It is not known exactly what impressed Devka Rani about the shy lad but he was hired. She chose his filmi name Dilip Kumar in preference to Jahangir and Vasudev. DK’s journey had begun and what a ride it has been! The horse in Peshawar as well as Devika Rani deserve our gratitude for their role in making DK out of Yousaf Khan.
DK did not become a sensation overnight; he passed through a painful phase of successive flops. Film India, the leading film journal of the time almost gave up on him, calling him “an anemic addition to the actors whose acting effort was nil” in Jawar Bhata, his first movie. DK was not a born actor, as he has admitted on occasions. But he had something even better: a burning desire to excel. Over the years, he was to hone his craft by painstakingly studying the leading Hollywood stars—Paul Muni, Spencer Tracy, Henry Fonda, John Gielgud, James Stewart and Marlon Brando. Brando was a proponent of the method school of acting and DK seems to have acquired it too. DK became a colossus with his relentless pursuit for excellence. His attention to detail is legendary: for Ganga Jumna, his own production that was based upon a dacoit storey from UP, the dialogues were written in the local Purabi dialect at Naushad’s suggestion who came from the area. It took almost a super human effort to get the cast that included South Indian Vajantimala, deliver the lines in the local accent. Those who have seen Ganga Jumna, today best remember it for the dialogues.
DK was soon to become synonymous with the tragic roles. Mehboob Khan’s Andaz started this trend that continued well in to the early 60’s. In that period, the tragedy king gave his admirer’s Deedar, Sangdil, Devdaas and Ganga Jamna among others. As time wore on, he started to move away from the tragic roles at the advice of his psychiatrist and began to accept lighter roles, the examples being Azad, Koh-i-Noor and Leader. The staff at Bombay Talkies were encouraged to read. The studio had a well stalked library. Over the years, DK became fond of English classics, particularly the writings of Bronte sisters; he has done four movies based upon their novels—Sangdil, Arzoo, Helchel and dil diya dard liya; it is sad that none of these did well at the box office but that may be a reflection of the taste of audience than of the movies.
Over his long and distinguished career, DK has worked with most of the leading ladies of his time. Guess who impressed him the most? It wasn’t Nargis or Madhubala; it wasn’t the tragedy queen Meena Kumari either; it was Nalini Jayawant. He did only two movies with her: Shikast and Anokha Pyar; years later, he would remember her as, “punctuality personified who would bring extra warmth to her performance and would be extraordinary even in her first rehearsal.” When asked as to who does he consider his mentor, DK did not name Mehboob who had catapulted him to stardom with Aan and Andaz or Bimal Roy who directed him in Devdaas---that heart wrenching saga of the doomed love that many consider to be his finest role; Daleep instead named Nitin Bose who had directed him in Milan, Deedar and GangaJumna.
A question is often asked as to which of his roles was the best one. Many will point to Devdas and Ganga Jumna being ones that defined him. DK himself has never answered this question. The consummate artist in him is perhaps too proud to choose one among many.
DK had the reputation of being choosy about his roles. He took his time before making a commitment. Whereas, he generally made the right decision, there were roles that he turned down that with the benefit of hindsight, he should have accepted. His biographer Sanjit Narwekar reports that back in the early 60’s, DK was approached by David Lean and offered the role of Sharif Ali in his epic Lawrence of Arabia; DK asked for the lead for which the Irish actor Peter-o-Toole was already signed up. Besides, the role required a Caucasian. David Lean politely refused but may have wondered about the audacity of this Indian actor. The same role was then offered to Omar Sharif who accepted it. We are told that DK turned down Baju Bawra (given to Bharat Bhushan), Mother India(given to Sunil Dutt), Piyasa—a cult classic that ranks the highest, among all Indian movies, on the internet (done by Guru Dutt himself, a role tailor made for DK).
His admirers include Amitabh Bachan who says that had DK been in Hollywood, he would surely have collected multiple Oscars. Shah Rukh Khan calls DK his ideal. But perhaps the best tribute to DK has come from Manoj Kumar. Manoj who had often been accused of being an imitator of DK said, “Tell me which actor in the last forty years has the guts to keep his hand on his heart and say that he has not imitated or tried to imitate DK.”
Despite being reserved and very private person, DK has not been spared the gossip and scandals that is almost a job hazard in the movie industry. In the 50’s he had a well publicized love affair with Madhubala; her inability to choose between her stubborn father and DK ended it on a sour note. Before that, Kamni Kaushal, one of his early heroines, was ready to leave her husband for him. Well educated Kamini Kaushal, a graduate of Kinnaird College, Lahore and the daughter of the Dean of Punjab University. She was only dissuaded by Ismat Chughtai whose husband Shahid Latif was making Arzoo with Dilip and Kamini Kaushal at the time. Dilip remained single until 43 and then suddenly married Saira Bano. People were aghast: SB was considered a B-class actress, almost 20 years younger and had an ongoing affair with already married Rajinder Kumar. Besides, she had done some roles considered quite offensive for those times. She was the daughter of Naseem Bano, herself an actress from the early 40’s. Naseem’s mother had been a well known courtesan. Manto has written a sketch of Naseem Bano in his mater piece Gajay Farishtay. DK’s marriage with Saira Bano has survived although there was that bizarre Asma Begum incident in the early 80’s that did strain it. Asma was a divorced socialite from Hyderabad whom DK had married in secret. His repeated denials of second marriage were swept away when Nikahnama was published in news papers. The episode did tarnish DK’s image somewhat. Asma was eventually divorced. Dilip moved on and today, the episode is almost forgotten.
DK naturally had his detractors too. Industry insiders have known for years that DK has a habit of changing the script to enhance his role at the cost of others. Sanjeev Kumar who worked with DK in Sungarsh was very vocal about this. Mahbook Khan refused to change Mother India’s script for DK’s role; DK was not thrilled but Mahboob refused to budge and gave the role to Sunil Dutt. AR Kardar, one of the senior and highly respected directors, always blamed DK for changing the script of Dil diya dard liya so much that the movie bombed. Kardar pointed finger at DK for the disaster that effectively ruined him. “DK was my Waterloo. He has never given happiness to anyone. He has always made life difficult for filmmakers”, Kardar said once.
DK had a fair share of tribulations in his career: his one attempt at production, Ganga Jumna was stuck with censor board for almost a year. There were whispers that this was done to allow Raj Kapoor’s Jis desh mein Ganga bahti hey a free run in the market. DK had to go all the way to PM Nehru. Nehru saw the movie, liked it and cleared it. The episode so embittered DK that he vowed never to produce a movie again. He has been accused of being a Pak spy too and had to endure the indignity of a police raid on his house that came to nothing. His visit to Pakistan in the 80’s and acceptance of Nishan-i-Imtiaz created a furor in India. Undeterred through all that, DK has stood tall with poise and class of his own.
The recent death of Dev Anand leaves DK the sole survivor of the famous triumvirate—Raj Kapoor having died many years ago—that ruled the box office from mid-forties through late- sixties. Nowadays, he lives quietly at Pali Hill, Bombay, leading a retired life. Years ago, there was a brief foray in politics as member of Rajia Sabah. The crowds of admirers are long gone as are the producers who were only too willing to pay him exorbitant amounts for roles he would usually decline. Like a lion in winter, he is quiet and slowly fading away. We are told he will celebrate his 90th birthday soon. From a fan of his who lives far away in North America, I say, happy birthday to the ever young hero of our rapidly diminishing generation.
Duke of Wellington once said that he regretted not having thanked those who served him so well. On behalf of thousands of DK’s admirers who are scattered across seven seas, this writer therefore says, thank you Dilip Sahib for the happiness, excitement and the tears that you brought to our eyes. Despite your flaws, you have been and will always be remembered as truly one of a kind. You are the king, as late Khalid Hasan once described you.
(The writer is a physician based in Williamsport, PA and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org )
Mehdi Hassan Has Left a Rich Legacy of Poetic Anguish
By Ras H. Siddiqui
Mehdi Hassan, one of the finest ghazal singers that South Asia has produced, passed away in Karachi, Pakistan on June 13, 2012 at the age of 84. It has been reported that he had suffered a stroke over a decade ago and had been struggling with his health ever since, dealing with a number of related problems and trying to pay for his medical bills. He had not been singing for a long time, his last reported effort being a duet with Lata Mangeshkar in poet Farhat Shahzad’s “Tera Milna Bahot Accha Lage Hai” in the Sarhadain” (Borders) album. Both Hassan Sahib and Lata Ji recorded their segments of the song separately which were later merged or blended together to produce this historic song.
Mehdi Hassan Khan was born in 1927 in Luna, Rajasthan, located in Jhunjhunu District bordering Haryana. Rajasthan is well known for handicrafts, forts, palaces and havelis (large dwellings of the rich) and somehow as a place of birth of geniuses and great ghazal singers no less. It is interesting to note that we have now lost not one but two of the giants of ghazal singing within a year (the other being Jagjit Singh). And they were both born in Rajasthan where the native language is not even Urdu or Hindi. Maybe some kind of scientific study is needed of the soil of the area to determine why it has produced such fine singers although this writer credits that feat to the presence of Ajmer Sharif and its Sufi shrine located near the center of the state.
There were two singing visits by Mehdi Hassan to the San Francisco Bay area during the closing period of the last century which this scribe attended. The first was when he was still quite mobile and singing not only in Urdu and Punjabi but also in Dari (Persian spoken in Afghanistan). At this venue it came as a surprise to me that he had a large following amongst the Afghan Diaspora. Before that show I was only used to sharing his songs with Indian and Pakistani fans (and with a few Nepalese and Bangladeshis). I was told at the show that he used to sing for former Afghan King Zahir Shah at the monarch’s invitation. The second time Mehdi Hassan performed here, he was physically helped on to the stage so we knew that something was seriously wrong. If memory serves me right he started off with a beautiful rendition of Farhat Shahzad’s “Tanha Tanha Mat Socha Kar” (Don’t think too much while alone). He came to the stage very late that night and left after singing just a handful of songs to our disappointment.
For the masters and connoisseurs of the Urdu language, its written poetry is all inspiring. But for many of us, who do not have a good grasp of the nuances of its script, we have had to depend on the singers of India and Pakistan to keep us connected to our most cherished emotions. The ghazal is the ultimate expression of this emotion. Amongst others, the late Mehdi Hassan and Jagjit Singh have done wonders for us in understanding this art form. On the musical side, we who do not understand the difference between a Raag and a Thumri also have to thank them for making it all appear simple.
Young Mehdi was once working in a bicycle repair shop in Pakistan when his family migrated there after the 1947 partition of British India. Belonging to a family of musicians from the Kalawant clan of which he was the 16 th generation, he refused to give up singing and took Radio Pakistan by storm during the 1950’s. Poet Faiz Ahmad Faiz’s “Gulon Mein Rang Bharay” (The Fill of Colors in Flowers) did additional wonders for Mehdi Hassan’s singing career and for Faiz Sahib’s mass appeal when it was included in the film Farangi in 1964. He became the most significant male playback singer for the once thriving Pakistani movie industry along with Ahmad Rushdie (who died very young) and Masood Rana during the 1960’s and early 70’s. He returned to live classical singing after that as the industry started declining. But while it lasted, Mehdi Hassan’s voice became associated with the faces of lead actors Mohammad Ali, Waheed Murad and Nadeem. The 1969 film Zarqa which celebrated its Diamond Jubilee in Karachi was a crowning achievement for him. The peak years for his many movie songs were during the 1970’s. Hassan Sahib’s duet with Madam Noor Jehan for the 1970 movie Insaan Aur Aadmi “Tu jahan kahin bhi Jaye, Mera piyar yaad rakhna” certainly enhanced one of the finest Mohammad Ali and Zeba films pairs. His last big movie hit was “Aaj tu ghair sahi” for Nadeem in the film Dehleez in 1983, one in which (now Bangladeshi actress) Shabnam was Nadeem’s love interest during the song.
The fact that Mehdi Hassan had a huge fan following in India cannot be understated. From Lata Ji, Dilip Kumar and a host of others connected to Bollywood, many have acknowledged his passing. Some leading personalities from India have already visited his grave in Karachi and many condolences have accompanied the news of his death from across the border. A statement from the Indian Prime Minister’s office was also reported on this sad occasion. Many ordinary Indian fans also posted their feelings on various websites. Thus the “King of Ghazals” was mourned in death by fans irrespective of borders.
Faiz Sahib has already been mentioned as has the work of Farhat Shahzad, both given a bigger musical following with Mehdi Hassan’s singing of their work. From Ghalib, Mir Taqi Mir (“Patta patta boota boota…”), other more contemporary poets were featured including Parveen Shakir whose “Kubaku Phail Gayi..” will be long remembered. But there was one poet in particular who stood out in Mehdi Sahib’s work and that was Ahmed Faraz. From “Shola tha jal bujha hoon” (which today could apply to Mehdi Hassan himself, or its author Ahmed Faraz or possibly to its original subject Zulfikar Ali Bhutto) to “Ab kay hum bichray to shaayid, kabhi khaboon mein milain,” to the unparalleled masterpiece “Ranjish hi Sahi..,” also composed by Mehdi Sahib himself, which was in this scribe’s opinion his crowning achievement.
Others will have their own favorite songs by the King of Ghazals, but the master stood out with his rendition of this particular number. Nobody has expressed the pain in the lines of love written by Faraz and captured in the word “Ranjish” (Anguish) better than Mehdi Hassan. His own struggle has ended, may his soul now rest in peace with God.
“Bol” Is a Very Bold Movie
By Ras H. Siddiqui
What used to be true about film entertainment originating from South Asia, especially Pakistan, was that it sure took its sweet time while reaching California. We were usually the last to catch up (unless it was available online) but still remained no less appreciative or critical than the people say in New York, London and Dubai. This time however, Shoaib Mansoor’s movie “Bol” was released throughout the US and Canada around the same time. But not too many reviews have surfaced, here, possibly because of the seriousness of the film and its grim subject matter. Is it because members of the Diaspora in North America try to ignore our grim social realities and just prefer more entertaining films? The answer to that may be a qualified “yes” but reminders like “Slumdog Millionaire” from last year just cannot be ignored. And in the same vein neither can one ignore “Bol” (Speak or more accurately Speak Out) because rarely does such a bold film originate from Pakistan.
My wife and I were the only two people seated in the theatre in the Sacramento, California suburb of Elk Grove to see this film so we can even boast of a “private showing”. Salman Khan’s latest film “Bodyguard” was playing next door and the number of people coming out of there was far larger than the two of us. But if one can make such a statement, it is that “Bol” is a more realistic movie and thus has had fewer people viewing it! And this is not another attempt to incite India-Pakistan tensions. “Bodyguard” is surely far more entertaining and Bollywood trumps Lollywood in quality films anytime. But watching “Bol” was an “experience” and not necessarily an entertaining one, even though singer Atif Aslam’s character Mustafa did try to add that aspect to the formula through his music and somewhat romantic pursuit of Ayesha (Mahira Khan).
Before going any further there are two advisories. First, please do not take your kids to see “Bol’ because the movie is just too intense for them. And second, if you are from the conservative mindset, “Bol” will generate many difficult questions. After having seen it now, in my opinion this movie is not anti-religion. But it sure makes a very disturbing statement against societal and religious hypocrisy. In other words this movie has taken the cloak (and clothes) off many segments of current Pakistani society and parts of it will make the viewer quite uncomfortable.
The movie starts with the sad face of Zainub (Humaima Malick) who has been sentenced to death for murder. Her mercy appeal is rejected callously by the President but her unusual request to speak to the media just before her execution is approved. This is Zainub’s story and that of her father Hakeem Shafa’atulah Khan (Manzar Sehbai) and his diminishing financial fortunes and increasing family size entirely made up of girls. That till a “son” is born of questionable gender. Unfortunately, Saifullah Khan or Saifi’s (played by Sagar and by Amr Kashmiri) birth is hailed only by the local transvestite (Heejra) community. It enrages his father the Hakeem, to the point that he wants to kill him. But the many women in the Khan household protect him and never allow him to leave the house so that the family “shame” remains hidden.
But how long can a family protect Saifi, a gifted artist, from the cruel world? He is finally taken out, helped by his artistic touch, and paints trucks to make some money for his now struggling family. He is also raped there. His father is enraged and conducts an “honor killing” to hide his shame which Zainub witnesses but cannot prevent.
In translation “Yes it’s true that I am a murderer, but a criminal I am not,” aptly describes Zainub’s character as she continues with her story told from the scaffold in front of the media (per her last wish). Zainub and her father the Hakeem are the two main characters on whom the story focuses. Humaima Malick’s acting is good but that of Manzar Sehbai as the father who we come to hate in this film is superb. Two others that stand out are Shafqat Cheema as the pimp Sahka Kunjar from Lahore’s “Heera Mandi” and last but not least the stunning Iman Ali as the courtesan Meena in a role that leaves one speechless.
If one is not from amongst the Urdu-Hindi-Punjabi speaking realm, the nuances built into the “Bol” script will not be easy to pick up. The story as written is good but the symbolism which the Urdu language is famous for is plentiful here and that makes it memorable. If “Bol” just had to have another name, it would be “Bold” in English. Shoaib Mansoor has really pushed the envelope here.
This movie is not a masterpiece of direction and the sets and cinematography, although adequate, could have been better. But “Bol’ in my opinion is the best movie to come out of Pakistan since Sabiha Sumar’s Partition film “Khamosh Pani” (Silent Waters). It is also perfectly timed for silent Pakistanis worldwide to speak out, denounce injustice and violence especially against women and minorities there. Speak up before it is too late.
Looking back, there was a time when some of us predicted that Slumdog Millionaire was heading to the Oscars and were somewhat ridiculed. Although “Bol” cannot be a contender for best picture, one should not be surprised if it is considered for the “Best Foreign Film” category. It certainly deserves such recognition.
There is no doubt that this is a very grim movie. Some of the worst aspects of Pakistani society are exposed in it. Hypocrisy rules the roost but the message that comes out is that claiming helplessness is no longer an option. Fair minded Pakistanis, women and minorities need to fight back and raise their voice.
To conclude, some people were not happy that I circulated information about how to see this movie to them. I have to admit that we were as shaken as they were as we were after watching it. But like Saifi and his questionable gender, the truth cannot be hidden forever. “Bol” may not be too entertaining but watching it is certainly a learning experience.
(Photographs courtesy of Geo TV-Films)
Humaima Malik in Bigg Boss 5?
MUMBAI: There is a strong buzz that the Pakistani actress Humaima Malik might appear as a contestant in Indian TV reality show Bigg Boss 5.
Colombian pop star Shakira and the movie ‘Kites’ fame, Mexican actress Barbara Mori have also been approached for Bigg Boss 5.
Other names that are doing the rounds for Bigg Boss 5 are: TV actress Parul Chauhan of ‘Bidai’ fame, the small-screen’s famous doctor Dr Armaan aka Karan Singh Grover, the sexy Riya Sen, singer Jay Sean and actress Mink Brar.
It’s said that the serial killer Charles Sobhraj’s wife Nihita Biswas and former cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu have confirmed their participation in the fifth season of Bigg Boss.
Tyson is expected to visit India between October and December to shoot for the fifth season, which airs in October, reports a daily. This time the show is going to be really big as Salman Khan and Sanjay Dutt both are the hosts of the show.
Pop singer Ali Zafar is riding the wave of fortune.
He has already made it big in Bollywood (as his second film as an actor alongside Imran Khan and Katrina Kaif is about to be released) and is now looking further ahead not very far though.
Ali Z has now signed a film titled London, Paris, New York. Aditi Rao plays his love interest in the movie, which is directed by Anu Menon. The film is being produced under the banner of Hollywood's Fox Star Studios.
It's a story of two diametrically opposed individuals (Ali Z and Aditi R) attracted to each other.
They meet for one night in three different cities. This may sound a hackneyed tale of sorts, but the makers of the project claim that it's treated differently.
Whether Ali Z is going to sing for the film, is not yet known. It'd be better if he concentrated on acting.