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After ban of 40 years, Pakistani film opens across India April 19, 2008

Posted by lollywoodhungama in Uncategorized.
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AFP/GETTY

An Indian couple look at the poster of the Pakistani film Khuda Kay Liye at a cinema in Delhi

It came from nowhere tobecome the most successful Pakistani film of all time. Bold, striking and widely acclaimed by critics and audiences alike, Khuda Kay Liye focuses on the lives of Muslims in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks and the Bush administration’s “war on terror”.

 

Now, it has become the first Pakistani film in more than four decades to go on full release at cinemas across its predominantly Hindu neighbour, India, receiving rapturous applause at its Indian premiere in Mumbai on Thursday.

The film, the Urdu title of which translates as “In the Name of God”, is the first film directed by Shoaib Mansoor, who has previously produced television shows and music in Pakistan.

Telling the story of two musician brothers from an affluent Pakistani family, Khuda Kay Liye highlights the different paths they chose for their lives and their subsequent experiences. One brother is taken in by the radical message of a hardline Muslim cleric while the other travels to Chicago to become a musician only to be arrested and tortured by the United States authorities.

“It’s been [a] long [time] that terrorism has been linked with Muslims and it has become synonymous with the community,” Mansoor, who also goes by the nickname ShoMan, told Reuters.

“It was high time that an answer to this was given to the West … That is the only reason that this film has mostly been made in English, to cater to the Western audiences.”

The Pakistani film industry, based in the city of Lahore and sometimes referred to as Lollywood, is smaller than its Indian counterpart, but it still produces a large number of movies. But since the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965, the two countries have officially banned each others’films, despite the fact that Bollywood movies and songs, pirated and easily available, are hugely popular in Pakistan. In recent years, however, with relations between the countries considerably improved, the authorities have made exceptions. In 2003, India permitted the Pakistani film Khamosh Pani – Silent Waters – on limited release while in 2006 Pakistan allowed three Indian films to be shown.

It is possible that the release of Khuda Kay Liye could clear the way for other such releases in India, which has the world’s third largest Muslim population.

Mansoor’s film has already faced considerable controversy. When it was released in Pakistan last summer, there was a backlash from some religious extremists who said it should be banned. Nevertheless, the film won the Silver Pyramid Award at last year’s Cairo International Festival.

When Khuda Kay Liye was released in Pakistan, Mansoor, said he had been driven to make the movie after a friend of his announced that he was giving up music because he had reached the conclusion that it was banned by the Koran. “I thought that the need of the hour was to study the whole mindset which gave birth to such wrong notions about Islam.”

He added: ” I have no doubt in my mind that instead of taking the present age 1400 years back, we have to bring Islam to the present age. The best service to Islam today is to make it applicable to modern day requirements.”

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