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Yet another Musical T-Error Plot May 3, 2008

Posted by lollywoodhungama in Uncategorized.
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REVIEW BY ALTAF KHAN

Thought provoking, debatable, stylistic, compelling and simply praiseworthy. These are some of the attributes being paid to Khuda Kay Liye, the first Lollywood film released in India. There are those critics as well who have accredited the film to be a conflict between the extremism and moderation or may we say enlightened moderation. As the film deals with the post 9/11 scenario in Pakistan and the Pakistani Diaspora in the west. Many critiques have even gone on to argue it to be the film harboring on beaten tracks of CNN and FOX. Albeit there is little room for argument about the fact that to Director Shoaib Mansoor’s credit the film has touched the untouched contours in the aftermath of 9/11 where Pakistan and Pakistani people has had to suffer the repercussions.

 Nonetheless, as a viewer one gets the semblance that a K2 peak is being out of a musical mole hill showing the too much harped about horrendous characters stereotypical of talibanis and Pakistani tribals in the war against US and allied forces. Apropos the love affair of Mary (Iman Ali) with the white British guy (Dale).The director has given an inverse projection to Namaste London with Hello London kind of theme. This time around the British guy has been cast too innocent and loyal beau of Mary emulating Hindustani (bolly/lolly) hero by dandling around campuses and parks. After a long time one has seen a Londoner having too much patience to stick to one girl friend. Irony of a moderate Muslim protagonist Mansoor (Shan) deficient of responding to the disbelief of the interrogator in the American prison, of interpreting the Arabic verses in the bead. Again a hyperbole, even many Christians can’t interpret what they recite during hymns in the English version of bible.

The eldest son of the Pakistani family is shown winning the accolades for his Pakistani musical performances in the music school in the US. The younger one Sarmad (Fawad) turning brute once he calls the day in music for the surrender before “extremism”, Mary finds his pop singing cousins quite admirable while watching them on television and siblings arguing over the music. So the film in the guise of championing the cause of moderate Pakistanis is justifying pop culture. And the justification comes from Maulana Wali (Naseer-ud-Din Shah)who gives religious justification for music which ironically here is western. Agreed, western or eastern is hardly a categorization in the world order we live in where everything finds a fusion, it would have been interesting had the curt Writer/Director played a pop song where Maulana Wali gets ready for his prayer rather than a old hindi number, as the parallel plot harps on Pakistani pop music.Maulana Wali’s quotation in support of music is excellent but with regard to which music, Maulana Tahiri has been left dumbfounded for the words, and one has to say balance is tilted against radicals all along. Maulana Tahiri the urdu speaking cleric with Pashtun accent speaks too many paradoxes. In one breath he praises Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan for being Pakistani answer to American musician and in another breath he gives the fatwa, “he will have to suffer hereafter.”

The radicals are a straight arrow and not as paradoxical as disguised. On the question music being allowed or forbidden in Pakistani society again it is an exaggeration of a real life fate of a famous Pakistani pop singer may neither be labeled a misled extremist nor a macho moderate for he is just a dayee (One who invites to Islam). Again the writer is himself lost in the complexity of his own simplified plot if bearded may not always be the wrongdoers why does he portray in the very outset the bearded hooligans smashing everything during the gala musical event. Stereotypical of Sunny Deol starrer characters in which villains in the battlefield are almost always bearded who know only one language that is inflicting disaster. Next time a Pakistani bearded moderate goes to west he may be taken for just another Sher Shah who gives up art for putting everything on fire. Sher Shah the mate of Sarmad leaves him to perish at the hands of another fellow Taliban, a time and tested jingoist bollywood mantra.

The issue of women rights in Pakistan is thought provoking and through Mary some meaningful questions have been asked. The climax is just what has saved the day for the director as the conflict between extremism and moderation could not have been projected in a better way than by making the characters recite the azan together. However, making a big statement by showing Sarmad reciting the verses khushilham as one would prefer to say and besura in context of radical Pakistani muslim could have been done away with. So all in all just another musical t-error plot where radicals are shown in the dark devastating everything and moderates justifying their pop hop culture.
(Altaf Khan can be mailed at enalten@gmail.com)

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