comscore

BOL Review: The film is flawed but worthy

Pakistani director Shoaib Mansoor made a stunning feature film debut in 2007 with the critical, commercial and musical success Khuda Ke Liye that also featured a standout cameo by our own Naseeruddin

BOL Review: The film is flawed but worthy

It highlights issues that are germane not just in Pakistan, but in many countries around the world

Pakistani director Shoaib Mansoor made a stunning feature film debut in 2007 with the critical, commercial and musical success Khuda Ke Liye that also featured a standout cameo by our own Naseeruddin Shah. While that film tackled the sensitive subject of religious extremism, Bol, his sophomore effort, looks at female emancipation in Pakistan. Bol suffers from some over the top acting, lacklustre music and some serious logic holes, yet the film is admirable because it highlights issues that are germane not just in Pakistan, but in many countries around the world.

Manzar Sehbai plays an aristocratic Hakeem fallen on hard times who lives in a crumbling house in Lahore. His quest is to have a son. Unfortunately for his wife, she gives birth to seven daughters. The eighth child is a hermaphrodite who the Hakeem wants to kill at birth but is prevented by his wife from doing so. His eldest daughter Zainub (Humaima Malick) returns home after a failed marriage and father and daughter disagree violently on a variety of issues ranging from the religious to the ideological. The film’s story is told from the point of view of Zainab from the gallows ahead of her execution for a murder.

The character of the Hakeem was offered to Naseeruddin Shah who had to turn it down due to lack of dates. As interpreted by Sehbai, the well-written and nuanced character has been reduced to a caricature whose constant shouting and harrumphing do not do justice to the depths of the troubled Hakeem. Humaima Khan, as the film’s mouthpiece against injustice to the eunuch, the girl child and womankind, invests her role with dignity. However, there are too many repetitive arguments between Zainub and the Hakeem about interpretations of the holy book. But one such argument is quite humorous. While following a cricket match on the radio, the Hakeem asks his family to pray for Pakistan’s victory. Zainub retorts that God is not responsible for Sachin’s or Inzamam’s scores. Pakistan loses.

Logically, for a film that is supposedly rooted in burning issues, the script has holes that you can drive a truck through. For example, when the decision is taken to send the plump, fair hermaphrodite teenager (who has led a cloistered existence not having stepped out of home since birth) out to work, it is to a truckers’ stop. The teen gets gang raped pretty soon. Also, Zainub, who’s on trial for murder, decides to tell her story to the media only from the gallows, discarding the chances allowed to her to speak in court. Perhaps this is Mansoor’s commentary on Pakistan’s judiciary.

The many flaws are pardonable since Bol, apart from the issues it raises, provides a window into Lahore, a city rarely seen on screen by Indians. From the teeming brothels of the notorious Heera Mandi to the maze-like old city, Mansoor covers it all. Viewers will also be pleased to see popular pop star Atif Aslam in an acting role and the pulchritudinous model and actor Eman Ali as a Meena Kumari-obsessed courtesan. Mansoor leaves the viewer with a question: If murder is a crime, why isn’t creating a new life if you cannot feed her also one?

LIKE US. FOLLOW US. STAY CONNECTED.
Facebook
Twitter
Google +
Youtube

Latest from News & Gossip

Twitterati angry with Salman Khan’s acquittal in the blackbuck poaching case - check out tweets!
Twitterati angry with Salman Khan’s acquittal in the blackbuck poaching case - check out tweets!
What does Katrina Kaif have to say about friendships in Bollywood?
What does Katrina Kaif have to say about friendships in Bollywood?
Kuch Rang Pyar Ke Aise Bhi: Dev falls ill and Ishwari forbids Sona from visiting him
Kuch Rang Pyar Ke Aise Bhi: Dev falls ill and Ishwari forbids Sona from visiting him
View More

Latest Videos

Baar Baar Dekho song Kala Chashma teaser: Katrina Kaif and Sidharth Malhotra's SWAG act plays homage to MJ and Chikni Chameli!
Baar Baar Dekho song Kala Chashma teaser: Katrina Kaif and Sidharth Malhotra's SWAG act plays homage to MJ and Chikni Chameli!
Justice League trailer: Batman, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Cyborg together make your geeky dreams come true!
Justice League trailer: Batman, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Cyborg together make your geeky dreams come true!
John Abraham shows us the bad ass side of Rohit Dhawan on the sets of Dishoom - watch video!
John Abraham shows us the bad ass side of Rohit Dhawan on the sets of Dishoom - watch video!
View More

Latest Photo Galleries

TV actress Anita Hassanandani shares super romantic pics with husband Rohit Reddy from Maldives!
Marriage bells for Emotional Attyachaar’s Pravesh Rana, meet his to-be-wife Scarlett Mellish Wilson here!
This is how Salman Khan’s alleged girlfriend Iulia Vantur celebrated her birthday in India!
View More