Sunday, April 06, 2008

In the name of God

Khuda Key Liye [In the name of God] is the first Pakistani film to be screened in India in ages. I’m so glad to see the offed cultural exchange betwixt the two countries finally taking place. Pakistani movies, as much as their soulful music, have started to blossom. I understand the fruits of labor from our naughty neighbor may not be as ripened as India’s but they are damn good. In the name of God is at once contemporary, provoking and eye popping.

The film’s USP is its topical, riveting storyline. The movies’ music is timeless. Shoiab Mansoor is a talented film-maker and he has researched his movie very well. No wonder the film has gone on to win many prestigious awards, including the award for best picture at the 31st Cairo International Film Festival, and became the highest grossing film of Pakistan of all time.

There is powerhouse performance by the dashing Pakistani duo of Shaan and Fawad. Iman is dazzlingly beautiful. Though there are occasional technical glitches – which you don’t notice in Indian A-list movies – Khuda Key Liye leaves you gently impressed. The script is multi- pronged but interconnected. It talks about the rise of modern day fanaticism and the role of vicious Mullah’s in abetting it. The film subtly revolves round the place of woman in Islam. In the name of God walks us on a canvas of misreckoning, sour-notes and misunderstandings between cultures. It is a turmoil we all can easily relate to.

We see a youthful Fawad falling under the spell of Islamists [who often confuse between religion and tradition] while his elder bro Shaan finds himself illegally detained in the US, post 9-11, where ignorant, rude authorities mistake him for being Al-Qaeda. Naseer-uddin Shah -- in a special appearance -- proves yet again that he is the finest actor in the subcontinent.

I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. It is as a bold statement from an intrepid film-maker, who comes from a very conservative stock. We need more films like ‘In the name of God’ to clear some of the cobwebs about what’s right and wrong about faith and how things like humanity and music transcend all barriers – religious and otherwise.

In the name of God unites. It entertains. It examines. It questions. It does not, however, pontificate. There was an ovation in the movie hall as the end-titles began to roll.

I – and my band of buddies – added to the chorus.