Thursday, 5 March 2009

Khuda kay Lie: In the name of God

A fascinating Pakistani movie which deals with the issues of terrorism and what type of Islam Pakistan wants to nurture. It is the story of 2 musician brothers - the elder goes to the States to study music;   the other, younger brother under the influence of a Talib, gives up his music for the sake of Islam. 

Two scenes stick in my mind - the US based (non terrorist) brother is accused of terrorism and is taken in by homeland security - post 9/11 - for questioning. During his imprisonment he writes 'I love USA' all over the walls.  Under great pressure and duress, he eventually adds the 2 letters 'MA' to that statement and the whole meaning changes. And he suffers the consequences. 

In the meantime the terrorist brother, who has joined the Taliban, is on trial for abducting a  British citizen.  In court the defence calls a respected Pakistani Mulanna, who argues a  very powerful case against the fundamentalist Taliban interpretation of Islam, which is all about the outward appearance. He is for an Islam of the heart.  And appeals to the moderate voices in Pakistan.  It has a powerful reformative effect on the younger brother.

Well worth watching just for that scene alone.         

The film has been quite  a sensation in Pakistan as this Pakistani review of the film shows
First things first -- and there are a lot of firsts in this movie. As half the world knows by now, this is Shoaib Mansoor's first cinematic venture. Most of the cast, including all the lead actors except Shaan, also make there silver-screen debut with this film. The film is also the first truly honest issue-based film from Pakistan, and now, is also one of the highest grossing ones in Pakistan. ...... in a nutshell, its about two musician brothers who go off on a different tangent through the course of their lives, one joining an extremist movement and the other pursuing college education in the States. Shaan and Fawad Khan, of course, enact the characters of the two brothers. Iman Ali plays the British cousin forced into a marriage she doesn't want.

The best thing about the film is its seamless flow and the REALLY natural settings and dialogues. The upper middle class setting of the brothers' household is something that a lot of Pakistanis would be able to relate to. I definitely could, and the film also correctly portrays the moderate leanings of the majority of the population in that country. The film shifts continuously between US, Lahore and the rather backward areas in Afghanistan, and the individual vignettes are so engrossing that you don't want them to end... 

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