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Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Khuda Kay Liye - Welcome Face of Pakistani Cinema

For someone like me whose exposure to Pakistani films was limited to the sub-standard fare aired on PTV, complete with the stereotyped villainous Hindu lala, a film like Khuda Kay Liye (In the Name of God - not an apt translation) was a pleasant surprise. Many of us would have heard about the film because one of India's finest actors, Naseeruddin Shah, played a brief but important role in the film. But beyond that it might not have interested many Indian movie freaks. But it should.

I too would not have watched the film, it had slipped off my mind, but a friend working for one of the numerous news channels wanted to do a story on this and sought my help in getting a copy of the movie, which I did. I later converted the film into a mobile friendly format and watched it during the 100-kilometre ride from Guwahati airport to Shillong. And even on the tiny 2" screen it was worth it.

The film to me was a dialogue between the liberal and extremist versions of Islam and for people with a limited understanding of the religion (that's a big number) it opens our eyes to many different facets. It portrays the dilemma of a Muslim in today's world. Here is a synopsis of the film from the website:

The film is about the difficult situation in which Pakistanis in particular and the Muslims in general are caught up since 9/11. These is a war going on between the fundamentalists and the liberal Muslims. This situation is creating a drift not only between the western world and the Muslims but also within the Muslim community. The educated and modern Muslims are in a difficult situation because of their approach towards life and their western attire. They are criticised and harassed by the fundamentalists and on the other hand the western world sees them as potential suspects of terrorism just because of their Muslim names.

This paradox is resulting in great suffering for the forward looking Muslim. This is the name of the film 'Khuda Kay Liye,' which in English means In the Name of God.'

The interesting thing about the film is how it connects the happenings in three continents. Unlike the usual Indian and Pakistani films based on romantic sagas, dances and songs, this film is based on some very serious issues. Raising a lot of controversial questions engaging the Muslim minds these days. It helps the Muslim youth find a direction... the right direction, which we are all looking towards.
Compared to the Pakistani films that I had watched before this, Khuda Kay Liye, is definitely miles ahead in all aspects, there's no comparison. The script is lucid and kept me engrossed throughout. The music is soothing. And performances are commendable. Though Naseer steals the thunder with his cameo.

The best part is that that Shoaib Mansoor, in his big screen debut as a director kept a very balanced approach. Though the point-of-view of the film is liberal, it does not outrightly rubbish the fundamentalists' approach. Even the logic behind the extremist interpretation of Islam is brought to the fore and a bulk of the counter arguments happen in the courtroom via Maulana Wali played by Naseer. The director makes an effort at not going overboard either with the story or with emotions, and succeeds.

Obviously the film met with a lot of protests and it a brave and commendable effort. It deals with a lot of issues which modern day Muslims face in an ever shrinking world and many do not agree with Mansoor's opinions as evident from the raging debates on online forums. But for an Indian the film makes for a must watch because today all that we seem to know about our neighbouring country revolves around one individual – General Pervez Musharraf.

I'm looking forward to the India release of the movie. Hope that happens soon, at least on DVD. In case it doesn't, just search for Khuda Kay Liye on Stage6, someone has uploaded the complete film in five parts. (you'll need to install DivX Web Player).

Here's a special Cutting the Chai edit of the trailer:

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Related post: Watch Movies on Your Mobile


tasneem said...

Thank you for the write up on "Khuda ke liye". I can very well relate to the film. But this dilemma has been in India even before 9/11. I personally have faced situations where my Muslim name would give me hard time in getting a house for rent in Delhi and equally hard time in getting a house in Muslim ghettos for not being Muslim enough. It develops a psychology which would be difficult for others to understand. People like me belong to "third culture' with very few members since by our believes we do not believe in "groups", we do not want to become another ism or religion clinging to "my kind of people".
Sorry for bringing a personal element to this blog. I hope I am able to watch the film.

just an average person like you said...

I saw the film first day first show in Karachi (prince cinema) and it rocked! Everyone was clapping and enjoyed the film... this was the second time in my life watching a Pakistani movie in cinema.. i do often go to cinema for Hollywood stuff...

I am a great fan of Shoaib Mansoor. I was waiting for this film because I knew if ShoMan is making a film, its going to be a solid one! and mashaAllah he proved once again that he is one of the most creative and talented artists in the world.

ShoMan rocks! I hope this film gets eleased in India soon so you guys can watch it on the big screen! cya!

tasneem said...

I think a more appropriate translation of "Khuda kay Liye" would be "For God's Sake"

ohitsme said...

I am not able to download the film despite DivX Web Player).What do I do?

Soumyadip said...

ohitsme With the DivX Web Player you can watch the movies online. To directly download the movie first go here. Someone has uploaded the movie in five parts. Go to each of the five videos and then follow the instructions mentioned in this post about downloading videos from Stage6.

wasim uk said...

salam to all
im a young doctor working in uk at da moment have been in uk for past 4-5 yrs..
well this is for the first time that i really thought reviewing the 'reviews and comments' regarding this movie
cople of things i must say b4 going ne further
all my life 2 personalities dat really inspired me have been shoaib mansoor and junaid jamshed..
I always loved junaids songs n lyrics.
I never mised a minute of ne drama directed by shoaib mansoor...wether it was geetar 93 or abc.
i wont say dat im very pious man but as mentioned in so many msges, one thing i really want to tell and stress upon is ,as muslim no matter wat level of muslim u r ,one should have the courage to say wat is right and wat is wrong,though one may not follow the teachings of islam one should atleast respect them and must ve..i must repeat must have complete faith in the teachings of islam as told in Quran and Hadees.
as i mentioned earlier i have been always a fan of shoaib mansoor n jj...but i did know,i did feal so many times in my life that these all things are not what v have been taught in our religion..
coming back to the movie..i really wanted to watch it but for some reason i couldnt,i just couldnt so far..
its just that any movie basically based on religions somewat distracts my inner being if they DONT reflect or respect the religion in a way it should do (e.g divinci code though like by many ,i couldnt watch it coz concept doesnt go along wid teachings of islam)
now if u c the movie just for the sake of appreciation of skills/cinematography/direction i m more then 100 % sure it would be beter den the best of some hollywood movies,because i dont think any body can argue the skills of shoab mansoor in this field..
but coming back to the concept of songs being allowed in islam,and the fact that dere is as if no respect of females regarding dere opionion for mariage..its all really very tricky..
only beacuse people like me, who dont have v strong faith ,can so very easily find an excuse to listen songs wenever they want to,if i used to listen it for 1 hr or so in a day,after watching i may say dats f9 yar go ahead with and may be listening for many hours if time allows..
some of the hadees that ive heard indicate that music is not considered right in islam..
so wat my instincts tell me is that it is wrong and thats doesnt matter at all how much i like it or not!
we are not here to give our own views regarding religion,Almighty Allah who is our and whole universe creator,if he is saying something through his beloved Prophet(P.B.U.H),isnt it the final verdict!
one thing i couldnt resist mentioning, is in my opinion,Sunnah is something the best way of doing any thing as it was the way it was performed by our Prophet(P.B.U.H),as told by our creator ,and he was sent for the whole universe,until the day of judgement,his actions were loved by Allah,and its not as if they cant be followed as there are still numerous very good muslims following the right path and still following each and every Sunnah.
I dont have beard but i would hesitate to say religion is not in beard,what we should say Allah give us hidayat & courage ,so one day even we should be able to follow the path of our greatest Prophet Muhammad(PBUH).
and about Mullahs,now its NOT as if every mullah is right ,I wouldnt agree,but have we ever thought that the ‘tooti phooti’ namazaain that we pray today or the Quran that we recite was taught to us not by some intelectual professor,or high fi elegant diplomat..or in our world which is so very busy will we being doctors and engineers, able to find any time to teach our children reciting Holly Quran..these were taught by dose simple men that now v so disrecpectfully call mullahs or maulvis
I beleive a layman,who does respect and follow the faraiz in Islam,yet even not passed matric exam,in the love for Allah And Rasool,cry all night,say something or get terribly agitated if any thing is said against islam ( Im not mentioning about terrosrists who claim innocent lives thats unarguebly totally wrong) Im just telling abt an ordinary human being who is not able to contain with him self due to listening something which is against our religious values is far far better den highly educated intelectual person who may agree with the west,be diplomatic in saying something filthy said abt our values( soo commonly done) judge yourself who will be liked by Allah, aperson who will cry in agony by seeing something unislamic going on and asking for his help or a person who beacuse of worldy things may be diplomatic in his views..
to come to conclusion really if Quran and Hadees teached us abt any thing ,even if v dont have the courage to obey it properly ,atleast v should have the faith to say that IT IS RIGHT as it is said so..
no body in da world can judge wat will happen to us after death but Allah..
we are blessed with skillfull peoplelike shoaib mansoor whom people listen too..i just wish and pray that dere actions must not distort da already distorted muslims in current shudnt give us liberty to be more liberal in our rong doings..
may Allah give us all hidayat to follw Quran and Sunnah completely,il end up by saying,there wont be any ‘bakhshish’ without our greatest Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) sifarsih in aakhratday/day of judgement ,if we would be left 4 our deeds to help us on the day of judgement,majority will end up in hell, so dear brother and sisters,if you cant follow the Sunnah,do respect it until its too late.