Pakistan, in contrast to India, which is one the largest film producing nation in the world, barely makes a handful of films every year. To see a Pakistani film that is better than most commercial Indian films, is embarrassing. "Bol", despite its few flaws, becomes that minor masterpiece that eclipses Bollywood.
A woman sentenced to death recounts her story of growing up in the shadow of an oppressive father, who denies his girls their fundamental rights.
At the face of it, the film seems apolitical. However, one of the feminist movement's clarion reasoning for action against oppression has been that the personal story is political. And it is this politics in the personal story of this family that writer-director Shoaib Mansoor of "Khuda Ke Liye" fame handles with elan.
Mansoor manages a very difficult task of taking up many issues without losing focus on any. You, thus, have issues of women's emancipation, trans-sexualism, right to education and religiosity handled with care enough for the audience to feel for each. The layers in the script itself make it a worthwhile watch. And that the film opens up gradually like an engaging mystery, keeps the viewers engrossed.
To carry so much load on its shoulders, the film needed some superlative performances. It has this in Humaima Malick who portrays the angst of a girl who itches to do the right thing and Manzar Sehbai who is stellar in his performance as a hypocritical man.
The songs are catchy, especially 'Kaho' - the least one can expect from a Pakistani film, considering their strong musical scene. The only problem, however, is its melodrama that sometimes does get overbearing. But it is a small flaw amidst its many skills.
At first look, it is easy to denounce it as a statement against the oppression of women under Islam. That is indeed true, considering that women's emancipation has yet failed to touch Muslims to a significant extent.
Yet, to call the film just that would be an insult to its intelligence. For what it does in the chauvinist, hypocritical and obnoxiously religious character of the father, is to create a template for closed-minded men everywhere.
His stubbornness and manhood are a metaphor for 'the' manhood that causes war and destruction everywhere.
Replace the Muslim Hakim, with a staunch Hindu man, and set the film in India, and it would be true frame by frame. If you look at the treatment of women in India, it is often worse with literally hundreds of thousands of women being killed before birth or during it annually in India.
Female infanticide is one of the most obscene elements of Indian society. Also, almost in every village, small town and city in India, you'll find scores of such cases of chauvinist men doing worse to their wives and daughters.
Asia's most revolutionary poet, Faiz Ahmed Faiz, in one of his most rousing poems, had written, 'Bol ke lab azad hai tere..' (Speak that thy lips are free). In this, and in the film "Bol", lies a message for us all, to speak out against oppression, be it in the political sphere or the personal.
Bol is bold, and we all know that. Now it's time to know how impressive this bold step is.
Bol is Shoaib Mansoor's second outing that is backed by Geo Films which result in huge hype. In such time of misery a good Pakistani movie is nothing less than a festival for moviegoers. Now lets see how good this attempt really is. A lot has already been said about this movie – both positive and negative, and a lot of reviewers have given their input but we here at TVKahani do not judge a book by its cover, and review it from the eye of a viewer.
First of all, Bol is no Khuda Ke Liye. Yes, the term is used multiple times in the movie(to remind people of the history) but the movie is different. Yes, it indeed deal with religion, extremism but in a totally different light, and it does not revolve around Shia and Sunni as mostly speculated.
Bol is story of Zainab(Humaima Malick) and her family. The movie starts with Humaima Malick in jail who is do be hanged till death, and the movie takes a turn when Humaima wishes to tell her story to people through media, and her wish is granted. Humaima tells the story of her father who is religious, and does not believe in birth control and keeps wishing for a son which results in half a dozen daughters, and a eunuch son. The story tells about the difficulties faced by the family, and how Zainab takes a stand against her father, and makes her sister Ayesha(Mahira) marry neighbor Mohammad(Atif Aslam) against her father's wish. The story also moves to Heera Mandi bringing in some more twists-which we would not like to give out here. Bol is idifferent from the normal Pakistani movies as it has a story to tell- a story that is captivating, compelling, and different , and Is told in a beautiful manner by the director Shoaib Mansoor. Comparisons with Khuda Ke Liye are inevitable. The movie is beautiful but shouldn't be compared to the epic Khuda Ke Liye.
Cinematography is weak at places, and looks like the editor either forgot his scissor or fell in love with every frame of the movie that he decided to not cut the length as the first half is dragged with not much happening. The movie picks up only in the second half with Iman's entry, and the major twist.
The music of the movie is already a rage which was guaranteed by Atif Aslam's presence alone but the tunes are new, catchy with beautiful lyrics. We wish the choreography(Specially Iman's song) had been better. Dialogues of the movie are excellent and thought provoking – might not be liked by a section of people.
Now to the performances. Humaima is in the lead role , and she proves all her critics wrong. She performs exceptionally well in all the sequences, and looks beautiful throughout the movie. Humaima has outdone herself in this one. Atif Aslam is merely there. The guy is there only for the songs, and add that value to the movie. He cannot act but does a decent job. Any one has any idea what Mahira saw in this role? She is sidelined, and fails to leave any impact. Iman Ali sparkles the screen with her presence and takes the role of the courtesan to new heights. She is fantastic in the cameo(is it?). Shafqat Cheema is excellent. The main villain- Manzar Sehbai(yes, the father), and totally steals the show. Perfect casting here. His body language is so good, it is amazing. Humaima's mother looks the part and excels in the role. The boy playing Saifee(Amr Kashmiri) is a great talent.
Over all this movie is no Khuda Kay Liye, but has all the ingredients to not let you bore. The excessive length Is a drawback-but watch it with your family, and give Pakistani movies a chance.
Shoaib Mansoor’s movie ‘Bol’ released under the banner of Geo Films has not only established new success records, it has even set a new business record at the box office. It has become the film earning the highest gross in the first week of release, smashing all previous records.
Shah Rukh Khan’s film “My Name Is Khan” had done business of Rs21.658 million in a week, whereas ‘Bol’ has done business of Rs22.038 million in just six days. It is expected that when record of the full week is available, this film will make a gross earning of Rs25 million setting up new business record.
It may be recalled that ‘Khuda Key Liye’ the first movie of Shoaib Mansoor too had set up new records and now his second venture is maintaining the tradition. A large number of fans are making a beeline to cinemas and multiplexes. Families are specially being attracted to the movie and they want to see it at the earliest. Since its first show on June 24, the film is continuously on the march to success. By thronging the cinemas, viewers have proved that if good and standard films are produced, they will definitely be attracted to cinema houses.