The International Movie Review

A venture

Khuda Kay Liye – A fantastic film from across the border

Posted by harino1 on April 12, 2008

Khuda Ke Liye better known as ‘ In the name of God ‘internationally has been highly acclaimed at several film festivals and has bagged several prestigious awards. The film has been directed by Pakistan’s most renowned TV producer Shoaib Mansoor who has been the mastermind behind the success of the comedy play ‘Fifty Fifty’.

This time around Shoaib gets into a more serious note exploring certain fundamentalists false beliefs circling Islam and the state of Muslims in today’s contemporary modern society. The film also dwells into the state of Muslims living abroad post the 9/11 attacks.

The film that had a fatwa issued against it by some radical maulvi’s and had the director of the movie fleeing Pakistan as soon as the movie was released fearing his life finally releases in India courtesy Percept Picture Company.

The movie revolves around two musician brothers – Mansoor(Shaan) and Sarmad (Fahwad Khan) who have their own popular music group in Pakistan. Music is considered ‘Haram’ by certain fundamentalist groups and thus one day Sarmad is lured by fanatical Maulvi Tahiri (Rasheed Naz) into joining his ranks as a fundamentalist and giving up music and all other things perceived as haram.

Meanwhile UK-based uncle of the boys, worried by the prospect of his daughter Mary(Iman Ali) having an affair with a white British, traps her into a visit to Pakistan and sends her into a FATA(Federally Administered Tribal Areas )village where she is forcefully married off to Sarmad under the influence of Maulvi Tahiri.

Then the disastrous 9/11 occurs and Mansoor is detained on the grounds of being Muslim by U.S. authorities who beat and torture him to elicit a confession of his role in terrorism. While Mansoor is held captive by U.S. authorities his younger brother Samrad gets involved in the battle between Taliban, US forces and Northern Alliance. Now Mary too is held captive in the frontier village and can’t break free from the chains of a forced marriage.

‘Khuda Ke Liye ‘is truly a splendid offering to the world of cinema. People may call it a Pakistani film but the film is truly international carrying a star cast which is a mix of Pakistanis, Indians and Americans. The film also addresses an international subject; the state of Muslims all over the globe. The plot surely stems from within the dynamics of Pakistan and its rigid functional laws and ethos but the film truly makes a global mark.

The director Shoaib Mansoor deserves a standing ovation to firstly dare to make such a film being a resident of Pakistan and secondly for changing our perception about Pakistani cinema being low budget, mediocre quality flicks. ‘Khuda Ke Liye’ has been very well conceived and executed by Mansoor and his team. The film brings about the resurgence of cinema in Pakistan.

Mansoor has combined with Geo TV network to produce a massive and hard hitting film such as this. Mansoor has fused in various controversial issues such as religious extremism , racial profiling , status of women in Islam , Music according to Islam and cultural contextualization of religion to provide a real hard hitting film.

The direction and screenplay is top notch as the film moves gradually from one character to another. The cinematography and editing too is good. The film captures the beautiful locales of Pakistan, the FATA and USA very well. The cuts are sharp and the edit fuses well with the transition in the narrative.

The dialogues of the film are hard hitting and may be objectionable by certain Muslim groups. Like Naseeruddin Shah’s delivery of ‘deen me dadhi hai, dadhi me deen nahi‘ (In religion there is beard, not religion is in beard).

The music of the film is just splendid. Unlike Hindi films, the actors don’t break into a 4 min song or so, rather the songs are played mostly in the background and yet hook onto you. The ‘Allah Hoo’, ‘Bhulla Samjaiya’ and title track are worth listening to over and over again.

On the acting front all actors are effective but it’s primarily Shaan and Rasheed Naz who steal the show. Actor Shaan is just so versatile and even the accents implemented by him as he goes to the US is just smooth. His dialogue delivery too is sleek. Just watch the scene where he is being interrogated by the US officials in the cell constantly. His expressions change from fear to anger and hatred and the way he responds to the threats from the officials is fantastic.

Rasheed Naz brings in the elegant, fundamentalistic , religious maulvi element with ease. He poisons Samrad’s mind in a very realistic manner with debatable issues. His dialogues too are very effective as he describes music to be ‘Haram’ and sends out his troop to fight the war stating it to be ‘Allah Miya’s’ call.

Pakistani model Iman Ali too does a good job at depicting the captivity and turmoil within a woman. Fahwad Khan who came into the film on Pakistani Pop icon Ali Zafar’s refusal to do the role does a good job. He expresses well as the young lad sandwiched between his elder brothers’ thoughts and the maulvi’s fundamentalist views. His delivery at the court sequence really impresses as he argues that he never used to read the Quran but wasn’t a bad Muslim either.

Naseeruddin Shah comes very late into the film as Maulana Wali but delivers some of the best dialogues of the film. He tackles various issues such as music in Islam and other cultural elements which aren’t a part of the religion. He intensifies and argues about the Muslim ‘Huliya’(looks). ‘haraam ki kamai jeb me rakhkar, halal ghosht ki dukaan dhoondhte hain‘ (People look for Halal meat shops with inappropriate earnings in their pocket) are lines that strike gold.

On the whole, ‘Khuda Ke Liye’ does have minor glitches but the storytelling and theme of the film is just so intense that one never tends to dwell on those aspects. The film is definitely a must watch and Shaan’s letter towards the end of the film leaves behind a message to all across the globe that surely helps in clearing the misconception that every terrorist is a Muslim and vice-versa.


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