I was drawn to see the movie after hearing CNN-IBN excellent review by Rajeev Masand. First the story and later my critic.
The story is about two families - one in UK and other in Pakistan. In UK family, the father forcibly takes the daughter Mariyam (Iman Ali) to Pakistan to get married to a Pakistani Muslim boy. In the Pakistan family, from two singer brothers ? the younger brother Sarmad (Fawad Khan) is attracted to a Maulana Tahiri (Rasheed Naz) and joins the fundamentalist movement and marries the UK girl in a village near Afghanistan. The elder brother Mansoor (Shan) goes to US and is arrested by US cops as suspected terrorist; he is tortured and deported back to Pakistan. It requires a court case and a correct interpretation of Quran by Maulana Wali (Naseeruddin Shah) to deport the girl back to UK. In the end, the girl opens a school in the village and the brothers unite with their family.
No doubt, this is a good thing to happen to Pakistani cinema. As rightly advertised by movie?s promos ? it is ?Revival of Cinema in Pakistan?. The technical production values of the movie are excellent ? especially the cinematography is brilliant. The acting is also up to the mark. The transitions between UK, USA, and Pakistan are also dealt with ease. The music by Rohail Hyatt is quite soothing to hear. The story when read on paper also sounds good. The debutant director Shoaib Mansur does a sincere job in putting enough of relevant contemporary issues facing Pakistan on the plate.
I hear the movie has created lots of controversy in Pakistan ? good that is successful. Yes, it is also much better than lots of Bollywood movies too. Its narration is much different from usual stories coming out of Asian cinema.
However, except the last 10-minute speech by Naseeruddin Shah in the court, the movie is a disappointment. I found not a single scene touching my heart let alone bring tears to my eyes. The other actor who leaves a high mark is Rasheed Naz who portrays the character of Maulana Tahiri with such haunting voice and conviction that it is hard to forget. I found the issues tackled too superficially and treatment of it a bit immature. The result was clichéd caricature of modernism v/s traditional culture. I laughed at some dialogues and scenes too. Especially the scenes when Shan writes on the prison walls ? I love USA ? made me roll to the floors. The message one gets out of the movie is ? if you are imitating to be western society, then things are fine otherwise not.
The movie could have been much better. But I hope this is a good beginning of new era of cinema for Pakistan.
(Stars 4.5 out of 10)