Stories about Bol

16 movies that prove Lollywood and Bollywood have been empowering women since 1957

Today we celebrate International Women’s Day; a day to appreciate and acknowledge the women around us and discuss female empowerment. As we do this, it is hard to ignore the contribution of the media, which is perhaps the best tool in our means to depict the society around us. However, having empowering female characters is not a new phenomenon in either the Indian or Pakistani film industry. On the contrary, filmmakers in India and Pakistan have consistently tried to come up with subjects and films which celebrate and empower women. From the inception of the film industry in this ...

Read Full Post

Verna: A story powerful and lucrative on paper but fails at its execution on screen

Rape is a serious issue that is prevalent in the society. Even talking about rape openly takes a lot of courage, let alone making a movie about it. Shoaib Mansoor is known for making thought-provoking movies on social issues that turn out to be a cinematic delight. His previous movies have been pieces of art for movie-lovers and film students. Verna is his third and recent instalment, so expectations obviously had to be soaring high. His previous movies starred big names like Shaan Shahid, Fawad Khan, Naseeruddin Shah, Imaan Ali, Atif Aslam and Humaima Malick. However, this time, Mansoor does not ...

Read Full Post

In Pakistan, rape might go unpunished, but a movie on rape cannot

I recently came across the news regarding the ban on Verna, Shoaib Mansoor’s upcoming film, and was shocked, to say the least. Mansoor has played a monumental role in the revival of Pakistani cinema, delivering masterpieces like Khuda Kay Liye and Bol. Not only were both great films, they were also centred on very important issues that plague our society today. Bol highlighted the practice of having innumerable children in the name of religion, especially when you cannot even feed them, giving us the legendary line, “Jab paal nahin saktey, tou paida kyun karte ho?” (When you cannot provide for them, why do you give birth to them?) Likewise, the movie Khuda ...

Read Full Post

Basila & The Street Crew: A much-needed humanised portrayal of the transgender community

Growing up, I always wondered about different genders. I was curious and after talking to different people, I learned that there are some really alarming misconceptions about transgender people. Especially in Pakistan, they have long been denied basic human rights and are usually seen as “different”, abnormal, lowly, dirty and mere objects for entertainment. I was really young when I first encountered a transgender individual yet I remember it so vividly. This incident was as normal as any other daily interaction but there is still something about that moment that I find really bizarre. We were staying at our grandmother’s place during summer holidays ...

Read Full Post

Will Pakistan continue to fail its non-Muslim men and women?

Every year in Pakistan over a thousand non-Muslim women are forced to convert to Islam. The stories of forced conversions tend to have a similar pattern. First, the girls are abducted. Once taken away from the safety of their homes and communities they are raped and then, usually, married off to their assailants who sneakily shield their non-consensual sexual assault behind the veil of a nikkahnama. Sometimes they are sold into the sex trade. These girls rarely ever return to their families. Help from the police and local clerics is pretty much unheard of. Both parties are either in on the ...

Read Full Post

Was Fawad Khan’s decision to play a homosexual a mistake?

Kapoor and Sons has garnered much success after its release, grossing over INR100 crore globally within just one week. But apart from its box-office triumph, the film has also received acclaim for bringing topics such as infidelity and homosexuality, once considered taboo, to the forefront of upper-middle class family dynamics.  Director Karan Johar must be given credit for cleverly casting an actor that women swoon over to break the stereotypical image of gay men in our society. However, it seems Fawad Khan may have committed to the movie before having completely thought it through; his effortless and convincing acting may have done wonders for ...

Read Full Post

India and Pakistan both share the spirit of Bollywood

The recently released Bollywood movie Airlift, based on the evacuation of Indians residing in Kuwait during the Gulf War of 1990, has won much acclaim in both India and Pakistan. Rightfully so, for its brilliant cinematography, outstanding performances by all the artists (especially Akshay Kumar who has steered away from typically playing romantic comedy or action roles) and its excellent screenplay. The tragic scenario of a war zone and how it can take away everything you have is depicted in a heart-rending manner, along with how man’s survival skills are put to the test. The apathy of many politicians and bureaucrats, as ...

Read Full Post

Move over, Shaan: Dear Lollywood, please stop with your nepotistic ways

Nepotism has a new face in Pakistan. Can you guess who it is? No, it’s not Nawaz Sharif. It’s not the Bhutto clan. It’s not the politicians or the bureaucracy. All those institutions have been swept aside by that new lady in town. We fondly call her ‘Lollywood’, but she’s more formally known as Pakistan’s film industry. She isn’t really new, but her recently acquired contemporary ornaments have taken years off her face. She wears Bol around her neck, carries Bin Roye under her arm and has crowned her head with Waar. In step with her is her entourage; a horde of uncles and aunties, brothers ...

Read Full Post

Where have all the urban Pakistani girls gone?

Hello Pakistani filmmakers and television producers, my friends and I exist in this country too! There are two types of Karachi girls shown in Pakistani dramas and films – she’s either “bholi bhali” ,“seedhi saadhi”, “masoom” larki or a complete “chundaal” aurat out to snatch your “bhola bhala”, “seedha saadha”,“masoom” man! One of the reasons why I can’t watch anything “Pakistani” these days is because I can’t see a representation of women like myself on TV. I yawned when people fawned over Khirad – I was pissed off that a smart woman like Mahira Khan would take on a role so ...

Read Full Post

We do not need ‘billis’ to flaunt our ‘jawani’ in Lollywood

After successfully objectifying women in the ‘100 glorious years of Indian cinema’, Bollywood now recognises its part in influencing commoners, what till now has been ‘a bad influence’. It took Bollywood God knows how many Jyoti Singhs to realise what a mess their sexist approach in cinema has caused in populous India. I feel sorry for them. I feel sorry that our neighbours are in trouble; our fellow women are not safe. But at the moment, I’m more concerned about how all this affects Pakistan. Our cinema is going through an interesting phase of its revival, but the same sexist approach has come to trouble us too. Recent ...

Read Full Post