Sunday, 19 June 2011

BOL [Speak Up]

Bol (meaning 'speak up' in Urdu) is the name of the latest Pakistani movie by Shoaib Mansoor, and I've just returned from its premier show. Good Pakistani films come few and far in between but I can safely say that BOL is by far the best, also beating the last super hit and internationally acclaimed "Khuda ke leye" (also by Shoaib Mansoor). I think the movie has been released at a very good time when the nation is truly devastated and shattered in spirit and hope on account of the recent incidents of the PAF base and the Rangers killing. The movie reminds us of the good side to Pakistan: the talent that we have in Pakistan and the potential in our people. 

The movie is a movement in itself - movement of social and religious thought. Amazingly directed, the movie is a great insight into the lower middle class Pakistani culture and social stigmas prevailing at large. From the taboo'd gender (the third sex type), attitude towards birth of the female child, child abuse, chauvinism, prostitution, attitude of Pakistani politicians, to Shi'ite versus Sunni religious issues - the film beautifully portrays and confronts the evils in our minds and our culture. 

I was extremely impressed by the acting talent of Umaima, the main character of the film, playing the eldest of 6 sisters and the driver of positive change for her family, breaking the stereotypical barriers that women face in any developing country. The appearance of Atif Aslam and Mahira seemed to be more of a tool to add colour to the otherwise gloomy and reality based art film. 

The film was liberating and tear-touching. I walked out proud of the cinema knowing that this film was a product of Pakistan, and made by the people of Pakistan, not those who are brought up and trained abroad but those raised, educated and trained within Pakistan. I felt proud that creative heads like Shoaib Mansoor are using their talent to question the status quo, long due to be questioned. I felt proud that they confronted the issues shoved under the carpet and sealed behind silent helpless lips. BOL is an excellent example of how Pakistani films can do wonders if we look inwards towards our strengths and depict our own values and issues than trying to mimic the Bollywood dancing style. BOL is a movie with impact, without indecent  costumes or vulgar dances, yet the film has music and songs to it. 

While most films are just an expression of what state of matters is, BOL is not only that but also a depiction of what we 'could be' if only... we dared to 'speak up' [BOL]. 

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

The joy of relocation

A research study shows that 'moving homes' is listed among the top 5 most stressful experiences in life after divorce, financial stress, death and a couple more. For me however relocation has a different meaning, it is how I identify with my life and myself. Relocation has been part of my life as far back as I can remember - whether it was changing homes in the same city, or moving to another country. So in every couple of years, I start anticipating a move even if I haven't planned one! From packing up carton boxes, clearing out the mess unsorted in months, going home hunting and haggling with property agents to finally unpacking and organising the new home - all are experiences that I have somehow enjoyed immensely in life. Moving is probably my third best adrenaline after traveling and my skydive experience.  
Right now I have seven suitcases lined along my bedroom walls, ranging from empty, to semi, to fully packed. Its time for another move - Yes, I am now - after having lived in Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and London  (I'm sparing you of the different areas and number of home moves within those cities)  - moving to Toronto.
Every city and every new move has added to who I am as a person, and even more so to my 'effortless learning bank'. What you may learn by roaming about a few hours in a new city, no encyclopedia  and no travel guide can teach you. The insight you develop on people, cultures, diversity of thought, belief and customs cannot be gathered through reading notes on anthropology. Sometimes this insight can scare you - belittle you, make you realise how insignificant you are in this wide world. Sometimes it can shaken up your deepest belief systems. As they say - ignorance is bliss and too much irrelevant information may lead to confusion. So the job as an 'absorber' becomes quite difficult when it comes to deciphering all the input as we walk past so many systematic, cultural, institutional and behavourial changes. But I still find the benefits out weighing any draw backs of moving. 
I am now looking forward to my next move, this time with my companion (this being our first move as a married couple) and I'm more than positive that this move will be more enriching than all past relocations. :)