165 Min | Crime – Drama – Thriller | August 2011
IMDB Rating: 8.2
Director: Shoaib Mansoor
Starring: Humaima Malik, Manzar Sehbai, Shafqat Cheema
Bol Review: Shoaib Mansoor (Shoman) knows how to paint a story in all its hues without losing the end picture if you will. His previous works are a homage, a reverence and a celebration of dance, poetry, music and art. His foray into film with Khuda Kay Liyay gave the impression that Shoman was not content with making great music or entertaining television serials. He wanted to take on a society that was increasingly duplicitous and constantly bending to the whims of obscurantism and willing to bury its beautiful heritage. With Bol he has again come out all guns blazing. Shoman isn’t merely showing the mirror to society but goes for the jugular in a nihilist barrage against a decadent order represented by Hakim Syed Shafqatullah played by Manzar Sehbai.
In Bol, Shafqatullah’s inherited but hopelessly dwindling business in herbal medicine in an era where exposure to medical science had won over the sick contrasts with his attempts to maintain a secluded, pure existence at home. His daughters cannot leave home much less work. However, his unmet desire to father a male child infuriates him and the frustration is taken out against the females of his household. In many ways Bol is a reflection of contemporary Pakistani Muslim society which cannot cope with the brutal truths of science and seeks remedies in the shrubs of faith. When that doesn’t work economically weak individuals, groups and minorities are made scapegoats and used to create a mirage of power for the majority.
There are several flaws one can point to in Bol. Atif Aslam’s role was under-utilized. Shoman’s ability to hit the nerves sets him apart from from many a famous director and script writer. He could achieve far greater success and fame if he stuck to merely entertaining audiences. But Shoman uses cinema with all its potential to plant the seeds of change. Khuday Kay Liyay was one of the three most successful films of all time. To this day, its music and message cause headaches as they confront the conservative orders of society. Bol goes several steps further. Sometime from now, the National College of Arts or other institutions teaching film studies, will be analyzing these films that carry within them both the analysis of a nation as well as a positive vision for the future.