Amir Hamza Bangash*
In the Name of God
Original Title: Khuda Kay Liye
Director: Shoaib Mansoor
Cast: Fawad Afzal Khan, Iman Ali and Austin Marie Sayre
The Pakistani Urdu Language Drama Film “Khuda Kay Liye (In the Name of God)”, literal translation “For God’s Sake”, is the story of misinterpretation of Islam and its backlash on the lives of people. The basic theme of this emotional 170 minutes long film revolves around the line that how much symbols of Islam are given preference over its essence. The movie encompasses the world’s politics and the use/misuse of religious card on the global and regional level to serve one’s own organized and latent interest. Besides accentuating the socio-cultural problems existing in the society, this film also reveals the symbolic power of influential magician clerics sitting in the mosques by promoting the extreme wishful version of Islam and complete observance of silence from the government’s camp to counter back despite knowing the gravity of prevailing situation. In a country, where no hygienic and unhygienic campaign can stay successful, unless approved and backed by the clerics, which raises from the Polio Vaccination to the existing terrorism in the name of Islam. This film proves that most of the times things in Islamic Republic of Pakistan, will start with the name of Islam, but will end somewhere beyond it.
It has successfully been placed as the Best Film in Roberto Rossellini Award and Fukuoka Audience Award. It is written, produced and directed by well-known Pakistani name ‘Shoaib Mansoor’. The music of the film is catered by the Javed Bashir, Shuja Haider, Ahmed Jahanzeb, Khawar Jawad and Lagan Band, which colors the hot issue in sugar coated way. The script, plot and footage makes the film catchy and worth watching. Indeed it’s the blend of Oriental narratives and Western Paradigm.
The film kicks off with two brothers Mansoor (Shan) and Sarmad (Fawad Afzal Khan), who are emerging young singers in Lahore. Sarmad gets in touch with one of the radical religious clerics and gets galvanize with his wishful interpretation of Islam. He ceases all the musical activities, grows his beard and even starts dictating his mother to observe veil.
His younger paternal Uncle Hussain, who lives in England with his British girlfriend to whom even he is not married, gets late shocks of resurrection as true Muslim and starts seriously thinking about the future of her daughter Mary (Iman Ali) to have Muslim kin, but she is already in relation with the British boy named ‘Dave’. Her father Hussain deceives her and takes her to the Waziristan (hub of local and foreign militants), a well-known tribal area in Pakistan and gets her forcefully married to his radical turned nephew Sarmad, who is also backed by the radical cleric for the noble cause.
Meanwhile, Mansoor also leaves for music school in Chicago and there he falls in love with Janie and ultimately gets marry, who quits smoking, alcohol etc everything for him. After 9/11, he becomes the victim of the FBI and racism for having Islamic background. Mary drops a letter for help in guise of writing for her father. She is finally taken back from the Waziristan by Sarmad’s parents but Mary brings her father and Sarmad to the court of the justice, where interesting arguments about the different version of Islam takes place.
This film has also put forward certain existing stereotypes prevailing among the male segment of the society of Pakistan, which ranges from their powerful status to go for any extreme to take a decision and impose it on the female. Film depicts the picture of the fragmented and confused society and families, who are totally unaware of their blessed acts, journey of life and destination. PR
* Amir Hamza Bangash is a Doctoral Researcher at the Department of Journalism Studies, University of Sheffield.