Bilqis, Bobby, Bollywood

Think Do Jasoos. Now, think Bobby Jasoos.

Think Bend it like Beckham. Now think Bobby bends it (with the best of them might I add)!

Samajh aaya…? Nahi, phir continue reading.

Inhi chotti, chotti galiyon mein teri kismet chamkain gi, Bobby. Bilqis Ahmed issi Moghalpuray mein jasoos ban kar dekhayee gi.

As a 20-something graduate student, I am all too aware of Bobby’s many predicaments: shaadi, bachchay, career, love, life, aur shayad akhir mein zindagi. Not only could I relate to her constant apprehension vis-a-vis Abbaji, I could also feel Bobby’s anguish as she yearns to succeed. Perhaps, this is Bobby Jasoos’s biggest strength but I’ll get to this momentarily…



Moor: A Coming of Age?

If there’s one film that I’ve been patiently waiting for, it is Moor. I could give you a million reasons but a simpler option is to click on the video below.


Kyun… kaisa laga?

I first heard of Moor when it was titled Morqaye. Taken by what I saw in a brief news clip, I Googled and Googled, alas, my search was futile, but there just wasn’t much information out there. Then, a few months later, I came across Moor, and it was everything I expected it would be.

Set in Balochistan, a sort of outpost for Pakistani culture, with a title that borrows from Pashto, I cannot help but wonder how seamlessly Jamshed Mahmood Raza or Jami, as he is popularly know, ties the theme of unequal development on the peripheries of modern Pakistan by bringing together the language of NWFP (Khyber-Pakhtunkhawa) and FATA with the eerie landscape of Balochistan.

In less than two-and-a-half-minutes I see the geographic diversity of Pakistan from the snow-capped Karakoram peaks to the Kharan desert and even the Makran coast. I, then, see a slowly deteriorating railway system, Karachi in flames, and makeshift dirt roads. Finally, I see signs of life and death – a grave, a girl running, a man walking.

Whether Jami wanted to juxtapose nature with technology (albeit deteriorating technology) and then populate his canvas with actors is a judgment call I’ll wait to make, but I can undoubtedly say that Moor is like a painting. It’s beautifully shot, the camera spans the length and breadth of each scene panning across panoramas of Pakistan’s rather stunning natural diversity. It does the same for the not-so-stunning state of infrastructure in the province of Balochistan.

In fact, that’s a recurring image throughout the trailer. I constantly see copious amounts of railway tracks, slowly moving locomotives, and rusting bogies, as though the railways are gripped by a disease, and slowly wasting away. The rot, which perhaps is what the director wants to get at, is visible yet still beautiful. Is it any wonder that this is the man behind the amazing music videos for Strings.

If visuals, as Sarmad Sehbai so correctly notes, are important, then, there’s no better film than Moor to convey that because even though the story is dirty and grimy it is beautifully presented without reeking of artifice.

Herein lies Moor’s strength it’s authenticity. And this honesty isn’t only relegated to the camerawork. The best stories, they say, come from pain, loss, and suffering. If there’s anything that Moor conveys it is these feelings but it does not leave me hopeless (a point I’ll get to in the review).

With it’s realistic leanings, strong script, stunning cinematography, and an exquisite eye for detail, I can firmly say that my friend is on to something when she says: “Pakistani cinema is stuck between Iranian realism and Indian spectacle.”

Till we meet for a review,

This is RB signing off.