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Khuda Ke LiyeKhuda Ke Liye : Movie Review
04th Apr 2008  21.00 IST
By Nikhil Kumar  

Pakistani film 'Khuda Ke Liye' tells an engrossing, multi-layered story that pits the opinion of the moderate, tolerant Muslims against the fundamentalist ones.

I remember getting blown away by Pakistani director Sabiha Sumer's excellent film 'Khamosh Pani' a couple of years ago. The movie told the story of a youth in rural Pakistan who falls under the influence of fundamentalists, and turns his back to his mother and his lover.

Shoaib Mansoor's film Khuda Ke Liye goes a step further. Not only does it show a young man's transition to fundamentalist beliefs, the movie gives it a deeper perspective by pitching in the voice of moderate Muslims as well. In fact, it can be safely said that the protagonist of 'Khuda Ke Liye' is a modern, liberal-minded, tolerant Muslim.

While the film's introspective theme takes a look within the contemporary Pakistani society and shows the wedge between the moderates and extremists, it also brings to the fore the less-acknowledged truth that Muslims are being viewed with increasing suspicion in the West. All it takes for you to become a terror suspect is be a Muslim, even though a progressive and moderate one.

Besides this, the film also highlights the double standards in the largely patriarchal Pakistani Muslim society where women have to follow what men decide for them, even against their wishes.

Laden with such relevant issues, 'Khuda Ke Liye' turns out to be a film that not just entertains you, but it raises questions in your mind about the denigration and hypocrisy in society and religion.

The movie tells the story of two brothers - Mansoor (Shaan) and Sarmad (Fawad Khan) - who are into music. The younger one, Sarmad, falls under the influence of a fanatic maulana who brainwashes the young man and turns him into a radical. Sarmad quits music, grows a beard, gives up the western lifestyle and follows what he thinks is the life of a devout Muslim.

Mansoor, on the other hand, goes to the US for higher studies in music. But things change after 9/11. Mansoor is picked up by the authorities in the US as a possible terror suspect.

In between, there is a heart-rending tale of Mary (Iman Ali), a British girl of Pakistani origin, who is brought back to Pakistan by her father who wants to forcibly marry her to a Pakistani man of his choice because he doesn't want her to form any relation with her English boyfriend despite the fact that the father himself is in a relationship with a British woman.

Mary's domineering father is content in dumping his daughter with a fundamentalist Sarmad in the tribal regions of Wazirstan, than marry her off to a non-Muslim Briton.

These three stories are intertwined in a meaningful and crafty way. And in the end comes a courtroom drama that questions the distorted view of Islam propagated by the radicals.

The movie has fine performances from its male cast, particularly Shaan. Fawad manages to portray well the dilemma and radicalization of a strayed youth. Iman Ali takes some time to register an impact. Naseeruddin Shah has a brief appearance as a devout cleric with a progressive, liberal view of Islam.

The film's music and songs are mesmerizing, particularly 'Allah Ho' and 'Bandeya'. Technically, it is a fairly good movie with a few glitches that can be ignored.

What stands out though is Shoaib Mansoor's honest intention, and his deft handling of a serious, sensitive and pertinent subject.

Worth a watch.

Rating: ***

Khuda Ke Liye
Naseeruddin Shah

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