x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Bol

Bol was a smash hit in Pakistan when it was released earlier in the summer. Directed by Khuda Kay Liye director Shoaib Mansoor, it's a hard-hitting and touching treatise on gender relations.

Directors: Shoaib Mansoor and Meena Kumari
Starring: Manzar Sehbai, Humaima Malick
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Bol was a smash hit in Pakistan when it was released earlier in the summer. Directed by Khuda Kay Liye director Shoaib Mansoor, it's a hard-hitting and touching treatise on gender relations. The film starts with Zainab (Malick) in the gallows and requesting either a pardon for murder or, failing that, the right to speak before television cameras in the moments before her execution.

Amused by the request, the state governor allows her to speak to the cameras. The structure whereby a story is told in flashback while the action appears in flashback is one of the most overused devices in convict stories and is a cliché that hardly ever works.

And it is the major drawback in Bol, an otherwise excellent, touching and thought-provoking narrative. Hakim (Sehbai) has sired a football team of daughters and wants nothing more than to have a son. Unfortunately, his wish only comes partly true as he sires a hermaphrodite (Amr Kashmiri).

Fearing how society treats eunuchs, he wants to wash his hands of his new child. His fears bear fruit as the child grows up and the relationship between them is terminally strained. All the while, director Mansoor gently questions the gender gap in Lahore. A second story featuring a musical neighbour provides an equally enthralling romantic tale. Riveting.