Sunday, May 4, 2008

Khuda Kay Liye

This is the first Pakistani movie to air in India for decades, and it was worth it!

Khuda Kay Liye tells three stories that are related.

In short: insightful, thought-provoking, and NOT propaganda from the West. To purchase when the DVD comes out with subtitles.

One brother decides to re-commit himself to Islam, but ends up with the wrong imam. He drops his music, movies to the tribal areas, forcefully marries a woman, gets dragged into Jihad. A nice guy who wanted none of these things, but didn't have the spine to hold back against them.
The other goes to Chicago to study music, falls in love with an American girl, marries her, but ends up with the wrong Federal Agent after 9/11. He is questioned and beat up to a vegetative state before being deported.

The woman who was forced to marry grew up in London and was in love with a guy there. Her father schemed to get her married with a Muslim guy and make sure she couldn't do anything about it. They held her hand and forced her to put her fingerprint on the marriage certificate. She tried to run away, but her plan was foiled. Her husband was nice at first, but the imam told him to have sex with his wife, not matter what she thought about it. She had a daughter from that union. She managed to smuggle a letter to her boyfriend in London, and her mother came to Pakistan to raise enough trouble for the Army to come and get her.

There is a court hearing, on what is really Islam, a fight between two Imams with radically different visions, and the "good" imam doing a powerful speech full of cross references that make the judges take notes.

There are many things about this movie I like.
In London, there is a guy with real inter-cultural skills who helps the rescuing.
In New York, the Federal Agent has no inter-cultural skills whatsoever... didn't even know or accept that Urdu has the same script as Arabic, but that they don't understand it at all.

The bad imam and the Federal Agent get their goons to beat up both brothers. The scene puts them side by side, doing nothing to stop vicious violence. The message was clear: they are the same.

Overall, I was able to understand the story, even though I barely got a word here and there. The acting needs to be fantastic for that to happen.

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