Check out this excellent scene from Khuda Kay Liye
Below is a review/recco I had written a couple of years back.
Director: Shoaib Mansoor
Cast: Shan, Iman Ali, Fawad Khan, Rasheed Naz, Naseeruddin Shah
Khuda Kay Liye is the story of two musician brothers, Mansoor (Shan) and Sarmat (Fawad khan) and how their lives go off on two different tangents. Mansoor, the elder brother goes to USA to study music, falls in love and gets married to an American girl Janie (Austin Marie Sayre) but is imprisoned as a terrorist suspect. Sarmat becomes an Islamic extremist and forcibly marries Mary (Iman Ali), his British cousin. The movie deals with issues that Pakistanis in particular and Muslims in general face like forced marriage, Islamic fundamentalism and racial profiling.
Mary’s hypocrite father is in a live-in relationship with a white woman but cannot tolerate his daughter being in love with a white man. The brainwashing scenes of Sarmat by Maulana and his gradual turn to extremism by abstaining from music, removing paintings and asking his mother to wear Hijab are done very well. The scene where Mary asks about the bride and her failed attempt to escape are especially heartbreaking. The scene where Mary confronts Mansoor as to why he is not committing and the scene where the distressed Indian accuses him of being a terrorist are good. The best scene is the courtroom scene where Moulana Wali (Naseeruddin Shah) explains Islam’s views on music, western attire, inter-religious marriage and forced marriage.
There are quite a number of flaws. Some of the scenes have very low production values like the ones in the prison or the war scenes. The amateur acting in some of these scenes also does not help. The captive scenes come off real bad with the American interrogator saying some stupid stuff and they even have a physical fight. It also seems ridiculous that the cops kidnap Mansoor from his apartment instead of arresting him.
The scene where Mansoor tries to impress Janie by saying that we built the Taj Mahal and that we ruled India and Spain sounds ridiculous. Mansoor implies Muslims as Pakistanis which is totally wrong. May be the director intended to show Mansoor’s stupidity in talking about conquests when music makes much more impact than any conquest. Some Indians may feel that this and an other scene in the prison which mentions Kashmir as jingoistic but can be excused as it is a Pakistani movie and some Indian movies have had worse jingoistic scenes than these.
The Urdu dialogues are excellent but the English ones are a bit cheesy. The dialogues in the final scene about having beard, wearing western attire, inter religious marriage and use of music by Prophet David using Hadith (reports about the statements/actions of Prophet Muhammad) are excellent. The best dialogue in the movie is definitely “Haraam Ki Kamai Jeb Mein Rakh Kar, Halaal Ghosht Ki Dukaan Dhoondhte Hain”. The background music is good and the songs are excellent especially the songs ‘Bandya’ and ‘Allah Hoo’. Khawar Jawad’s music is brilliant in the Bandya song and the song has some great vocals. Cinematography is very good but it’s the art direction that is bad in a few scenes.
Shan gives a decent performance as Mansoor. Iman Ali is very good for the most parts except in a few scenes like the one where she meets Naseer and the courtroom scene where she has a weird look on her face when Naseer is supporting her. Her accent and her actions as a British Citizen are believable. Rasheed Naz is very good as Moulana Tahiri and Austin Marie Sayre is decent and Fawad Khan is ok. But Naseeruddin Shah steals the show in a 20 minute guest appearance as Moulana Wali. He is simply brilliant and his speech has an impact as good as Jack Nicholson’s famous climax speech from A Few Good Men. The rest of the performances vary from strictly ok to amateurish.
Khuda Kay Liye, despite its flaws, is the best movie addressing the serious issues facing today’s Muslims. Shoaib Mansoor’s direction is excellent in some scenes and a bit amateurish in a few of them but then this is his debut movie and the flaws can probably be overlooked as it is an honest effort. One can tell that the makers obviously faced some budget issues and as a result the film suffered. The movie would have been a masterpiece if it were not for these flaws. Shoaib Mansoor needs to be commended for making such a bold movie which takes controversial issues head on and is not scared to take a stand. Exemplary research has gone into the last scene. The character Sarmat is partly based on his friend Junaid Jamshed, a Pakistani singer, who gave up music, grew up a beard and became religious. The movie tries to give the message that one cannot impugn an entire religion/country because of the act of a few bad people. Khuda Kay Liye is recommended for every one who is interested in serious cinema.Tags: Fawad Khan Iman Ali Khuda Kay Liye Member Reviews Naseeruddin Shah Rasheed Naz Reccos Reviews Scene of the Week Shan Shoaib Mansoor