Pakistani film, Khuda Ke Liye appreciated at IFFI

"Khuda Ke Liye", the first Pakistani movie screened at the International Film Festival of India (IFFI), turned out to be a huge hit here Sunday with veteran filmmakers, actors and critics making a beeline for it.

Touching upon contemporary themes like fundamentalism as well as discrimination of Muslims in the West post 9/11, director Shoaib Mansoor's film was shown amid tight security.

Renowned director M.S. Sathyu, filmmaker Sudhir Mishra, TV actress Kavita Chaudhary and actress-social activist Nafisa Ali were among those gathered to watch "Khuda Ke Liye" at the IFFI.

"The helplessness of the liberal Muslims is captured beautifully and the director tactfully shows how society is taken over by fundamentalists and how the liberals are isolated and mocked," said Chaudhary.

"I have also seen 'Khamosh Pani' and in that the issue of fundamentalism is dealt with emotionally. However, in this film the director has used a dramatised argument to tackle the issue," said the actress remembered for TV serial "Udaan".

Mansoor's narrative, depicting travails of a liberal Muslim family, travels across three continents as his characters are based in the US, Britain, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The cast includes Fawad Afzal Khan, Iman Ali and Hameed Sheikh.

Many critics, however, were not impressed.

"The plot line was interesting, but sadly lacking in terms of methods of cinema. The camera was far too static. The narrative followed on expected lines. The images did not drive the narrative," Kolkata-based film critic Abhijit Ghosh-Dastidar told IANS.

"The characters portrayed were banal and stereotypes. The typical story didn't add up any visual excitement, except for some thriller effects."

He, however, added: "The film could have a commercial release in India as the director safeguards all religious sentiments."

Chaudhary echoed similar views but felt it "needs a little tightening in the second half before it is opened for general viewing".

Sapna Verma, a student here, said: "I cannot comment on technical aspects of the movie but it surely helps in understanding problems of the Muslims. It actually puts us in their shoes and makes us understand what they face."

The film is being shown in the competition section of the festival that also has entries from 12 other countries. And it is going to packed house for the next shows as well.

Elsewhere in the evening, there were few takers for "Aar Paar", shown as homage to legendary music director O.P. Nayyar who composed hits like "Babuji Dheere Chalna" and "Yeh Lo Main Hari Piya" in the 1950s and 1960s.

Indo-Asian News Service