Bol (Punjabi, Urdu) - Review

wogma rating: The keen should rent; else TV (?)
quick review:

The heart doesn't reach out to any of Bol's characters. It is slow and gets repetitive and preachy about serious topics like mistreatment of the girl-child and sexual orientation. The treatment doesn't let you get too involved.

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Wogma Review

Bol leaves you a huge "something is missing" feeling. The kind you can't point your finger at. Given the issue at hand, you are expecting a strong and what they call "hard-hitting" film. You know it will get preachy, you know it might be slow, you know it will be grim, so you are prepared for all of that. Given a topic as close to heart as "girl child" you want to be sucked into the drama and you want to be brought down to tears. But Bol forgets to engage with its focus on creating drama.

Bol's strength lies in its story which revolves around a very important topic. The dire situation of the girl child is not unique to Pakistan or Muslims. In remote corners of India, the same bias against giving birth to a girl child exists and it leads to heinous crimes. Bol creates a story around this issue and shows us the flaws in our society. It presents a different interpretation of the Qoran - the logical one, the one that actually glorifies Allah. An interpretation that should put to shame some of the current practices. The only irony is, in all likelihood, the film will never be seen by the people whose mindsets it wants to fight against. I won't be surprised if those people don't believe in watching films at all.

But, while making its point Bol becomes repetitive. And that's strange because it touches on two separate and vast issues and a few other issues like child molestation are touched upon. With so much to talk about, it shouldn't have had to repeat itself.

Along with the mistreatment of women, it comments upon transgender issues and their plight. But in showing the reality of how people think about these issues, I'm afraid certain misconceptions are reinforced. For example, how did a midwife know the sexual orientation of a child at birth? Is that possible? Maybe, I don't know enough.

Another factor that might have accentuated the disconnect is the performances. The lead actor, Manzar Sehbai the father of the girls who hated having them, had nothing menacing about himself and yet his wife and daughters were scared of him. He is a character we'd love to hate but he didn't even inspire that emotion. In fact, other than the lead lady, Humaima Malick, who plays the brave daughter, none of the actors made me feel anything for them. Even Humaima Malick's otherwise decent performance is watered down by the opening sequence and her spiel from the jail.

And yet, Zainub's tale, her all-important question in the climax are enough for me to recommend the film to you. It's a sad and depressing, longish story. The horrifying thing is real-life is only manifold worse than what is shown here.

- meeta, a part of the audience

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: Father beating his daughter. Murders.
  • Language: Clean Urdu.
  • Nudity & Sexual content: The first half revolves around the sexual orientation of one character. A whorehouse forms the center of the second half of the film. A rape is alluded to.
  • Concept: Mistreatment of girl-child and transgendered people.
  • General Look and Feel: Crisp, but a dark story.

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

  • Direction: 3
  • Story: 4
  • Lead Actors: 2.5
  • Character Artists: 2.5
  • Dialogues: 2.5
  • Screenplay: 2.5
  • Music Director: 2.5
  • Lyrics: 3

Bol - Movie Details

Bol - Trailer

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Comments (3)

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meetu:

I thought that's an acceptable spelling.

meetu:

@Samir oh is it? Didn't know this. Thanks and yes, should read up more :)

meetu:

@Suman We seemed to have liked Bol just the same.

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