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Movie Review: Bol by Shoaib Mansoor

Bol is one of the movies I’ve watched recently and really enjoyed. This is one movie you must watch.

Bol is the story of a family in Pakistan – a father, a mother, 7 daughters and a transsexual son. Through the story Shoaib Mansoor explores various angles of life in Pakistan and Islam. The movie released in June, 2011 and became the highest earning movie in Pakistan in its first week of release.

The need of a son – the girl child just isn’t good enough
The family has 7 daughters because the father wants a son. He doesn’t think its right for a woman to work outside the house and hence keeps trying to have a son. He finally gets a transsexual son Saifi, who he is ashamed of and keeps hidden away. The women in the family love Saifi but to his father he is only a reminder of his failure. The daughters are shown to each have talents and are good at what they do – but their talents are never recognized by the father only because they are women.

Shoaib brings out the inequality between men and women at various times. The father is allowed to do just about anything but he has rules for ‘his’ women. They are not allowed a life outside the confines of the house. They are required to show him respect and loyalty but these rules don’t apply to him. He does not require to earn more to feed the children he is producing by the year, rather they have to find a way to live in what he gives them. Finally after a few children born dead the eldest daughter intervenes and gets her mother operated. The father being a Hakim or doctor does not see what his wife is going through with each child birth, he believes ardently that God Giveth so he Provideth.

Twisting Islam
The teachings of Islam are questioned in the movie. The father, a Hakim and a learned man quotes scripture in all he does but he twists the meaning to suit his requirement at that time. He does not approve of his daughter marrying a Shia Muslim but goes ahead and marries a Kanjar (dancing) girl in his need for money. The way the common man blindly believes in religion is also shown when the Hakim marries Mina the dancing girl. The Kanjar offers the Hakim money to impregnate his daughter but even though its not required the Hakim marries Mina to reduce his guilt of infidelity and promiscuity.

Transsexual Pathos
Saifi, the transsexual son does a good depiction of the pathos of being born different. He is loved by the women even though they are not happy with him being a transsexual but his father sees him as a mistake, a hit to his ego and a personal insult that he is not good enough. Saifi in trying to win his fathers heart finds work painting trucks but is raped one day while the master isn’t around. He comes home and tells his family who are stricken but to his father this is his fears coming to life. Rather than console the traumatized child, the Hakim sees his image being blacked in society and kills his son.

Modern Vs Old Pakistan
The movie shows two generations and types of people. The young and the old. The liberal and the conservative. Shoaib shows the way the thinking is changing in Pakistan. The movie itself speaks a lot about the people of Pakistan today and what they want as their future.

An apt name for the movie ‘Bol’ or speak in Urdu as it speaks at so many levels. This movie like I said earlier is a must watch!

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