“BOL” Speaking out loud

Pakistani film 'Bol'

 

Pakistani women find a powerful voice in Shoaib Mansoor’s epic “Bol”, currently playing in theaters across New York, as part of its worldwise release in June this year.

Set against the decaying Moghul landscape of the old parts of Lahore city in Pakistan, the film titled “Bol” meaning ‘speak’ holds no punches as it addresses many issues ranging from the sensitive to downright taboo that afflict women and other downtrodden members of Pakistani society. The story revolves around an orthodox Muslim [Hakim] chemist and his family consisting of seven daughters. Issues regarding the discrmination against daughters and the desire to have sons form the spine of the story. But the film also touches on explosive topics like homosexuality, the ostracization of transvestites, taboo of divorce and even rape.

The film comes at a crucial time for Pakistan, a country struggling from extremist islamist elements deeper idealogical issues of identity, where liberal and conservative forces tussle for control. But a lot of the issue and prejudices highlighted are not just restricted to Pakistan and the film also found audiences  in the neighboring country of India, providing a respite for audiences looking for a change from the usual Bollywood masala flick.

For audiences in New York, the film offers an intimate glance into Pakistanis society, and despite a strong focus on the many harsh references, the film manages to find a postive light in the determination and courage of its female protagonists.

Catch showtimes at AMC Empire 25 theater on West 42nd Street, NY 10036.

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