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Khuda Kyay Liye -

Khuda Kyay Liye -

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Published by Dilshan Boange
A film review written on the movie Khuda Kyay Liye (In the name of God) which was published in The Nation.
A film review written on the movie Khuda Kyay Liye (In the name of God) which was published in The Nation.

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Categories:Types, Reviews, Film
Published by: Dilshan Boange on Nov 14, 2011
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05/14/2013

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Khuda Khay Liye (In the name of God): Not a plea, not a defense but a statement.By Dilshan Boange
Film festivals hosted by diplomatic missions in Sri Lanka generally evoke a buzz every yearamongst filmgoers who have a taste for cultural diversity. The first ever Pakistan film festivalhosted by the Pakistan High Commission in Colombo opened in grand ceremonial style onFriday the 4
th
of November at the auditorium of the National Film Corporation marking anotherstride in creating cultural dialogue between Sri Lanka and Pakistan. One of the notables of thisevent which was graced by a cross-section of high profile figures was also that it was a platformfor the government of Pakistan to send out a salutary message to the people of Sri Lanka.The notion of fanaticism and fundamentalism being more or less inherent to Muslims or thefollowers of Islam has been growing amongst people throughout the world in the aftermath of the terrorist attack on the USA on September 11
th
2001. And made part and parcel of this
viewpoint is the word ‘Jihad’ or ‘holy war’ which seems to be a word utilized by fundamentalists
and proponents of extremism in the Islamic world and also doubly serves the cause of those whopresent a moral right to confront the Islamic world under the banner of protecting their national
interests and justifying ‘preemptive attacks’.
In this regard I wish to draw attention to the wordsof Her Excellency Seema Ilahi Baloch the High Commissioner of Pakistan in Sri Lanka, who inthe opening address pointed out how the word
 Jihad 
 
is meant to speak of the ‘war within us’
thehuman soul, and speaks of the need for the triumph of good over evil. It is very much a facet of interiority that comes into focus if one therefore approaches the concept of Jihad.The film itself was something very much off the beaten track and brought out aspects of life inthe aftermath of the 9/11 attacks which actually were fitted into the larger contexts of two verypotent themes relating to contemporary South Asian people. Firstly the all too well known
migrant identity
crisis was brought out through the character of the Pakistani father Hassanwho is domiciled in UK having migrated as a young man and at a crossroads with a nubiledaughter who is every bit a Brit in her outlooks and wants to marry her sweetheart Dave, aBriton. Secondly the dilemma brought onto Muslims around the world in being brandedextremists and fundamentalists
and therefore termed ‘terrorists’.
The communal impact (caused by fellow Pakistanis in UK) opposing marriages between aMuslim woman and a non-Muslim man becomes the trigger that makes Hassan impose his
 paternal will on his daughter which interestingly takes on a very ‘by way of 
deception
modusoperandi. He takes her to his home country on the pretense of taking her to visit her cousins and
 
relatives whom she has never met and entraps her in a forced marriage in a remote localebetween the borders of Pakistan and Afghanistan where tribal law dominates and the government
itself cannot impose its authority arbitrarily. The groom interestingly enough is Hassan’s
younger nephew who is drawn towards hard line fundamentalism, owing to the pontifications of a certain mullah who lures him to believe he is doing the work of god. On another side of theworld in the USA the older nephew of Hassan who is passionately devoted to his study of musicfollows his higher studies in musicology and becomes romantically involved with a US girl, aclassmate who sees no barriers of race or religion between them. And with parental consent thetwo marry but their newly found life of marital happiness is short lived after the events of 9/11,which plunges the US into paranoia driven by the need for airtight national security measures toensure no stone is left unturned. The musician is abducted at night from his house and taken intogovernment custody and subjected to brutal treatment which flagrantly violates all notions of human rights. And all of this is done on a baseless assumption that by virtue of being a Muslimand a (Pakistani at that) there must be some link between him and Al-Qaeda. The severe beatinghe finally receives leaves him in a state of mental infirmity.The daughter of Hassan, Mary or Miriam (as her Muslim name would be) who is held captive in
the ‘border region’
is made to forcibly bear a child after her bid made in desperation to escape isthwarted, and her
‘husband’ is told by a friend
to create more pressing conditions to anchor her.Yet her salvation comes when she manages to have a letter posted to Dave in UK explaining herplight.
I won’t describe
the final outcome which results in a remarkable unfolding of revelationsabout the
politics of 
interpretation’
when it comes to the word of god written in the Holy Koran.I do not want to summarize this last part of the film which really carries the thrust of the messageabout how religiosity can be hijacked and made to serve politics of extremism and people insearch of god can be easily mislead.I would urge Sri Lankans to watch
Khuda Khay Liye
(In the name of God) because of the recordsets straight about many misconceptions borne commonly about Islam and its followers. Ibelieve the Pakistani HC has made a very progressive step in developing better dialogue betweenour two countries by hitting on a crucial matter that needs to be addressed with wider discussionin this present political landscape. And if I were to say that this film seemed one which is meantfor non
 – 
Muslim people alone I feel I would be wrong. Perhaps it is also a message to Muslimsin general that can help better the cordiality between Muslim and non-Muslim communities tobetter grasp what can be prone to misrepresentation and what needs to be discussed with a moreopen mind. I strongly felt the film was not a plea to the world at large to urge the world tounderstand the true essence of Islam, nor was it in defense of the word of the Holy Koran whichlike any holy scripture can be interpreted for purposes other than the advancement of spirituality,

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