Wednesday, April 9, 2008

For God's sake; a movie

Khuda Ke Liye, For God's sake; a Movie
'The film's script was kept under complete secrecy'

Article follows my comments;

I am pleased to share they bravery of this film and pick the point he has raised about terrorism.

Mike Ghouse

Khuda Ke Liye, For God's sake; a Movie


Khalid Mohamed, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, April 09, 2008

It's a brave, outspoken, film on the state of Islam. Surprisingly, the film has been embraced even by conservative sections of the global audience.

It’s common knowledge that the Pakistani film has been feted at numerous festivals. It’s news, though, that the ticket sales have picked up considerably at the Mumbai multiplexes where it was released five days ago. At some of the auditoria, there’s a large turn-out of women in burkas.

Surprisingly, too, it seems that Khuda Kay Liye was possible only because it had the de facto sanction of Pakistan’s President Pervez Musharraf. The film’s director Shoaib Mansoor discusses the obstacles that were in an interview with Khalid Mohamed. Initially, the 50-year-old writer-director is reluctant. He looks the other way when you want to know about what-happened and what-didn’t in the course of completing a project that raises quite a few uncomfortable questions.

Speaking in an Urdu laheza, lost to the Mumbaiya, he says, “I just dropped by after reading your review, socha milna munasib hai before I leave for Lahore.” It takes some doing, then, to get him clicked. A mug of tea later, he gets talking:

"The few friends I have did dissuade me from going ahead. So without making much of a noise, I did my research for six months."Did you need hausla? Did you have to steel yourself.. before starting on Khuda Kay Liye?

Before starting, I did tell myself, “Shoaib you don’t have too many friends.” The few friends I have did dissuade me from going ahead. So without making much of a noise, I did my research for six months. I knew I had to make my film after spending 30 years in television. I’ve done serials like Ankahee and Alpha Bravo Charlie..

Oh, Ankahee’s videos were pretty popular here. In the context of the religious complexities depicted in your film, can you tell me about your own upbringing?
(Wryly) Samajhiye parvarish na hone ke barabar thi. My mother is from Ajmer, my father from Ghazni, he worked at the Lahore high court, handling documents. My entire childhood went by in reading history, fiction..and sketching.

We were soft, madham people. My mother had this one big ambition.. that I should become a railway guard!

But wasn’t taking to entertainment criticised by your orthodox family?
Actually, we were 13 brothers in the family, we could all sing in sur.. yes, 13 because abba had married again. I have sung ghazals on radio, read the news, anchored programmes. I had to complete my MA in economics, before landing a job in television.
I believe you have made a TV feature on Anarkali.

Yes, Unilever wanted me to do a TV series on ishq. One was about a Sufi romance, then I did one on Anarkali. It’s still debated whether she existed or not.. but Lahore’s Anarkali Bazaar has her shrine. Believe it or not, this mazaar is located in an inconspicuous corner of the Punjab secretariat building. Next, Unilever offered to finance a feature film.

Aisa laga ki Id ho gayee. But when it came to approving the script, it took them six months to even get back tome. Being a multi-national company, they didn’t want to get into any kind of controversy. After a while, I looked for finance from a sarkari source, a loan helped.
I’m sure you must have had to contend with problems.

Beshumar problems. After a photo-shoot and even that picturisation of the courtroom scene with Naseer saab (Naseeruddin Shah), the two lead actors had to be dropped.. I’m accustomed to working with mainly newcomers.

Weren’t there political problems?
The script was kept under complete secrecy. Even the actors and technicians would be only shown a few scenes at a time. The film was shot in 45 days.. but spread over two years.
"The script was kept under complete secrecy. Even the actors and technicians would be only shown a few scenes at a time. The film was shot in 45 days.. but spread over two years."
Why didn’t your film’s main lead, Shan —said to be the Shah Rukh Khan of Pakistan — attend the Bombay premiere?

He didn’t want to come.. that was conveyed to me. But please, let’s talk about good things. At this point, to be honest, I would say the film wouldn’t have been possible without Pervez Musharraf saab. He saw it in the President’s House and backed me to the hilt.
Before the release of Khuda Kay Liye, maulvis of 20-25 madrasas had brought out fatwas against me, running into three pages. I was to be excommunicated. Yet, the reality is that fundamentalists are in a very small minority in Pakistan. Their presence is much more pronounced elsewhere.

How did the mullas react to your film?

(Laughs) But they don’t go to see films, it’s against their beliefs. But I felt so, so vindicated that after the film’s release in Pakistan (20 July, 2007), it was said that it should be shown in every college. See so many misconceptions continue.

It is the boy who is supposed to get the dahej (dowry) but with all sorts of influences, particularly in India, the onus is put on the girl’s family. Shouldn’t such points be brought up for debate?

Which misconceptions about Islam concern you most?

I truly believe that if more Muslims don’t go further in education and science, there will be little or no progress. My film is not about fundamentalism at all. That’s why I included the track about the American attitude after 9/11. It’s about, let’s forget US, Europe or India. Let’s go to the root cause of fundamentalism.. and terrorism. No one has bothered to say, the death of one terrorist gives birth to another hundred.

How does one go to the root cause?

By not turning away from it. From sitting across the table, at the highest level, and discussing its presence.

Are you thinking of a sequel to Khuda Kay Liye?
Yes. I left the film at a certain point with a sequel in mind. But it won’t be possible may be.. because I’ll need the same actors.. and some actors can be irresponsible.

Is the reference to your hero Shan?
He’s done nine-to-ten Punjabi films. For reasons best known to him, he doesn’t want to be associated with this film. In an interview, he had even stated, “Shoaib has made the film for himself and his friend. Who else will see it?” Now, he must be embarrassed of that statement.
But he did give an edge to your film. Certainly. (Laughs) He’s a born actor. A bit too healthy.. chubby. Nasamajh hai, he should have come here with us.

Is a truce possible?

No, not even if it means abandoning the sequel. Shan believes he has given something to the film.. but the film has given him nothing. How do you argue with such a person?
"I did see Jodhaa-Akbar but thought it was cast all wrong.. and its script trivialised history.. it said it was fiction.. it claimed to be researched history"Are you satisfied with the way your film was publicised in Mumbai?

Things seemed to be low-key. I couldn’t expect the film to be promoted on the scale of Om Shanti Om, could I? Percept Pictures has moved cautiously.. I think it’s been okay.
So are you directing a film for them?

I’ve been offered a film by them and two other producers. But let’s see, I don’t know what they would expect of me. I haven’t been seeing too many Hindi films of late.. I did see Jodhaa-Akbar but thought it was cast all wrong.. and its script trivialised history.. it said it was fiction.. it claimed to be researched history.. kuchh samajh mein nahin aaya.
Stop.. do you want to get into another controversy? Jaise aapki marzi.

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quraan burning

Planned Muslim Response to Qur'an Burning by Pastor Jones on September 11 in Mulberry, Florida

August 19, 2013| Dallas, Texas

Mike Ghouse
Text/Talk: (214) 325-1916

Mirza A Beg
(205) 454-8797


We as Muslims plan to respond to pastor Terry Jones' planned burning of 3000 copies of Quran on September 11, 2013 in positive terms.

Our response - we will reclaim the standard of behavior practiced by the Prophet concerning “scurrilous and hostile criticism of the Qur’an” (Muhammad Asad Translation Note 31, verse 41:34). It was "To overcome evil with good is good, and to resist evil by evil is evil." It is also strongly enjoined in the Qur’an in the same verse 41:34, “Good and evil deeds are not equal. Repel evil with what is better; then you will see that one who was once your enemy has become your dearest friend.”

God willing Muslims will follow the divine guidance and pray for the restoration of Goodwill, and on that day many Muslim organizations will go on a “blood drive” to save lives and serve humanity with kindness.

We invite fellow Americans of all faiths, races, and ethnicities to join us to rededicate the pledge, “One nation under God”, and to build a cohesive America where no American has to live in apprehension, discomfort or fear of fellow Americans. This event is a substitute for our 10th Annual Unity Day Celebration ( held in Dallas, but now it will be at Mulberry, Florida.

Unwittingly Pastor Jones has done us a favor by invigorating us by his decision to burn nearly 3000 copies Quran on September 11, 2013. Obviously he is not satisfied by the notoriety he garnered by burning one Qur'an last year.

As Muslims and citizens we honor the free speech guaranteed in our constitution. We have no intentions to criticize, condemn or oppose Pastor Terry Jones' freedom of expression. Instead, we will be donating blood and praying for goodness to permeate in our society.

We plan to follow Jesus Christ (pbuh), a revered prophet in Islam as well as Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) – that of mitigating the conflicts and nurturing good will for the common good of the society.

We hope, this event and the message will remind Muslims elsewhere in the world as well, that violence is not the way. Muslims, who react violently to senseless provocation, should realize that, violence causes more violence, and besmirches the name of the religion that we hold so dear. We believe that Prophet Muhammad was a mercy to the mankind, and we ought to practice what we believe and preach. We must not insult Islam by the negative reactions of a few.

We can only hope it will bring about a change in the attitude of the followers of Pastor Jones, and in the behavior of those Muslims who reacted violently the last time Pastor sought notoriety – We hope this small step towards a bridge to peaceful coexistence would propel us towards building a cohesive society.

Like most Americans a majority of Muslims quietly go about their own business, but it is time to speak up and take positive action instead of negative reaction. May this message of peace and goodwill reverberate and reach many shores.

Lastly, we appreciate the Citizens of Mulberry, Florida, Honorable Mayor George Hatch, City Commissioners, police and Fire Chiefs for handing this situation very well. This will add a ‘feather of peace’ in the City’s reputation. We hope Mulberry will be a catalyst in showing the way in handling conflict with dignity and peace.

We thank the Media for giving value to the work towards peace rather than conflict.


Thank you.


The people in Dallas are making an effort to understand and clean their own hearts first, when we are free from bias, it would be easy to share that with others. Islam teaches us in so many ways to "respect the otherness of others" and it is time we find simple practical ways of doing it.