Movie Review: Bol (2011)

Users Rating: [ratings] ★★★☆☆
Box Office: Flop

High drama is clearly Pakistani television veteran Shoaib Mansoor’s preferred mode. In his sophomore big screen outing, he carries on pretty much from where the widely lauded Khuda Kay Liye had ended. That was all of four years ago and matters have only got worse. So the writer-director is still seething at what the loony fringe appears to be doing to his nation. In Bol, he pours his indignation out in no uncertain terms. It is strident, melodramatic and unmistakably out for the jugular. But in the end, it drives home its point in a manner that is compelling enough for all the effort not to be dismissed as much ado about nothing.

Mansoor sets the tone and tenor at the very outset. A young Lahore woman, having defiantly refrained from defending herself in court, is sentenced to death. The President of Pakistan summarily rejects her mercy plea. The convict is, however, granted a last wish: she is allowed to tell her side of the story to the media before she is led to the gallows.

The camera crews and pen-pushers take up their positions and the stern jailor sets a firm 4 am deadline. The hangman won’t wait a minute more, he thunders. The girl breaks her silence and takes us back into her benighted life in a conservative household that is more prison than home. And thus begins Bol.

As far as style and substance go, this indictment of religious orthodoxy and patriarchal tyranny speaks the same language as Khuda Kay Liye, the film with which Mansoor burst upon the Pakistani cinema scene in 2007, triggering hopes of a revival of a moribund movie industry.

But the impact of Bol isn’t quite as dramatic. It seems, at least in parts, to unduly overreach itself, meandering desultorily through a maze of narrative contrivances before it gets down to delivering its predictable climactic you-have-nothing-to-lose-but-your-shackles exhortation to women scorned.

Be that as it may, Bol has much going for it. It is an undoubtedly gutsy film that touches upon sensitive social issues with exemplary courage.


Good Reviews  |  Average Reviews  |  Bad Reviews
Positive Reviews
4.0 “A brilliant film embellished with bravura performances. Not to be missed!”
Bollywood Hungama
4.0 “Shoaib Mansoor has once again made you think. Once again he has taken on a subject everyone should be talking about.”
4.0 “Topical and thought-provoking, Bol is a film you must not miss .”
4.0 “Bol lies a message for us all, to speak out against oppression, be it in the political sphere or the personal.”
4.0 “Bol deserves a watch for its sheer brilliance in acting as well as storyline. It leaves behind questions that shake many rigid notions without getting preachy. “
4.0 “iven the choice of films this week, Bol is your best bet.”
3.5 “Bol is superlative with a larger message for the society.”
3.5 “It is a film packed with emotion, high drama and humor.”
3.0 “The roots of Bol lie firmly in Pakistan’s contemporary reality, but its heart seems to be more in consonance with the traditions of commercial Mumbai movies than with the cinema of protest that it aspires to be.”
NDTV Movies
3.0 “Bol is moving, but also underwhelming”
DNA India
Average Reviews
Negative Reviews
2.0 “Bol is a masterpiece of a film.”


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