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'Bol' gets Indians talking


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“Bol is a ubiquitous film- whether a Muslim family in Lahore or a Hindu family in Bihar, everyone can relate to it”

DEHLI: Facing stiff competition from Salman Khan’s Bodyguard on Eid, Pakistani film Bol is managing to hold its own thanks to the word of mouth publicity.

Dealing with multiple issues ranging from misogyny to prostitution to fanaticism, Bol is director Shoaib Mansoor’s second offering after Khuda Ke Liye. Bol was released alongside mega blockbuster Bodyguard, ‘That girl in yellow boots’ and ‘Mummy Punjabi’. Unlike Khan’s masala movie, Bol offers a riveting storyline and great acting, with people publicising the film more than the PR agencies.

For starters, there is actress Vidya Balan who says, “Loved Bol! Love the performance of the father. The boy who played Saifuddin was cute. My heart went out to him.”

As one of the audience members, Tushar Pahwa, walking out after a show puts it, “Bol is a ubiquitous film- whether a Muslim family in Lahore or a Hindu family in Bihar, everyone can relate to it. Women and transgenders are disrespected in India and Pakistan both. I just hope people start to speak up after watching the movie. It was a good gift for Eid.”

Many have given the tickets to family and friends in beautiful gift envelopes as eidi. “This was my eidi to my sister The film’s message has been well received and I felt my sister must see this movie as an example,” says Shahnawaz Siddique, a shop keeper.

Film critic Taran Adarsh says, “I have a problem with the distributors of Bol, who have come up with a wrong strategy to release the film at the same time as Bodyguard. I think this was a blunder. If it were released at any other time the collections would have been much higher. The word of mouth publicity of the film is good and I would like to say that it is definitely doing better than the other two movies released the same week.”

Even the distributors are happy with the increasing popularity of Bol. Amita from the corporate communications of Eros International, the distributing company, explains, “Media across the board has liked the film and has been extremely supportive of the film. The response has been positive overall. It was the company’s strategy for a worldwide release on Eid. As for India, the numbers are still pouring in but in the middle east the film is doing very well.”

Even Salman Khan fans have expressed their liking for Bol. Pankaj Mishra, a movie buff who watched both Bodyguard and Bol on the same day explains, “There is no comparison between the two. While one is a masala movie for the masses, the other is a serious issue based film. It is sad but true that masala movies always do well in India as they are over hyped and well marketed. The real good cinema gets left behind. Bol is a brilliant film and off late Pakistani movie makers are doing a good job.”

Adarsh also emphasises the brilliance of the film, “I think it is one of the most amazing films to have come out of Pakistan. Shoaib Mansoor excelled in Khuda Ke Liye but this film has gone beyond that.”

People are already watching it twice. Sunita Sinha, another movie buff has a reason to do so, “For me the film has a strong message and inspires me to be brave. I can actually watch it again.”

The tag of a film from Pakistan is one of the main attractions. Anshu Sondhi, a film student, had to see this film as she missed out on Mansoor’s Khuda Ke Liye. She supports the film, “Bol's concept is different and the actors are good. It gives us an insight into the Pakistani society and we Indians always want to know more about Pakistan. We want to understand the country and the people beyond what our governments want us to believe and see. Movies like Bol bring us closer to our neighbours.”

Kritika Rai, a businesswoman came to know about the film from a friend. She says, “We Indians don’t have that sense to appreciate good movies like Bol and we waste our time on watching stupid movies like Ready and Bodyguard. I think we should support good cinema whether it is from India or Pakistan.”

There is a buzz about Bol in Bollywood also. Many screenings of the film were done before its commercial release. Naseeruddin Shah, icon of Indian cinema, who was to play the role of the father in Bol, praised the film. In an interview to, an entertainment magazine website, he admires the film, “Bol is absolutely the kind of film that Khuda Ke Liye should be followed up by. It deals with an even more important statement like faith and empowerment of women. I have seldom seen a statement made with as much power and feeling as this film. This is yet another film to be proud of. I can only find myself wishing I was a part of this film."

Bollywood has welcomed the movie from across the border and have supported the idea of art beyond boundaries.  Samir Soni, who acted in films like Kabhie Khushi Kabhi Gham, Fashion and others explains, “To coexist and prosper we need to have a better understanding of each other and issues that affect us. It is only then we realise how similar we truly are and this ends fear and resentment. Cinema is perhaps the most important medium that takes you up close and personal and should not be bound by political boundaries.”

The social theme of the movie has attracted the intelligentsia. Rukmini Sen, a senior entertainment journalist, describes the film as “rebellious, brave and original”. She adds, “Bol talks about the state of third gender in Pakistan. Condition of women and third gender is pathetic in most parts of Asia so the film represents the silence of many of us. Bol deconstructs issues of sexuality and sexual identity very sensitively. It sees the issue in its larger context of patriarchy, feudalism, religion and nation state.”

The treatment of the story is much talked about. Satish Sharma, a painter by profession after watching the film appreciated the director’s strokes. “It was a joy to see how the director puts some of the old world wisdom in the right perspective. Whenever the father of the actress tried to escape a situation by quoting old quotes, she would correct him by putting his lines in the correct perspective. I thought it was intelligently handled.”

While the praises are outdoing the critics, but not all have liked the film. Babita Verma, a social worker by profession objects to the melodrama in the movie especially while dealing with real issues.  “It began at some point and ended at another. The director moved away from the plot. It was not comprehensive and dragged at the end,’ disapproves Verma.”

Some have even believed the word of mouth publicity to be the truth. Karishma Kapoor, a teacher, has not seen the film based on her friend’s feedback. “I have heard it is long, technically poor and acting is bad. After this feedback I don’t think I want to go and watch the film. I will catch it on television, as it is a film from Pakistan.”

Comments (72) Closed

Hasnain Ahmed Sep 05, 2011 05:55pm
Nice article Ravinder, you gave a good insight of the Indian viewers point of view.
NARESH SHARMA Sep 05, 2011 06:16pm
Mansoor Bhai excellent, par excellence, drawn picture of society in a very realistic and touching manners. Bore ho gaye thay sir, in plastic nature of films ko dekh kar. wonderful casting, Thanks for releasing in INDIA. Regards.
Sanghita Sep 05, 2011 06:28pm
True the story..cut across borders and very relevant to whole of South Asia and yes its for a niche audience in India.. hope we can see more good films in coming years from Pakistan.
Talha Siddiqi Sep 05, 2011 06:40pm
Worth watching ! Absolutely fantastic experience - since it launched in Toronto last week , there have been tons of people going out to watch and its catching up on the box office
F. Alam Sep 05, 2011 06:57pm
I am going to see the film on Wednesday with friends (in London). I am waiting anxiously.
Sanju Sep 05, 2011 07:14pm
Well to me now its unimaginable to expect such serious movies from Indian our counterparts. I would say that BOL is probably best movie I have seen since long. It touches the serious issues of the society whether it be India or Pakistan. I congratulate Humaima Mallik for her superlative performance. Iman Ali would have been the best seller if she would have born in India. Above all Manzar Shebai aka Hakin shahab was flawless in his performance. This one was better than Khuda ke Liye and hope Shoaib will come up with another such serious movie. lots of wishes to shoaib and his team. May God Bless them all
Uday Sep 05, 2011 07:53pm
i really want to see this movie but it is not running in any cineplex of my city. Distribution and publicity of this film is really bad here in india. btw best of luck to makers and actors of Bol.
syed zaheer Sep 05, 2011 07:56pm
Best film ever watched, Finally Pakistan who is known for best tv dramas has entered the Big screen in an impressive way.
Kalyan Sep 05, 2011 08:43pm
Its nice to see the comments..would like to see the film. Pakistan is blessed with exceptional talents, be it in Cricket or Culture. Just thinking had it be a secular country like India and if they were not facing home grown problems, they could have prosper like any developed country... Anyways best of luck...
zain Sep 05, 2011 08:50pm
“BOL” is very natural movie I would suggest other Pakistani And India film makers must follow and stop making unnatural and unrealistic movie, filming the movie overseas and give this perception it's India but if you visit the country it turns out to be opposite like what visitors experienced during Common Wealth Game If Indians audience wants to know more about Pakistan ask your Govt to lift the ban from Pakistani Channels, you guys can't be living in intense communism and socialized atmosphere Indian Govt cant force their citizen to watch and know what ever they want to tell or show you guys
Danish Sep 05, 2011 08:53pm
Great Movie and best of luck in the future.
Sahira Sep 05, 2011 08:55pm
Glad that you guys enjoyed it. It's a good movie no doubt but we Pakistanis really didn't expect it to be well received in India.So it's nice to know.
Asad Sep 05, 2011 08:59pm
Best Urdu/Hindi film I've ever seen. I watched it few days back with my one of my friends, here in Leeds (UK). It touched our hearts - all the ladies in the back row were weeping - some scenes left me in tears! The film is so true about the ugly realities of our society, which no one dares to talk about. Congratulations Shoaib Mansoor (ShoMan) - proud of you.
Prasad Sep 05, 2011 09:16pm
I have seen this movie on the first day in London. It is a must watch movie. Rural population of Hindustan and Pakistan share same kind of problems. We all should strive for the change in both the countries for the problems & mindsets.
Prasad Sep 05, 2011 09:20pm
I was really looking forward to watch this movie and the movie is fantastic. I wish to see more Pakistani movies. It somehow gives me a feeling that we are not at all different. We have same feelings, same sense of humour, same love, same problems. I really dont know why media/polititians keep giving negative picture of each other.
Pakistani Sep 05, 2011 09:29pm
very good article Ravinder.. keep writing!
irfan Hussain99 Sep 05, 2011 10:24pm
In London I watched it on Friday with friends. On Sunday I went again and house was full – I didn’t find a seat and waited outside the cinema for about 3 hours to get the second show. Humaima Malik was fabulous. Commercial movies’ actresses of current age are far behind her in mature acting – she has left me speechless.
Ali S Sep 05, 2011 10:59pm
I really wish that the cast was as solid as the subject matter. As was the case with Khuda Ke Liye, here Shoaib Mansoor takes on a very ambitious idea but the execution is rather droopy. But this is a fledgling industry and there's still a long way to go. Of course, for our Indian neighbours this is a welcome relief from the same old stuff they're used to.
gk Sep 05, 2011 11:29pm
the most disaapointing thing about bol is the slowness of urdu dialect. to be honest, if this film would have been made in punjabi it would have been a much better watch. there r scenes in which the characters opt to go punjabi and that go so much in sync with fastpace south asian society.
salmah ahmed Sep 06, 2011 12:50am
Bol very sensitively redefines and brings to the limelight some intense taboo issues of Pakistani society that just cant be ignored anymore! It pertinently questions why the character 'Saifee' is ostracized from society and demonized when he too is human and hence worthy of respect and love? Why cant these people have a normal life-why cant they have a place in schools and offices and the right to a decent life? It questions the subservience of women and the concept of blind religious obedience. Shoaib Mansoor is a brilliant Director and his work should be commended for reaching out to the masses and trying to change dogmatic and regressive ideologies.
Mohi Sep 06, 2011 02:14am
Always heartening to read our films are being appreciated across the border in India : ). Thank you.
ivehadit Sep 06, 2011 02:16am
Wonderful movie. Touches on a number of sensitive topics - societal values, hypocrisy and religious whitewashing, repression and exploitation of women, human rights, chauvinism, corruption, you name it. It's great that Pakistanis are confronting all these issues. With people like Shoaib Mansoor, here's hope that the great middle will win out after all. Miss it at your own peril. Many congratulations.
Joy Sep 06, 2011 02:18am
I and my wife saw it last week in Kolkata. A strong story, very well told. Acting is exceptionally good. It appears that the whole team was fully committed and had made a special effort to make this film a success. Will look forward to see more such good movies from Pakistan.
Muhammad Arshad Sep 06, 2011 02:36am
I just watched it in Westborough, Boston suburb, with my family. It is a very intense movie. The acting is superb. The setting is very realistic. It is worth watching.
Imrana Sep 06, 2011 03:38am
does it have English subtitles? i want to watch it with a friend who doesn't know hindi
rizwan bhatti Sep 06, 2011 04:25am
fantastic! Gr8 job ever done by any pakistani director.. Shoaib manxor did it in a very realistic manner, even greater work than khuda k liye, coz who tries to make it controversial(lyk khuda k liye) vl hv to think 4 many tymz.. Simply the best, plz dnt compare it with mostly boring bollywood muvees, it z a real art work.. Thnx shoaib 4 giving such a nyc gift to pakistanies..
asim Sep 06, 2011 05:19am
Brilliant,bold,realistics and imaginative.One of the master piece from Pakistan.The movie draws the realistic picture of every day social issueso of Paksitani society but no one dares to speak about that.Shoaib speaks boldly about that.A must for every one.
Syed Anwar Hasnat Sep 06, 2011 05:42am
Excellent movie! I see a lot of English and Indian movies. This movie is truly exceptional, a must see.
Razia Ibrahim Sep 06, 2011 05:50am
Bravo!Shoab Mansoor.You are amazing and I am proud of you. This movie had absolutely no flaws.It was one of the finest movies I have seen in a while.Keep up the good work
naved Sep 06, 2011 06:53am
There are so many important issues in Pakistan which can be topic of movies and get super hit performance but this is the topic that the producers picked... What a waste of talent and money on non issue... Ridicolous
Bilal A Sep 06, 2011 07:30am
I hope it's released in Pittsburgh USA.
chakraborty Sep 06, 2011 08:30am
Hundreds of Parallel movies come out of Kerala, Maharashtra Bengal every year and win National Awards which Pakistanis are not aware of. Very few Pakistanis know about Directors like Satyajit Ray (Greatest Indian Director and 1st to win Oscar), Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Ritwik Ghatak, Mrinal Sen who were face of Serious Indian Cinema worldwide. Hope Pakistan get to see work of these masters. India is more than Bollywood and StarPlus. Its doesn't portrays even 10% of India. Yes Bol is a good movie and I liked it, I watched bodyguard too which was purely for Salman fans who usually watch his movies 15-20 times. The timing of release was wrong. But at last its a good piece of work by Shoaib Mansoor.
Devan (Chennai) Sep 06, 2011 09:51am
It leaves you with a lump in the throat at the end.. amazing movie.. Humaima and Manzar sehba were absolutely brilliant.. the different shades of characters at times make you think whether to like them or hate them.. kudos..
Maheedhar Sep 06, 2011 09:58am
The Film was good ....but it was too long and so many issues where handled in single film ......really came to know what the situation is like in Pakistan.......and also the release date was not good....fighting with big budget films.....
farwa Sep 06, 2011 10:04am
This is the best movie I've seen though depressing but highlights the vices of society and brings awareness in people that what is happening around. BOL symbolizes the power of a woman and has given a lot of courage to under priviledged class although its a bit difficult to change the society at once but at least Mr.Shoaib Mansoor has taken a step for the initiation. So I wish him all the best for his new ventures.
rashid Zaidi,Ca. USA Sep 06, 2011 10:53am
I see Indians who comment so positively of things Pakistani, tghat is so good. In indian papers the story is very different, perhaps a more mature readership writes in Dawn. The thing of it is we need to build trust and take the bogy man away. We are cut out of the same cloth, we acan be good neighbors and benifical to each other rather than spend billions on arms which are counter productive at best.More such exchanges and no more visas to travel will go a long way to ease the atmosphere of mistrust.We need to do that and I think people in both countries are ready for it.
james Sep 06, 2011 11:20am
misogny, prostitution and fanacticism can never be non isues. Shoaib Mansoor dwells on the dark side that we always ignore. i vouch for all that Shoaib brings forward as we all observe our surroundings but tend to ignore. Shoaib has sensitized the society rightly, we will surely have a radical shift soon. the young generation will surely respond and Pakistan will be blessed with a future of love. God bless Shoaib God bless Pakistan
M.YASEEN Sep 06, 2011 12:10pm
Its very fantestic job great mind by shoaib mansur really nice...
shama Sep 06, 2011 12:21pm
this is non issue? What are issues then? Please enlighten us.
Samarjeet Sep 06, 2011 12:25pm
Why not the movie "Bhai Log" is not released in India ??????? I have fallen in love wd Pakistani movies ......
zafar Sep 06, 2011 01:39pm
pakistan should remake old good pakistani films and release in India to meet Indian films.Because old pakistani films can meet the Indian films. I believe the person like shoaib will make more films to support pakistani cinema.
Sajan (Dubai) Sep 06, 2011 02:16pm
I love dawn news & articles. Now I am going to watch BOL....
Asif Sep 06, 2011 02:29pm
Very happy to see more positive comments from my neighbor. Only day after tomorrow my exam is to be , i just start to read the article that i would read only one or two paragraghs , when i stop it has end. Awesome written article . thanks Ravinder Bawa. I like.
SFM Sep 06, 2011 03:01pm
when I heard about BOL the first time. I was expecting a revival of Pakistani Cinema. Indeed its a good film but its hard for the world to know the real Pakistan, friendly, welcoming and educated, with this film. Bollywood do churn similar kind of films with every 10 other entertaining films, giving the message that despite having domestic problems they are open and like others in the rest of the world. Here, the only international release is giving the impression of how submissive and torturous our vision is. We have some good Tele-films. Why don't Pakistanis release those urban film first. This was a disappointing effort from Shoaib Manzoor as a international release further tarnishing the image of Pakistan. All in All Disappointing!!!
Prasad Sep 06, 2011 03:50pm
We were divided and ruled. That effect of division has not yet ended and we are still being ruled indirectly and looted indirectly. We both purchase arms from west otherwise their budgets will go for toss. Our polititians fill their pockets by appeasing west. Dont know why we dont spend the money on education, drinking water, roads, rural development. Change has to come within ourselves instead of waiting for someone else to do something for us. If each of be good and do good, we have done a minumum part for our society to start with.
Ratnesh Sep 06, 2011 03:50pm
Grt Movie!! 10k times better than Bodyguard.. Keep producing such films..Congratulation to whole crew team.. Well done!! Cheers Ratnesh
Javeria Mahmood Sep 06, 2011 04:02pm
BOL is such a time and money waste movie... Poor Script, Poor Acting and Poor Voice and Picture quality.....
Muhammad Ali Sep 06, 2011 04:35pm
dude, Its like another bollywood masala movie but with abit low quality camera and audio work:) so i wudn't like that to be released there, you perhaps have seen it trailer on youtube
irfan Hussain99 Sep 06, 2011 05:03pm
Yes, It has got English sub-titles. Lots of people will be able to understand the movie even without subtitles though
Ammar Sep 06, 2011 05:46pm
One of the pathetic movie ever produced. Don't know what shoaib Mansor is trying to make by producing such movies.
Hamza Sep 06, 2011 06:55pm
Excellent movie..ddefinitely worth it!!
Poo Sep 06, 2011 07:10pm
It can reach more people in India if it is dubbed into Hindi from Urdu.
Fact Writer Sep 06, 2011 07:16pm
Did not realize its a Pakistani movie. !! Nicee work.. Looked like bollywood.
bham bham bole Sep 06, 2011 07:26pm
Poor movie with substandard acting and background music, technically very poor not expected from Pakistan known for good TV serials
Kami (Riyadh) Sep 06, 2011 07:36pm
Dear Shoaib sahib, You are so talented guy taht one of the famous western director say about you that he (shoaib) can do any thing. I can not undersatnd why you are wasting ur energies on such ridiculous tpoic??????????
Bilal Ahmed Sep 06, 2011 08:21pm
I had will to see this movie but unfortunately it is not available in Malaysia :(
ram gopal Sep 06, 2011 08:59pm
I have not seen Bol but from what I hear. May be these type of movies are a niche the Pakistani film makers can exploit to compete with Bollywood. Bollywood has been churning out the same masala formula for decades,it is time someone gave them some competition and make them think out of the box.
vinny Sep 06, 2011 10:00pm
'Bol' is not released in the south I think. I will have to watch it in internet. And please, do not confine Indian cinema to mere Bollywood. Regional Indian films are by far the best and most of recent successful bollywood films such as Bombay, Dil Se, Roja, Ghajini, Robot, Jeans, Raavan, Hindustani, Hey Ram, Saathiya etc are regional films either remade or dubbed in Hindi. All states in India produce good quality films with strong story lines and convincing scripts with excellent characterization which remain unknown to outside world.
Jas Sep 06, 2011 10:03pm
It was a Great Movie, i don't know what you guys(two commentators below me) are on about?
sheikh ali Sep 06, 2011 10:59pm
thanks to all Indian who appropriate this movie this movie is very fantastic
nisbat Sep 06, 2011 06:24pm
BOl is a fantastic movie .......... i love it ........ u gays must watch it ............
meer Sep 06, 2011 06:35pm
This is not entertainment! electronic and print media are full of agonies that we see everyday. You go out with your family and watch for 3 hours....sadertainment. In Pakistan we need comedy movies especially geared toward corruption. If we make movie about policticians and their white truth (lies) with entertainment it would produce much fun and impact.
Shahab Sep 06, 2011 11:38pm
Great Movie, watched it in chicago - loved it specially the songs. When the movie started I was about to leave as I don't live melodrama but my wife insisted on staying for a few more minutes and by the way that was the best decision I made.
Forbidden Fruit Sep 07, 2011 12:03am
It seems Pakistani audience were far less forgiving and supportive of their own movie than their indian counterparts. All the reviews I read in our papers were negative, this is the first one that's positive and it comes from India. Pakistanis, we need to be more appreciative of our work!
Syed Husain Sep 07, 2011 12:04am
Excellent movie. Mr. Shoab Mansoor, I expect more films.
Rizwan Sep 06, 2011 07:45pm
Good Directions and fine acting but total misrepresentation of Islam and Muslims of Pakistan. I could understand that a Father who is close to Islam, irrespective to what sect he is related to, would say or even think about his daughter to be sent for prostitution. And it totally ignored, rather turned its face away from, how Zakat, Sadakat, and individual and collective efforts of People close to Islam are doing for the society.
ak j Sep 07, 2011 01:35am
i just watched the movie and boy........please bollywood as an indian it seems strange to me that i need to turn to pakistani movies to show me a mirror of my society,,,,brilliant performance great storyline
sub... Sep 08, 2011 11:30am
Bol...A Gud job done by Shoaib mansoor....Good acting of saifuddin n Father.....but upto some extent its an Mispresentaton of Islam...and this move must be shown free of cost to people living in slum educated people already aware of this fact....So in so in short its an mass awarenss movie.....
Mukesh Rao Sep 08, 2011 02:34pm
Tired of Salman and Sharukh, my friends and I decided to risk spending on "BOL" in INOX in Blore. It paid off!!! I was hooked to the screen from the word go. The way the main character was introduced (behind bars) was fantastic. Each character was well played, relevant theme across borders. Good job done by all. Though all of them did a good job, I was impressed by the person playing father. Man struggling with his own internal conflcits. His possessiveness of the new born in the backdrop of apparent dislike for girl child very subtely brought out the internal conflict that he was struggling with. Good to see such movies. I rank this movie along with the likes of Tare Zameen Par, Umraojan, Shatranj Ke Khiladi, Pakeeza and others. Good job done.
Goodjob Sep 08, 2011 11:54pm
A very good movie to open up the eyes of sleeping society well done mansoor good luck
Imran Sep 14, 2011 04:50am
Excellent movie! shows real talent of shoaib mansoor that we Pakistanis are well aware of for a long time. Great acting by Hakeem saab, and Saifu. Good to see a movie on important social issues. Really worth nominating for Academy
neha Sep 16, 2011 11:23pm
no indian director xcept "amir khan" or "madhur bhandarkar" can make this type of movie