When one looks at a film like Khuda Ke Liye, a story of religious fundamentalism and racial profiling in the western nations, one expects to see how the West drives young Muslims to commit acts of terror. Blame it on my lack of research but I was treating it like just another film that may glorify religion and terrorists, yet, I wanted to watch it.
I was curious to see a film that came from the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, a country I have always been curious about. And surprise me it did.
Khuda Ke Liye, is a bold attempt to bring forth the hypocrisy under the name of religion. The film is about the people who interpret religion according to their own benefit, the film is about innocent youngsters who seek an answer to the dilemma of religion vs their heart and the film spells out how erratically societies across the globe deal with the monster called religion.
The story revolves around two brothers Mansoor (Shaan) and Sarmad (Fawad Khan), urban Pakistani youth from affluent families. The brothers work together on music, their passion, much to the dislike of their devout grandmother. Sarmad, the younger brother starts getting fascinated with a Maulavi who brainwashes him into quitting music because it is wrong in the eyes of Islam.
What follows is a dilemma in Sarmad’s mind in making a choice between his passion and his religion which is very intelligently demonstrated by an indirect debate between the Maulavi and Mansoor, Sarmad being the medium. Meanwhile, Sarmad’s uncle and his cousin come down from the UK. Mary dreams of marrying her white British boyfriend. Her father wants to save his future generations from being Kafir and plans to cheat her into marrying one of the cousins.
While Mansoor takes off for the US, Sarmad runs away to the Pakistan-Afghanistan border to marry his cousin and save her from the horror of insulting the will of Allah.
Both the brothers travel to an alien environment, one into a western and the other into an anti-western world. While one tries to find his place in an international environment, the other brother struggles with his conscience over fulfilling his so-called religious duties. While one tries to convince a white American girl not to marry him, the other forces his own cousin into marriage and even rapes her. As one brother is tortured because of the religion he belongs to, the other is tortured by the men who interpret his religion. And as one brother loses his senses, the other regains them and comes back to music.
The film reminded me of a conversation I had with a friend of my Dad’s. He argued with me that there is nothing as cruel as religion in this world. He is of the opinion that religion does not give any reason for you to educate yourself and move ahead with times. Instead, it forces you to be lost in the past. Besides, the world over, the amount of crimes committed in the name of religion are alarming.
After seeing the film, I started seeing where this guy was coming from. Sarmad is forced to rape a woman, kill innocent humans in the name of Allah. Mansoor is arrested and tortured out of his senses because he’s Muslim. In our own country a missionary from Australia was burnt alive in a car by a Hindu fundamentalist. In Turkey, women are killed for the honour of the family while in Somalia, parents perform the cruel act of female castration on their own daughters to honour their religion. We Hindus force widowed women to lead a monotonous life, just because their husband is dead.
These are just the things off the top of my head. If I delve deep, it would be depressing to find just how many are killed and how many are left devastated in the name of religion, across the world.
I don’t identify with my religion. I have eaten beef and dare I say, I enjoyed it (beef is taboo in Hinduism). But I do visit temples when I can. I pray at Mt. Mary Church in Bandra and I have kept Rozas. I believe in picking bits and pieces from different religions that my heart agrees with, to satisfy the ‘religion’ drive within. I know many of my friends do. But our minds are restless, still looking for answers. The lack of conviction in our religion drives us to ask questions, questions that leave us depressed many a times.
Blind faith after all is immense peace of mind.