5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
a great achievement for Pakistani cinema!
ajji-2 from Lahore, Pakistan
8 June 2000
The director is one of the very few Pakistani directors to attempt and
achieve intelligent narrative in cinema. I have only seen a couple of
movies by Dehlavi, but i believe that this film is his masterpiece. Of
course, it holds greater value for Muslims, or those who are familiar with
Islamic history ( or at least the events surrounding the incident at
Karbala, which is alluded to in the film as well as in its title
The plot deals with a military takeover of Pakistan ( ironically, by the
time the filming came to an end around 1977, the late General Zia had
imposed Martial Law in Pakistan ) and two brothers who get caught up in
resulting turmoil. One is an aristocrat, married to a British lady ( Kika
Markham ) who is having an illicit affair with an army officer. The other
sibling is a man of the people, living a simple life among the peasants.
owns land, and is fond of horses. He opposes the military's attempts at
taking over the land of his people, while his jet-set brother quietly goes
to work for the leader of the regime.
the conflict between the brothers is dealt without the crutches of
histrionics, which are a mainstay of Pakistani cinema. other characters
relationships are also dealt with intelligently.
symbolism abounds, and the film is deliberately paced. but if you stay
it, the rewards are rich. the film is lensed beautifully, with some
unforgettable images throughout. credit also goes to the special effects
make-up departments ( see if you can guess who plays the two brothers, and
check out the scene where a sickle slices through a wrist!
The film is infamous for being banned in Pakistan by the late General
Zia-ul-Haq ( for being anti-Martial Law in theme ), and sadly has remained
so since then. Still, it is available on video at better video stores (
Dehlavi was lucky enough to escape to England with the prints,
releasing the film in 1980, with the help of BBC ). If you think that all
Pakistani films are full of vulgar dances, ham acting and lousy plotlines,
then you have to see this. The only comparison that comes to mind while
watching it, is '1984'
Whatever your views about Jamil Dehlavi ( especially in the light of the
'Jinnah' controversy ), don't miss out on this film.
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