Documentary Review: Saving Face (2012)

By The Gorgeous Palah Chingu

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My Rating : 4.5/5

I am speechless when I watched this documentary. My eyes are swollen just because I can’t stop crying. This documentary is featuring 2 women named Zakia and Rukhsana who has been a victim of domestic violence. They are facing the disfigurement of their entire face by acid attacks committed by their husbands. Is this an act of cowardice? That is what I called it. Zakia who is 49 years old woman suffered a vicious acid attack by her husband. She stated her husband did it out of temper and his addiction to alcoholism and gambling had driven him to do so. Rukhsana, on the other hand, said it happened so fast and her acid attack also involved her own sister and mother in law. Her husband threw acid on her face and body while her sister in law poured a gasoline on her body and her mother in law lit the matches and burned her.

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Zakia
Rukhsana
Rukhsana

It was so touching seeing their member of parliament especially women MP fight for the rights of these acid attack survivors. They argued and presented their bills in the parliaments and eventually, passed the bill. The perpetrators might not get a death penalty as they suggested earlier but they get a life imprisonment sentence for what they did to those poor women. It might not fair (for me at least) but it is one step at a time. By sentencing this fucking bastard (sorry, I can get emotional sometimes), it showed that you will not get away from the crimes that you did to your wife. It will be the lesson that they will not get away with it.

One of the Parliament's members is discussing about the bill.
One of the Parliament’s members is discussing about the bill.

Zakia is the first woman among of possibly thousands of acid attack survivors that wanted justice for her. Her lawyer applauded her bravery saying that it is rare to see these survivors coming upfront and demanded a punishment to be imposed to their criminals. Due to Zakia’s courage, Her lawyer fight for her case without any charge and hopefully, she can use this case to set a precedent in other acid attack’s case. It was heartwarming seeing Zakia’s son and daughter stayed by her side and gave her a moral support. They knew Zakia is innocent and their father should be punished for the crime that they did.

Dr Mohammad Jawad and Zakia
Dr Mohammad Jawad and Zakia

This documentary also featured some interview clips of Zakia’s Husband and Father in Law. Zakia’s husband did not confessed to his crime and claimed that he was indeed innocent. He told the interviewer that someone else did it and he doesn’t know his name. Her father in law on the other hands, blamed Zakia’s Infidelity and she was punished for it. One thing that bothers me is how Zakia’s husband said ‘Whatever happened, it did happen’. What the fucking fuck are you talking about? You just destroyed your wife’s face and future. You already scarred her face and make her suffered for it. While watching this, I suddenly remember one documentary I watched last year. The documentary film of ‘Dancing boy in Afghanistan’ told the story where some of the owner of dancing boy lived a double life. They have their own family, did pray 5 times a day and never ditch it but when the night came, they cheered seeing an 8-12 years old boys dancing and swaying their hips in front of them. At some point, those poor boys have to serve and please them. Seeing Zakia’s husband and father in law acting so pious and blaming the poor woman instead reminded me of them.

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Rukhsana’s husband, on the other hands, told the interviewer a completely different story. He claimed rukhsana had a mental illness and all the burnt scar on her face is caused by her own act. She poured the acid and gasoline oil on her face and body and she herself lit the fire. Nobody did it to her; her husband said it with smile on his face. The interviewer then asked about the burnt scar on his hand, he stated that he got it when he tried to save rukhsana from being burnt alive. Can you believe it? I don’t know how the journalist can handle Rukhsana’s Husband without being angry or enraged. I know they are supposed to be fair and not bias, but still, I was shaking like crazy, held my anger when I saw Rukhsana’s husband said it without any remorse.

Zakia's face after surgery.
Zakia’s face after surgery.

Dr. Mohammad Jawad, a plastic surgeon who lived in UK returned to his homeland, Pakistan just to help those victims to recover back what is left on their face. He did say he was angry but he try not to think about his anger and try to help them instead. He said that mostly those victims are very young and in the age range of 12-40. The perpetrators usually are their husbands, relatives or someone who is jealous and wanted to have revenge. There are series of interview clips showing that the victim told their story of how they got attacked and why the perpetrators did it. I still am in shock seeing how petty and coward those perpetrators are. Just because, she rejected your proposal or does not follow your order, you poured the acid on her. I just can’t believe it.

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Total Siyapaa (2014) : Bollywood Movie Review

By The Gorgeous Palah

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My Rating: 3/5

Total Siyapaa not doing really well in India’s Box office is not a surprising matter if you done watching this movie. There are many loopholes in the story and the plot somehow is less intact. If you are not Ali Zafar’s fans, you are not going to able to watch it until the end. Ali Zafar makes this film bearable to watch it though Kirron Kher’s Performance is loved by many critics. Yami Gautam and Ali Zafar are under fire for not performing really well in this film. I agreed with them because Ali Zafar and Yami Gautam could have done better. To be honest, there is no chemistry between them. When Ali Zafar announced Total siyapaa would be his next project, I could not wait for 2013 to be over just so I could watch this film. If you knew the story about Indian girl and Pakistani Boy, you would know it would be overdramatic and cliché, I must say. However, those who have been his fans also knew that Ali Zafar’s strength would be in Romantic Comedy Film. Total Siyapaa is expected to be a massive hit like chasme buddoor, Mere brother ki dulhan or Tere Bin Laden by his fans (including myself).

Ali Zafar as 'Aman'
Ali Zafar as ‘Aman’
Yami Gautam As 'Asha'
Yami Gautam As ‘Asha’

The story begins with Aman came to London to meet Asha’s family. They agreed to meet somewhere first so they could sort out everything. However, things did not go well when Aman is being followed by a police as he suspected Aman to be a terrorist. When Aman being detained, Asha was furious and wanted to lodge the complaint for unlawful detention. Aman, then being released and asked Asha to postpone the whole family meetings. Aman felt it is a bad sign to meet them that day since him being detained by the police in the morning. Asha insisted and dismissed Aman’s superstitiousness. Before Aman and Asha arrived, things at Asha’s home are a bit chaotic. Asha’s mom is a typical Punjabi mom and can be very loud sometimes; Asha’s older sister who is married but splitted with her husband due to some minor problems, Asha’s younger brother who is hot headed and always complained about problem caused by their Pakistani neighbor and Asha’s blind and forgetful grandfather.

When Asha told her mom that Aman is from Pakistan.
When Asha told her mom that Aman is from Pakistan.
Asha assures Aman everything will be okay
Asha assures Aman everything will be okay

Asha should have told Aman earlier how was her mom and her siblings so that Aman knew what he will be facing. Since Asha asked Aman just to trust her, Aman didn’t expected that Asha’s house filled with crazy people. He shuts his mouth and endures the whole meeting until Asha’s mom asked which part of India, Aman came from. That was the button start of the whole problem. Her family knew Asha would bring back a Muslim boy. They are okay with it since love knows no boundary and Asha’s happiness is their priority. However, after they knew Aman from Pakistan, Asha’s mom burst out and exploded. She can handle a Muslim as her son in law but she can’t accept that Aman is from Pakistan. Asha’s mom afraid that Aman will get married more than 1, Asha will be forced to change his religion or how their children’s religion will be determined if they did get married. Asha assured her mom that nothing will happen since Aman is a liberal and open minded Muslim guy. He does not believe in polygamy and will let their kids choose their own religion when the right time comes. Well, it can only be in the story. If you married a guy or a girl with different religion from you, there are many problems you have to encounter and sometimes it takes toll on your relationship.

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While Asha and her mom discussed the relationship matter, Aman excused himself and went to a kitchen. He wanted to reheat the frozen soup but somehow the soup pot slipped from Aman’s hand and hit the pedestarian who walked near the neighborhood at night. Aman panicked and didn’t know what to do. He went down to help the guy but Asha forbids him to do it. Asha’s afraid that Aman will be detained for being a potential killer and it will do no good to her. Asha called an ambulance as an anonymous tip and dragged Aman back into the house. Aman felt uncomfortable and wanted to get a fresh air. Suddenly, he saw Asha’s family picture on the wall. He knows the person who has been hit by the soup pot is Asha’s father. Things get complicated when Asha’s sister speculates to Asha that their father was having an affair and that’s why he always come back home late. There are so many incidents happened at one night and it did test whether the relationship and love that Aman and Asha have is strong enough or not. It supposed to be funny but somehow, it failed to grasp the essence of humor and you are left to wonder when the film is going to end since you have lost interest already in the first 30 minutes.

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Ali Zafar is known as the Pop Prince in Pakistan. He penned and composed majority of the songs in this movie. My favorite would be Nahi Maloom, Total Siyapaa and Palat Meri Jaan. Ali Zafar’s manly voice is soothing and very relaxing. Total Siyapaa has a bit comedy in it since it’s a theme song. Siyapaa means chaos in Hindi. Ali stressed in his lyrics that though all of her family members is crazy, but he can accept it since he loves her. That why he described Asha’s love in the song is total siyapaa (total chaos). Overall, it is watchable if you are fans of Ali Zafar and Yami gautam. If not, you will be feeling dreadful and regretted why you choose to watch it in the first place.

Bhaag Milka Bhaag (2013) – Review

BY RUBY CHINGU

ImageWARNING: THIS IS NOT A LOVE STORY. IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR ROMANTIC FILMS TO MAKE YOUR STOMACH FEELS BUTTERFLY-ISH, THEN PLEASE GO WATCH SOMETHING ELSE. IF YOU ARE SEEKING TO BE MASSIVELY INSPIRED, THOUGH, THIS FILM IS JUST FOR YOU.

RATING – 9/10 (… and I cried five times.)

Directed by -Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra

Starring – Farhan Akhtar

Plot – The story is inspired by a memoir written by Milkha Singh, a legendary Indian athlete in the 1950s and 1960s, and his daughter. It began with Milkha as a young low-ranking soldier, whose talent for running was noticed by a senior army sports coach, who then trained him to participate in national championship. With the help of the national coach, he polished his talent with lots of hard work and practice and was eventually qualified to participate in the Olympic games. Nevertheless, after a few distractions, he realized that in order to succeed, he must be fully focused in his athletic career with full discipline and avoid any romances coming his way.

On 1960, the Prime Minister of India, Jawarlal Nehru requested him to run in a friendly competition with Pakistan for diplomacy purposes. Haunted still by the memories of his childhood where his Sikh parents were killed by Muslims during the partition of India, he refused. He later agreed and visited his family’s hometown in Pakistan and tried to confront the bitter memories of his past. He won the friendly match against Pakistan and was nicknamed the Flying Sikh by then-Pakistan’s head of state, General Ayub Khan.

Review – What more is there to comment about a film that made me cry five times? That it’s good? No, that, my darling, is an understatement. First of all, I would like to comment on the storyline. It began during the adult years of Milkha in the army and slowly, as he tried to build his athletic career, the film goes back to the scenes of his childhood and adolescent years. The technique used kept us glued to the story. We were curious about the depth of Milkha’s resentment against competing in Pakistan.

ImageEven though he was born of humble background, the character, Milkha, in this film is shown to be a highly dedicated man once he knew what to do with his life. As a child, he was doted by his family who lived in a village that was located in Pakistan. After the partition, his father refused to leave for the love of his land. Milkha was there when it happened and ran to hide as instructed by his father. The image of murderers on horseback, wielding swords towards his village people would come to him occasionally, reminding him of his bloody past. He, then, barely twelve years old, escaped to India and lived with his elder sister. In order to earn money, he worked as a robber. He had a romantic fling during this period of his life but it ended with the girl married off to someone else. Nevertheless, he joined the army at first as a motivation to improve himself as a person for the girl’s sake. Even though the love affair ended badly, at least it led him to discover his true calling in life – running.

The main competition that Milkha had, as shown in this film, are not the other athletes BUT himself. As a sportsman, he could not care much about his competitors in the stadium. Instead, he was very critical of himself. When he failed to get any place during the 1956 Olympics, he slapped himself in the mirror repeatedly in self-blaming. In a way, Milkha is his own great enemy. Which is actually true. In competing with ourselves, we would also try to eradicate our bad qualities – laziness, lack of commitment, easily distracted etc etc. Instead of thinking of beating someone else, Milkha went to his coach and asked – “what’s the current record for 400 metres?” He, then, trained his ass off and attempted to beat that record. It is sportsmanship in its best portrayal.

ImageThe MAJOR element of the film, for me, is the aftermath effect of the Partition of India 1947. After the country was separated and the nation of Pakistan was created, more than two million people died due to many reasons – desperate circumstances, violent religious clashes and lack of survival needs.

ImageBeing killed by another human being for completely irrational reasons is the worst tragedy that could occur. Milkha’s village was slaughtered simply because they refused to convert to Muslims after the partition. Milkha was basically alone in this world, only a child when this happened. In a blink of an eye, his childhood was marred with blood, rage, violence and grief and the emotions stayed with him his whole life.

However, to see him not letting the emotions affect his performance, it is very inspiring. Instead of making excuses, he chose to move on and live for a worthy future than clutching towards the past. Not everyone can do such a thing – only a very determined person such capability.

I also enjoyed the music of the film very much. Like most Indian films, there are a lot of fusions between classical and modern music. The songs can be particularly inspiring and heartfelt. Some of them centred around the characterization of Milkha himself and accompanied his journey to conquer his weaknesses.

Farhan Akhtar as Milkha is superb! As I was watching the film, it did not cross my mind that the actor whose performance I’m watching is actually a renowned director/writer of films that focused mainly on the urban youth genre. The first time I read that Farhan played the character, I was shocked. I mean…. like seriously? Like… the director of Dil Chahta Hai and Don is the main actor in this film?? That did not sound right. However, God, what happened yaar – put on the turban and grow some sideburns, Farhan completely transforms himself into a Sikh lad named Milkha Singh. He is a wayyyyy better than I thought he is! Suddenly, I felt so guilty for being suspicious of him in the first place.

The moral of Bhaag Milkha Bhaag is to overcome your past, live life with discipline, honour and dignity and strive for the best, never to give up on yourself. It tells a tale of a man with dedication and hard work. Now, that is somebody we can learn from no matter who or where we are.

Pinjar (2003)

By The Gorgeous Palah Chingu

I watched this film like a month ago with ruby. This is not a cliche and shallow love story. This is a story of survival and courage of a girl named Purro and how her fate tangled with a man named Rashid. Heed my warning, there is no lovey dovey bollywood scene (except songs, yup, they still have them) can be found in this film. This film is based on a novel written by Amrita Pritam.

Pinjar_film_poster  MY RATING: 4/5

Why i liked this film:

The time setting for this film was during the partition of India and Pakistan. Isnt that intriguing to learn about the biggest human movement ever occurred in the world? well, i am intrigued. I dont know about you guys. The girl was being raped. The Boy raped her because of a family feud (you know the usual, revenge, settled the old score, etc…). There are 3 aspects of the film that i like: 

The first aspect is the stars of the film itself. Urmilla matondkar and Manoj Bajpai was the casts in this film. I know right away this was no ordinary bollywood film.

mw8x8h Dont let me start with Urmilla, she’s insanely good actress. i still remember how she portrayed being a psychotic bitch and an evil-possessed girl in her other’s film. She’s delivered her performance greatly on screen.

pinjar10 The Hero, Manoj fucking Bajpai (sorry for an exaggeration of saying his name) , Oh my god, he’s a villain in every single Bollywood movie. How can he portrayed a good guy (let alone a hero) in this film (yeah, he raped the girl, but he repented and try to redeem his behavior back, so what? its my fucking right to considered him as a good guy). There you go, the first reason why i liked this film was the hero and heroine in the film itself.

The second aspect is How you can gain and lose anything in any moment. For Purro (heroine), she lose her own family right after the incident but in the same time, gain Rashid (hero) as her new family afterwards. Life has its own way to turn our destiny, apparently. After few days being held captive by Rashid, she tried to escape from him and went back to her family. It was a heartbreaking moment to see her parents disowned her just like that.

Puro with her family

She was not welcomed at home and has been told to return to her husband as she not belong there anymore. Can you believe it? I know her parents made a wise decision to save other children from facing the same fate as purro as they were being threatened by rashid’s family. Still, i found it hard to accept such decision. If I was Purro, i would asked sobbingly to my parents this questions “Was i not your daughter too?” “Am i being alive was not worth anything to you?” I dont know how Purro felt at that time, but if i was her, i am sure as hell felt betrayed.

After being disowned by her own family, Rashid fetched her and they went back to his home. Rashid felt bad and decided to treat Purro better. Rashid being kind hearted and attend to every Purro’s needs. (That’s the least you could do after you raped her). while watching scene after scene how good rashid to purro, i am hypnotizing myself and constantly mumbling that ‘there is no way man like rashid exists and you must stop being delusional palah’.

The third aspect is how one event can turned your life upside down. After being abducted and raped, Purro lost her previous life completely. She lost her innocence, cheerfulness, family,  fiance, and even her own identity. Her whole life was shattered to pieces by one act. The question was how she survived the calamity fell upon her and continued on living as Rashid’s wife.

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She’s accepted the act as part of her fate and decided not to hang on her past anymore. She even chose Rashid over her family at the end of this film as she knew she could not betrayed rashid *SORRY, this is a spoiler. Rashid has been part of her life and she didnt had a heart to abandon rashid (even Rashid allowed her to do so). She knew the pain of abandonment by the loved ones and to do that to Rashid would be wrong.

My Minor Criticisms:

1) Rashid was too nice. like i said. there was no way in hell, such man existed.
2) The fate that Purro’s brother try to search her like crazy but when his own wife has been abducted, he didnt even care to find his wife.
3) The fact that purro’s fiancee still waiting for her even knowing she’s being held somewhere and might not come back at all.
4) Maybe, i am just too bitter to accept all of this as a part of film.

p/s: Can somebody find me this novel?

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