Shoaib Mansoor’s second film Bol is as much a slap of reality as Khuda Kay Liye was. It’s perhaps even more hammering as he tackles many more issues and rolls them into a disturbing two and a half hour feature: infanticide, displaced morals, regressive behaviour, intolerance for those who are different, insensitivity, pedophilia, corruption and general degeneration of society at large.
To expect the film to be lightweight is as ridiculous as expecting the President of Pakistan to wake up and reverse a death sentence for some random girl, as shown aptly in the film.
Did I find it entertaining? No
Did I want to get up and leave in the middle? No
Was it riveting storytelling? Yes
With everything in this society gone rotten, the luxury of hope that rises at the end of the film is what saves it from being pessimistic and prolonging depressing.
I would liken Bol to chemotherapy, the hardest hitting drug meant to arrest incontrollable and unwelcome, over-active cells in the human body. Though Bol will be just as hard to palate and accept as chemo is, one can only hope it will have some kind of influence in tackling the problems in our society and won’t just pass through. But then Chemotherapy never does ‘just pass through’.
The mind might reject the notions at first glance but once you allow them to sink in, I’m confident that people will realize that there is a problem at hand (that’s obviously something we already know) and that problems must be acknowledged and treated to prevent a painful and inevitable death of civilization.
Is Bol depressing and bleak? Yes.
Is it regressive cinema? No.
It is the most biting genre of cinema that rises from a darkened heart of reality and aims to hit a nerve.
Does it hit a nerve? Yes, it does.