I can’t say I was terribly convinced that I would like Josh. Barring the patriotic stirrings that we’re always ready to succumb to, I presumed that it would be, well…boring. But it was pleasantly and refreshingly engaging.
Despite being shot (a problem that new Pakistani film makers will overcome with time) more like a tele-film than a feature film, Josh does was no big budget Hollywood or Bollywood production can do. It brings an authentic bit of Pakistan to the cinema. And eager to give in to patriotic stirrings, one is only too proud to relate to the language, the landscape, the characters and the nuances that are all purely ours. Unfortunately, many of them like the feudalism, crime and corruption, are too real.
The story-telling may have been sluggish at times but it kept the interest piqued. The authenticity of characters and the language they spoke – none of the archaic banter that is erroneously portrayed in foreign films – was very welcome. As was the untouched landscape of a gritty Karachi, replete with a skyline overpopulated with hoardings, the stench of butchers in market places, vegetable vendors, diverse pedestrians and life as we see it everyday.
Josh takes us to Fatima’s life in the urban centre: there is art, music, coffee and sessions of Pictionary to portray the bilingual landscape of her life. But then there is her nanny, Nusrat Bi, who secretly operates Khaana Ghar, a soup kitchen in Khuda Ki Basti, her hometown. As she is a threat to the local warlord’s position of power, Nusrat is knocked off and devastated, Fatima decides to bring justice to the women who practically raised her.
Aamina Sheikh is very convincing as Fatima, her performance well-suited to a woman on a mission. Her beau, Khalid Malik, is not so appealing on the big screen and it is in fact Fatima’s chemistry with the young politician Uzair (Mohib Mirza) that has her wishing for some relationship shuffling. It’s a small cast, falling a bit weak with the villagers (except for the landlord’s son, Sheru) but altogether serving the purpose.
In a nutshell, Josh is a film I would strongly recommend, not for cinematic entertainment value but for value. Period.
The other film I watched last weekend was Aashiqui 2, I know, also a bit delayed. Holding on to a DVD forever, I didn’t want to ruin the original Aashiqui for me. But this one is almost as compelling. For one, Aditya Roy Kapoor is endearing, even more so than Rahul Roy was. Despite his failures, he manages to win and keep public sympathy till the very end. Second, the soundtrack is soulful and quite addictive. It’s a simple, tragic love story but one that deserves a watch.
This weekend may include Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters, a rerun of 3 Idiots (don’t ask why) and Main Hoon Shahid Afridi, if I can manage another film.