Film: Gul Makai
Cast: Reem Shaikh, Atul Kulkarni, Divya Dutta
Director: Amjad Khan
Amjad Khan’s directorial, Gul Makai attempts to chronicle the life of the Pakistani brave heart, young Malala Yusufzai, (Reem Shaikh). The teen who took on Taliban and went on to win the Nobel laureate for peace. Malala’s life is an inspiring story but unfortunately the biopic is a weak representation of this strong character.
Born in a beautiful little hamlet called Mingora, near the Swat valley, Malala is leading a blissful life with her parents Ziauddin (Atul Kulkarni) and mother (Divya Dutta) and a younger sibling. Malala is a staunch supporter of education for women and her father, who’s also the owner of the school she attends, has a lot of faith in her. And then their idyllic life goes through a major metamorphosis as the Taliban takes over and starts closing down schools and spreading violence. Ziauddin and Malala refuse to be the mute bystanders and decide to rebel against the dreaded Taliban in their own unique ways.
While Ziauddin leads a protest group, Malala anonymously starts writing a column in an international newspaper talking about he plight of her and her fellow students. This draws the attention of the Taliban leaders, and they decide to take action against the girl. The intriguing story of the ‘powerful’ gang getting threatened by a teenaged girl surely makes for a fascinating story.
However, surprisingly the director seems to struggle to translate this story on screen. The story and screenplay, in spite of the meat that their subject provides, is far than satisfactory. The other drawback is the choice of actors that the director has picked to play the roles. Most actors struggle with the chaste Urdu they are supposed to utter and their accent ends up being more amusing than effective.
Khan seems to have made little attempt to delve deep into the psyche of the region and his heroine, You don’t really get to experience Malala’s traumatic journey from being an academically brilliant student to being confined inside the four walls of her house. All we get to see and hear are gunshots going on and on in the background while Malala stuck with one expression throughout.
Reem, a popular TV actor, disappoints in her portrayal of Malala. Reem hardly seems convincing and may do better under the guidance of a better director. While Atul Kulkarni is no doubt a good actor, here he seems totally out of place. Divya Dutta, as usual, is brilliant. Most of the other actors seem to be struggling to fit into roles that are clearly not meant for them. This one’s a big