The very fact that a film on Malala Yousafzai is being brought to the screen is reason to rejoice. Director H. E Amjad Khan’s ambitious biopic Gul Makai takes on the Taliban in the trailer, depicting the barbarism and brutality with a vehemence that would be much appreciated in today’s climate.
But then, of course, this is how it is. This is what happened in Malala’s life. The trailer opens with Malala’s father the very talented Atul Kulkarni (Malala’s mother is also played by the powerhouse Divya Dutta) asking her father about Helen Keller, who says Malala’s progressive dad, was a born fighter.
So is Malala. The film’s trailer wastes no time in opening up Malala’s world of oppression into a universal fight for freedom…The freedom to be educated, to be freed from the shackles of radicalism and conservatism. Underprivileged girls are denied the right to education in both India and Pakistan.
They threw acid on Aarti Aggarwal’s face. They gunned down Malala. Luckily both survived. Malala’s inspirational tale had to be told. I am glad it’s being done, albeit in a language that appears far more shrill than what Meghna Gulzar has attempted in Chhapaak. But that’s okay. High or low notes, it should be a music that needs to be heard. And Gul Makai makes its point loud and clear.
Radical forces can’t be indicted in subtle tones. The tone adopted in Gul Makai is aggressive and raring for a fight. The don’t-you-dare-me attitude gives the trailer a sharp cutting edge even when the fundamentalists shot in arching clusters, are shown as book-burning, beard-espousing despots.
Gul Makai has an important message waiting for us when it releases on January 31(alongside Saif Ali Khan’s playboys-will-be-boys saga Jawani Jaaneman, chichorepan intended).
Just how deep the narration will wound our desensitized civilization will depend entirely on how much of Malala’s truth the director has brought to the screen without losing sight of the humanism the real Malala so softly, yet persuasively espouses.
As for newcomer Reem Sheikh’s Malala act, the debutante seems to be adequately armed with the real Malala’s charm. But would Reem be able to hold the plot together into a coherent comprehensive portrait of a teenager who took on the Taliban?
Trailer Rating: *** (3 stars)