On June 19, the deserted Zaibunnisa street came to life when celebrities and media personnel arrived in hordes and struggled to find parking spots near Atrium Cinemas. Subsequently, they made their way to the cinema for the much-awaited premiere of Bol — the biggest venture in Pakistani entertainment this year. Those who randomly tried to wander into the cinema thinking that they could buy a ticket to the event, were sorely disappointed since it was an invitation-only affair.
The film’s opening was a savvy event. A long red carpet paved the way to Atrium and as a prelude to the film; a separate partition had adorned with huge posters of Bol. Upon entering the premises, all the guests had to pass through a series of stringent security checks. The organisers were smart for being meticulous about security arrangements — since Shoaib Mansoor’s films have a tendency to touch on controversial subjects.
Some celebrities thought that they could avoid the routine security checks because of their star power. Yet much to their chagrin, this was not the case. Even high-profile celebrities like Ahmed Jahanzeb and Humayun Saeed had to pass through the same security clearance as everyone else.
The management must be commended for starting the film punctually, in fact they were so punctual that a number of people didn’t even realise the movie had begun and missed the first few minutes. Bol premiered to a full house in all the cinema halls at Atrium. Yet the people, who had excitedly entered that cinema hall, had mixed reactions when they exited.
An elderly man appeared overwhelmed as he shared his view on the film. “I think it is a really good film and I am sure it will definitely get a number of awards and a lot of recognition in the West,” he commented emphatically.
But 24-year-old Faiz, who had watched the movie on someone else’s pass, had a different opinion. “My entire struggle of procuring the pass and getting in the cinema was a waste. I am disappointed — the movie is very run-of-the-mill stuff”.
After the premiere, I spotted Humayun Saeed — one of the most famous faces of Pakistani drama serials — who was ostensibly trying his best to stay away from the media. Yet, I managed to get a comment from him. “The script is really good and I think the director has tackled the issue very nicely and the message comes across to the audience,” Saeed said politely.
I also managed to get hold of the hilarious TV host Mani, who, I was sure, would not hesitate to frankly express his views about the film. “First of all this is not a film, this is a two-and-a-half hour telefilm. We have been watching this stuff on TV for ages now and filmmakers should realise that the masses want entertainment and not social messages,” Mani commented in dismay.
People expressed mixed reviews about Bol, but only the film’s box office record will reveal its standing after it hits cinemas nationwide on June 24.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 21st, 2011.