World’s youngest Nobel Prize laureate Malala Yousufzai’s biopic is all set to release this month on 31st January. The trailer of the biopic, named Gul Makai is recently released in which Reem Shaikh plays the youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate from Swat Valley in Pakistan, whereas Atul Kulkarni and Divya Dutta will essay role of Malala’s parents. Pankaj Tripathi and Mukesh Rishi are also part of the project.
Directed by H.E. Amjad Khan, the 2 minutes and 37 seconds of video opens to visuals of the Swat valley where Gul Makai says that the birth of a girl child is never celebrated by Pashtuns. Continuing into the trailer, she was nonetheless very dear to her family members. Malala’s father Ziauddin Yousafzai played by Atul Kulkarni asks her whether she had ever heard of Helen Keller. “A person who cannot see, can’t speak or hear…how could they ever be so successful in life? she asks. “They are born fighters,” was her father’s response.
According to the trailer Malala had a normal childhood, where she used to play around in the snow her friends say her prayers at home. Malala was named after an Afghan icon Malalai, she says that she had never thought her life would also turn into a battle. The trailer then shows how the Swat valley was seized by Taliban gunmen, who enforced stringent rules on how men and women should conduct themselves. A Taliban leader and his militia were seen brutally executing people to set an example, including shooting a school teacher and setting books on fire.
From here Malala’s mission begins. It was her dream to get all the students back to school which she can be seen emphasizing in a speech to her townspeople. “One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world!”
At first the trailer looks interesting, however this biopic has a serious Bollywood problems like all other such films that have so far portrayed Pakistan. Despite putting a lot of efforts, it is very clear that director is narrating this story through Indian lens. The style of all the actors is what Bollywood think about Pakistan not what it actually is. For people in Pakistan it looks far from reality. The language and dialect is not even close to reality. The Pakistani army when fighting Taliban scenes are shallow, army is not carrying Pakistani flag. The news channel 24 was launched in 2015, however they are showing it running Taliban threating people of Swat in 2009 on 24 News Channel.
For me despite a staunch supporter of Malala and her cause, this film may not be able to deliver the message at least inside Pakistan because of some obvious reasons as well as being an Indian production and these days it may backfire in Pakistan. So far, no distribution company has even tried to acquire distribution rights for the film to be screened in Pakistan and chances are that it will not be released in Pakistan.