Khuda Ke Liye

There were times when my Indian self could not suppress a grin at the identity problem Pakistan as a nation faces. But let’s leave that for later.

On to the movie. Interesting characters

  • Elder brother – a Muslim man of Pakistani origin – settled in Britain. Has enjoyed his life on his own terms. Still does not mind living in with a white woman. But in these later stage of his life, he is worried about the preservation of Islamic identity of his off springs and hence does not mind tricking and forcing his Britain-bred daughter into a marriage in Pakistan, completely unsuitable for her upbringing, carried out not even in Lahore (his hometown), rather at an obscure village on Afghanistan-Pakistan border.
  • Younger brother and his family, settled in Pakistan – very progressive. Refuse to be a part of the schemes of the elder brother. Don’t mind marriages to the whites, but are uncomfortable at the idea of living in without wedding. However, do not create much fuss over that either. Are as ignorant of Al-Quaida before 9/11 as a person in any other country would be. A very sensitive depiction of the fact that how irrational racial profiling could be.

I was totally impressed with the way the contrast was shown in the attitudes of the two brothers towards religion, family etc. The one settled outside Pakistan for decades has probably struggled for his identity in a foreign land. And the insecurity leads him, in later days, to cling to an outdated ideal of religious identity preservation – making him a completely ridiculous and cruel father and of course a big hypocrite. The brother settled in Pakistan, on the other hand, has not suffered this identity crisis and has adopted progressive lifestyle and ideas, as the time has progressed. He does not need to cling to the ridiculous ideas and is happy and content with his existence and identity. Happily allows his elder son to marry a white girl in the USA. Scoff at the younger son’s inclination towards Islamic Fanaticism. Is a good Muslim and good human being.

The British-Muslim elder brother, and the elder son of younger brother have an important role to play and their acting has not quite been up to the mark. Especially the former’s. He does not seem to know the A-B-C of acting. The lead characters – elder brother’s daughter and younger brother’s younger son have done very well. Other actors are also all right.

Now back to the identity crisis of Pakistan as a nation. In one scene the Pakistani man proudly announces to his American companion that “we” built Taj Mahal and “we” ruled India for so many centuries. Ahem! Now, who exactly this “we” is. It’d be ridiculous to say the “we” refers to Pakistanis. So, at best it is Muslims. Unfortunately there isn’t much of an identity it provides to Pakistan. The now cliched data of there being more Muslims in Indian than in Pakistan comes in the way. I am not trying to mock them, but I think this is a bad situation to be in for any nation. This identity crisis of who they are. They have themselves severed their ties to things that were centuries old and the only identity they can claim for their own is also not completely their own. Probably the religious fanaticism comes in to fill this gap!

This entry was posted in Movies, Thoughts by Jaya. Bookmark the permalink.

About Jaya

Jaya Jha is an entrepreneur, a techie, a writer and a poet. She was born and brought up in various towns of Bihar and Jharkhand. A graduate of IIT Kanpur and IIM Lucknow, she realized early on that the corporate world was not her cup of tea. In 2008, she started, one of the first print-on-demand publishing platform in India. She currently lives in Bangalore and divides her time between writing and working on her company's latest product InstaScribe ( with a vision to make it the best e-book creation tool. Blog: Twitter: @jayajha Facebook:

8 thoughts on “Khuda Ke Liye

  1. hey Jaya, those words of ‘we built the taj mehal’… as you said, are indeed not mature and the director is aware of that… the film director INTENDED to hilight the exact same thing that you did in this post i guess… the film director is trying to teach many of the Pakistanis this exact same thing.. and m sure some have learnt this… 🙂

  2. Good to hear that Kamran. I must say, the movie, overall, is very mature and bold. And if those kinds of statement are intentional for the reasons you state, I like it even better 🙂

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  4. “”There were times when my Indian self could not suppress a grin at the identity problem Pakistan as a nation faces.””

    I wonder why did people really read the blog, after reading the first line. I have no clue if Pakis are facing an identity crises or not, but i am sure that you are not unbiased while writing this.

    Just tell me, what was summary of your essay ? Was it more as a review on the movie or was it an effort to prove that pakis are facing an identity crisis ?

    I know i am not very hopeful, but if you want, (if you *really* want) we can have a chat on this discussion forum regarding the “identity crisis” of Pakis.



  5. Just in case, might help you:-

    1) Pakis have never considered themselves as a nation. They consider themselves to be part of a big Ummah (which is a dream and probably, far from being realised).

    2) Most of Pakis “do” consider that “they” built Taj Mahal and most of the tourist attractions in India. Being a mughal myself, i never gave a second thought, before i feel pride in Taj Mahal. I failed to understand completely, why were you bothered on this ? After all by definition, only non-muslims-residing-in-india are not THE ONLY Indians. By definition, any one living on left bank of Indus river, “has-to-be” considered as Indian, no matter whatever their religion is. Any ways lets not get into that.

    3) About religious fanatism, you are right but i failed to understand that how did this support your argument (if there was any).

    4) Beleive me, this blog is the first non-serious-blog on which i have made comments. Was forced to read it all , and to write comments.

    Try harder. You do have the potential to write, ONLY if could be unbiased.


  6. @Saad

    Dear, its really unfortunate that when the entire world is progressing keeping all the extremism and religious differences apart, we are still caught in a 1947 partition crisis. Indians are proud that they were ruled by mughals and their contribution to the Indian history. Be it any indian (hindu or muslim or anyone else), everyone praises the mughal rulers like Babar and Akbar. Your statements yet again show your identity crisis when you speak “pakis built the Taj Mahal and most of the tourist attractions in India”.

    The great Indus Valley Civilization fourished in your land. Do you feel good about it. If I try to prick you a bit, I may say you did not exist at that time. Islam did not exist at that time. But aint that insane on my part. A lot of things have happened over the past. Many monuments have been built and many destroyed. So to say that I built the monument makes me laugh.

    Saad, see your present and try to build your future. I do not ask you to forget your past but do not be so much overwhelmed with its glories that you loose focus in building a great future. When the Indian subcontinent flourished, europe was still in its black ages and america was not even discovered. But lets not be overwhelmed with it. The present is just the contrary. Americans too do not have an identity. They are not the natives of the land. But they built a great nation. The religion of the people do not provide them identity its the work which you have done give you an identity. There are lots of muslims in india contributing a lot towards its progress. We do not give even a thought that they are muslims.

    Build your identity rather than be identified by your forefather. You do not know if you are really a muslim or one of your hindu forefather changed his religion to avoid the oppressions.

    Would love to hear from you. No offences meant. I would love to see the entire world under the same canopy of humanity and love. I very much wish to see a developed India and a developed pakistan during my lifetime.

  7. Good observation Mansi. Saad shows his immature spirit. Sorry saad and most of u who are worrying about who built a building. At least, I should thank Kamran for providing the insight which I too felt when I watched the movie. As he points out, there is a hard bit of irony underlying Mansoor’s (the elder brother)dialogue. I had to write this here, because, I see the same kind of (rather silly) posts at many forums. Finally, to Mansi, I appreciate your liberal outlook. But we indians allow even our liberal mindset to be corrected, see for example, you write that ‘We do not give even a thought that they are muslims.’ No doubt, your intention is good. But your sentence also belies something. That is, you do not want to recognise them as muslims. You may argue with me that this was not your point. But stop for a moment and inspect it. It is true. We do not think Sharukh as a muslim, because by ascribing his (natural) muslim identity, we fear that we will loose some interest in him. This is behind all our sayings of, ‘no we think of all as belonging to us, or we do not differentiate between us and them’. But beneath all this, there is this latent antagonism against muslims.
    Therefore, it is accepting somebody’s different identity, trying to understand it and them that we can become liberals. Not by denying that identity. And by this I do not mean to say that you are denying muslim identy.. Hope you will agree.

  8. And to Jaya, it is a misinterpretation to call it as an identity crisis. It is a common reaction of an immigrant, or to agree a bit with u, it is his crisis. U forget the previous conversation between Mansoor and Jeni where Mansoor is surprised to find out that Jeni has ‘never heard of Pakistan’. Mansoor takes his revenge by saying, ‘I’m not surprised, because Americans are the worst when it comes to General Knowledge.’ In contrast with this, Jeni emphatically proclaims that she knows India.. This is what leads to the comic scene. To see Mansoor’s reaction as an identity crisis is wrong. Worst it is to impose his individual outlook (under the circumstances, he is a foreigner and nobody knows him in Chicago therefore this uneasiness) on a whole nation.
    Any way, its a good write up.

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