Bol is a movie that came out during a time when Pakistani cinema was slowly awakening from its dormancy. Shoaib Mansoor’s film aimed to tackle specific social issues, such as a flawed judicial system, transgender rights, and conservative families. Despite all the social commentary, the most memorable thing about the movie was Humaima Malick’s performance.
I remember watching the movie right when it came out, and well at that time I was still in school and probably didn’t enjoy the movie all too well. This was the main reason why watching it again was of great importance.
Right as the movie began, like the very first scene, the actor that grabs your attention is none other than Humaima Malick. This particular scene is really dark and dingy. It’s here where we are confronted with a mourning family in the center of which we see a distraught Humaima. Her intensity and energy at that moment give her character life for the rest of the life.
Her very first introduction as Zainab is not only unforgettable but it sets the tone for the rest of the movie; which is basically a flashback to the events that lead to that moment.
Her character, Zainab, played the eldest of three sisters and a brother. Right from the first scene, you can tell that she is a powerful character in the storyline and someone who is a force to be reckoned with within the story.
The family lives under an oppressive father, a father who is obsessed with having a son. This obsession drives him to act cruelly with this daughters and wife and in the scenes where he mistreats them, we begin to see the character of Zainub begin to take its form as the force behind the family. She protects her siblings and also encourages them to fight against their father and his regressive ways.
Her character’s protectiveness comes in full force when she interacts with her brother. The family never directly address that he’s transgender but everyone knows it.
Zainab is extra protective of her brother but also proves to be someone who supports him regardless. In fact, the sibling love they all share with him is extra special and is such a treat to see play out on the screen.
The character of Zainab was clearly very well written; her challenges, inner conflicts, and thoughts were always presented to the audience. Humaima really brings life to this character and adds depth to an already complex character. This is one role that really helped her show off her acting skills. With her skills by her side, she was easily able to maneuver her different scenes; from loving sister to rebellious daughter.
Her heart-winning performance comes right at the climax of the film, where her character’s anger towards her father reaches a tipping point.
She is able to establish her role as a supporting daughter for her mother while at the same time being a total pain in the ass for her father. That entire scene culminates in the murder of her father, and right after that, she’s totally alright. Again, her mastery over emotions makes takes her acting to another level.
In the end, as Zainab speaks to the media right before her death, her voice is stripped of energy yet it is this speech that makes the most impact in the film. She holds a mirror up to the society she lives in and asks why she is being punished for her father’s sins.
She so beautifully presents a version of Zainab that has never been seen before throughout the film, distraught, disturbed yet still fighting for what she believes in.
We usually forgot how awesome Humaima Malick was in Bol and well it’s high time we appreciate her for her amazing-ness and like Humaima, if you’re reading this, please take on more projects like this, you’re an absolute pleasure to watch on-screen.