Guli is a Balochi language short film (13 minutes in duration), written and directed by a young poet and writer of Lyari, Emran Sakib.
The protagonist, Guli (Mahlaqa Sikander) is a working class mother living an impoverished life. She works as a street vendor to support her drug addicted husband, and her school-going daughter, Mah Gul. The film focuses on Guli’s resolve to ensure a good education for her daughter so that she lives a happier, more respectable life than herself.
So dedicated is Guli to her daughter’s future that despite her utmost disregard for her husband, she hands him some of her hard earned money to buy drugs so that he does not resort to beggary in the streets of their neighborhood. “When my daughter grows up to be a respected officer tomorrow, I don’t want people to taunt her for being the daughter of a beggar,” she shares with a friend during one point, illustrating her commitment to her daughter’s future.
Since it’s a short film, the script is naturally focused on the character of Guli. Mahlaqa Sikander provides us with a gripping performance as a woman in her late 40’s, even though the actress herself is well below 30 years of age. As a skilled performer, Mahlaga brilliantly portrays the continuous pain and angst of a woman who has seen nothing but pain in her life.
The make-up artist(s) deserve a special mention here for the excellent job that’s been done to make a very young Mahlaqa look twice her actual age.
The film is shot in a single take. That’s one of its unique merits. With the camera focused on the protagonist, we can still hear the background voices, but in such a way that we can understand things off the camera.
The finely written script is another department that makes the film stand-out.
The two areas where the film could have done better are cinematography and the characterization of the supporting roles. That said, the film is still an important step in the right direction for Balochi cinema. The fact that it carries a strong social message for the audience, adds further value to this cinematic product.
Thumbs up to team Nosach films, Emran Sakib and Mahlaqa Sikander. I dedicate this review to the working mothers of the third world whose struggles do not reach the mainstream.