As the curtain lifted from the screen at Capri cinema, the packed theater roared, and the music swelled. The opening shot of cargo ships docking while welders, and scrapyard workers toiled on set the stage. This was going to be a somber film. This was going to be an ‘Awaami’ film.
“Doda” is the story of a boxer from the streets of Lyari. And before you say anything, it’s not like “Rocky”, or “Creed”, or even Pakistan’s own brilliant “Shah”.
It’s a story that is completely home grown and completely original. It features brilliant performances, a grounded plot, and an incredibly fine technical team who have exceeded expectations.
“Doda” is a Film for the Masses
Doda is the kind of film that Pakistan used to make in the 60s and 70s. It’s the kind of film that factory workers, farmers, thela waalas, and bus and train conductors used to line up for in the front seats of cinema halls.
“Doda” kicks off with an Awaami dance number. It features a very grounded romance and some very, very funny dialogue. It also features the pain and hardship that common men and women go through every single day.
Doda’s world is the world of broken roads, one room houses, littered streets, and daily wages. It’s gritty and dark, but not forced. It’s just reality. And it shows the world of the common man and how persisting through it, so many people still find purpose, happiness, and the will to do the right thing.
“Doda” is a Celebration of Balochi Art, Culture, and Pride
Doda’s premiere at Capri was packed with Balochi families. From the very beginning as “Doda” introduced its cast one by one, the audience roared. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. While I didn’t recognize any of the actors, I knew that all my fellow audience members didn’t just know them, they loved and revered them.
At one point, an audio from a character just about to be introduced prompted a woman from the audience to go “Shah Baloch!”. I thank her, because otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to know the name of the best actor in the film. Shah Baloch, who plays an alcoholic dock worker alongside the main character Doda, delivers a powerhouse monologue which is the highlight of the film. The applause kept going as he kept orating; it felt like old school theater from the days of Khwaja Moinuddeen.
The audiences reacted similarly to Balochi songs and one-liners as the film ran on. This was clearly a celebration of Balochi culture and pride that they had been waiting for, for many years. It made me wonder how much of the province’s culture and arts had stayed hidden for decades.
I won’t lie, tears welled up in my eyes more than once at the thought of so much literature, drama, and music that I hadn’t experienced just because Baloch voices hadn’t been amplified, or rather, silenced for decades.
Here I was in a theater where people who were my countrymen were celebrating something so familiar and dear to their hearts and minds and I was completely alien to it. Yet, because of their happiness and enjoyment, I always wanted to join in.
Take Your Entire Family to Watch “Doda” in Cinemas Today!
“Doda” is one of the best films of the year. It’s one of those complete films which your entire family can enjoy without a second thought. It’s got something for everyone.
Book your tickets right now.
If there’s one film you should support from Pakistani cinema this year, IT IS “DODA”. It’s playing in theaters all around Pakistan in Balochi and Urdu-dubbed versions.