DIRECTOR: SAIM SADIQ STARRING: RASTI FAROOQ, SARWAT GILANI, ALI JUNEJO RUNNING TIME: 2 HRS 6 MINUTES
As the happily patriarchal Rana family craves for the birth of a baby boy, the youngest of the Rana men secretly joins an erotic dance theatre and finds himself falling for a fiercely ambitious trans starlet.
“You’ll see how the ocean is so big, and man so small.”
Joyland is the International Feature submission for Pakistan. This is a tough film for me to review. There are just so many emotions and thoughts going inside my head.
Haider and Mumtaz are a married couple living with their brother, Saleem and his wife Nucchi, their four kids and their father. It’s a family of nine under one roof. Mumtaz is working in her dream job as a bridal make up artist while Haider stays at home taking care of all his nieces. Neither Haider or Saleem have had a boy yet and there’s pressure from their father to have one.
Haider tells Mumtaz that he has an opportunity to work in an erotic dance theatre. The prospects of getting more money is lucrative to both but when they tell their family, Mumtaz is now forced to stay home to help with the household chores.
As Haider begins to work as a back up dancer for Biba, who’s a trans woman, he is fixated with her immediately. This awakens something inside him. This will have an impact on everyone around him and will forever change their lives.
Director Saim Sadiq has created a masterpiece. His depiction of all its flawed characters is masterful and he’s been able to truly reflect the human experience. Joyland accurately portrays the repressive Muslim society including the LGBT community, women and elderly.
Joyland is an amusement park right in the center of Lahore. And it’s a spot where people are happy away from their worries and fears. And pain. We as humans worry so much about what everyone else is thinking about us. And whether or not they’re judging us for who we are as people. We need to be true to who we are and accept ourselves. We need to explore one self individually rather than be dictated by social norms. And love ourselves. And be free. We need to do what makes us whole and what makes us happy. Joyland needs to be a part of our daily lives and not just an escapism whenever we go to an amusement park. We are all normal people living our own lives and trying our best. “Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.” It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept and celebrate those differences.