Playboy (1978)


Playboy (1978)
: Nadeem, Babra Sharif, Talish, Asif Reza Mir, Nadia
Director: Shamim Ara
Nutshell: Immigrants realize that there’s no place like home in this warped fantasy rumoured to be Donald Trump’s favourite movie.

Shamim Ara’s nationalistic farce is full of the worst kind of propaganda and deception and elevates her to the ranks of being Pakistan’s own version on Leni Riefenstahl, though without an iota of the latter’s talent and vision.

The film ought to be displayed outside all western Embassies in Pakistan where tens of thousands of exodus seekers line up every single day in hope of a cherished Visa. Once these supposedly misguided multitudes would watch Playboy, they would realise their folly, chuck away their air tickets and realise that as Dorothy so eloquently put it in The Wizard of Oz, “there’s no place like home”.

The plot is stale wine in a new bottle, and wine that has already passed its sell by date and is rotten to the drop. Nonetheless, the message that Playboy preaches is that all foreign lands are saturated with evil and decadence and that heaven on earth is a nation called Pakistan.

All Pakistani’s who leave their homeland to try to earn a living abroad will, according to Playboy, end up as miserable alcoholics floundering on the streets, homeless and destitute in a living hell or worse still married to the devil heathen gora race.

We are shown that Pakistani women who are born in Britain and adopt a western lifestyle can only look forward to a life of drugs, alcohol, gang rapes and ultimately, premature and violent death.

Playboy depicts everything western as decadent and evil and everything to do with Pakistan as heaven sent. The film is an extreme of self-deception and wishful thinking. Ms. Ara would do rather better to address the issue as to why most sane Pakistani’s want to abandon their heavenly country for a foreign land. Why is it that the vast majority of Pakistani’s still struggle for an opportunity to live in the West when according to Ms. Ara, the land of paradise is right here at home?

Surely one viewing of Playboy would reverse the exodus and in fact those thousands of Pakistanis who have been living in a sense of “false happiness” for so long would do best to abandon their adopted countries and return to the hallow turf. Not only that, probably most westerners would abandon their homes to seek a life in Pakistan!

The film shows Talish as a man who made the fatal mistake of leaving Pakistan to try to attain a better life. What a fool, he should have known better. Anyway, he is snagged by some conniving witch of an English woman who deceives him into marriage and produces a daughter who she doesn’t allow to be brought up by Maulvis in the prescribed manner. The gori wife dies leaving behind a daughter who has “the poison” of her mother’s English blood in her veins, an irreversible condition which can spell only doom. Clearly the only way this confused daughter can survive is if she is packed off immediately to Pakistan so that she can be saved by our “morally superior” and “pure” society. Pure what you might well ask yourself? Pure virtue and goodness, of course.

Talish’s daughter, brilliantly played by Nadia (bagged a Nigar Award as best supporting actress) hangs out with “dirty Hippies” (someone ought to have told Ms. Ara that hippies kind of died out with the early 70’s) who are considered as evil as sin as they propound theories of freedom, liberty, and love rather than social order, strata and rigid control. The poor girl is doomed for having an independent spirit and the ability to think for herself.

Babra Sharif, the epitome of a “good” eastern girl is packed off to London to try to reform Nadeem who is apparently in severe danger of being blinded by the bright lights of the west. She has to reform him before it’s too late (you see, they got married over the phone long distance, so he is her by proxy husband!).

Babra is shown to be like a servant, cooking and cleaning and serving tea and coffee all day long…….the perfect “good girl” while the westernised girl is show to be having a good time with her friends (remember that in morally correct societies having a “good time” is an offence especially for a woman). While men are allowed to behave like absolute morons (witness the crowd at any One Day international staged in the sub-continent) women are condemned if they are seen to be having any sort of fun at all. In fact, in Playboy, we are treated to a sub-Farrelly brothers scene when Nanna’s thunderous farts resound in the background (for which he won a thoroughly well-deserved Nigar Award as best comedian) as he has an upset tummy. How liberating it would be if a woman could be shown to be farting equally loudly on screen!

The film boasts a stunning array of quotable lines: daughter referring to father…..”yes, he’s rich but backwards, England main reh kar bhi so narrow minded, really, I’m ashamed of him!” and to the fathers “yeh tehzeeb hamari naheen hai beti, tumhe ganday hippeeon ke saath nahin milna chahiye” there is the terrific retort “This is my country, I belong here”!

As nature intended, the westernised girl gets her just rewards when she is gang raped and murdered by her “dirty Hippy friends”. Just as naturally the only way a “happy ending” can be achieved is when our whole brood of Immigrant Pakis see the light and realise that they are indeed much better off in the Land of the Pure and immediately they all book seats on the next PIA and return from a land of Hell and corruption and vice to a land of purity where milk and honey flows instead of mere water and where injustice is just a figment of the imagination.

Playboy is a nauseating piece of deception and pathetic wishful thinking of the worst kind. The film is regressive and a blatant falsity. Yet it is considered a “classic” Lollywood creation – educational and informative. Ms. Shamim Ara would do a much greater service to her people if she showed them exactly why people are queuing up night and day to be able to get out of the Land of the Pure despite her best efforts.  Rumoured to be Donald Trump’s favourite film.

PLAYBOY (1978) revisited by Society Girl Saves The World
Podcast: Society Girl Saves The World Episode 001 – Review of PLAYBOY (1978)