The Tale of Two Pakistani Princesses: “Bin Roye” with my four-year-old

I wrote about watching “Bin Roye” last week and how I loved the experience. The review was quite popular and it was great to know that so many people shared my emotions and excitement about the movie. I downloaded the songs from iTunes to listen to at home and my four-year-old daughter and I did a dubsmash for the song “Balle Balle”. All of this got my daughter curious and she wanted to see the urdu movie in the cinema. I thought about it and decided “why not?”.

Ofcourse I had never wanted to be THAT parent. The one who brings children to the cinema for movies meant for adults at the expense of their fellow movie-goer’s experience. I thought I could minimize the collateral damage by going for the 1pm show on a weekday and plan to stay either for 45 mins or till the first squeal (whichever happened first). I had seen the movie before, so I knew we could safely stay till the song “Balle Balle”, before the emotional heavy stuff starts.

We put on our kamiz shalwar (urdu clothes as my daughter calls them) and set off, my daughter excitedly holding onto the tickets. We had the entire hall to ourselves and sat in the accessible lane, so that we could make a quick exit when needed. Just five minutes before the movie started, an auntie walked in, who happened to be the mother of a dear friend of mine. She assured me that my children wouldn’t disturb her and so we started an almost private show.

Watching the movie with my daughter again opened my eyes to details I had not noticed the first time. The silver and copper serving bowls, rows and rows of sweets (methai), big sweeping glamorous dresses, beautiful jewelry, the tottay-wala telling fortunes, the huge beautiful mansion sparkling with lights, and the lady who knew magic at the choori-gali. Except for being alarmed a few times by some loud sounds, she thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

I pointed out things to her and we chatted along while the movie went on. I told her that Saba and Saman are sisters and she was quick to point out: “just like Anna & Elsa, and Sofia & Amber”. It was easy for her to understand the tension and love between the siblings because of a reference she had in her mind already. She told me the princesses had a beautiful castle. And her distinction between Saba and Saman was “the princess with Bubbles (the cat in the movie) and the one without Bubbles”.

photo(40)She loved the wedding scenes and especially the dresses. We walked out after “Balle Balle” finished and in my daughter’s world there had been a happily ever after. Hard as I have tried to resist it, my daughter is firmly in the “princess stage”. Bin Roye introduced her to the “beautiful Pakistani princesses”. We talked non-stop about them and as we came home, she took out her Eid bangles and put them on again. I reflected on the experience she had had and really from the point of view of a four-year-old Saba and Saman were modern day princesses: dresses, parties, balls, servants and all.

Screen Shot 2015-07-22 at 11.30.45 AMThe last time my daughter attended a wedding in Pakistan was when she was two. She had loved the experience, the dholak and the dances. By now however she had forgotten about it and the movie gave her an opportunity to relive it all. I was happy her take-away from the movie was a world of love, beauty and happiness. Watching the movie with her reminded me of a few important things also: how we all love a happy ending and why Pakistani men in crisp Kurtas beat any Disney prince hands down.

Have you watched the movie yet?

Dated: July 25, 2015

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