Just when you thought it was safe to stalk the night, The Infernal Brains Podcast has returned to give you a healthy dose of world cinema knowledge in women dressed as a cat form! Yes, we’re tackling the braintastic Pakistani flick Da Khwar Lasme Spogmay aka Cat-Beast aka essential cinema! Pakistani cinema is a world unto itself, and it’s time for this world to get explored. But that’s not all, there is a brief overview of the different types of Pakistani cinema and discussion of other films from the country, both similar and less than similar. It’s definitely the greatest podcast about a Pakistani film that features a woman who turns into a cat monster to slay Mad Max rejects for revenge directed by a woman that you will listen to this week, so you best not delay!
As usual, we have a kitty litter tray full of ways to listen:
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Funky Bollywood: The Wild World of 1970s Indian Action Cinema
Prior Infernal Brains:
Taiwanese Giant Monster Films Part 1
Taiwanese Giant Monster Films Part 2
Polly Shang Kuan
Turkish Pop Cinema Part 1
Turkish Pop Cinema Part 2
Infernal Brains Podcast – 07 – Insee Daeng
Infernal Brains Podcast – 08 – Worst Podcast Ever
The Mummies of Guanajuato – Infernal Brains Podcast Episode 09
Jane Bond – Infernal Brains Podcast Episode 10
Daigoro vs Goliath – Infernal Brains Podcast Episode 11
Down the Rabbit Hole with Pearl Cheung Ling – Infernal Brains Podcast Episode 12
Through the Looking Glass with Pearl Cheung Ling – Infernal Brains Podcast Episode 13
Starman – Infernal Brains Podcast Episode 14
The Brainiac – Infernal Brains Podcast Episode 15
The Secret of Magic Island – Infernal Brains Podcast Episode 16
Space Ladies from Outer Space – Infernal Brains Podcast Episode 17
Salman Rushdie – Evil and OCD sufferer.
International Gorillay is the greatest James Bond movie ever made. It’s also an amazing cultural artifact from a time not so long ago with things were very different but also very similar to modern day. The true life story of Salman Rushdie and The Satanic Verses that International Gorillay is a reaction to is by itself something worthy of a movie. But a ridiculous action film warped history tale…that’s something better! First, let’s just ignore the gigantic irony of using Western movie elements to make a film critical of Western culture. Because that’s part of the point, this is simply a cash grab to make money off the latest craze!
This, and our amazing collection of Diane Fossey memorabilia!
But to understand what the massive anger and protests and political football was that created International Gorillay was, we have to go back to the beginning. The title The Satanic Verses comes from the name given by Western scholars to a story about verses that were replaced in the original telling of the Qur’an.
Brain scrambling, divine intervention style!
In the old days, the city of Mecca was the usual potpourri of religions, with all sorts of random gods that specialized in various things. At the gates to the city were three shrines to the goddesses Allāt, al-‘Uzzā, and Manāt (each was considered a daughter of God.) Due to the location of these shrines, merchants and traders would routinely stop by one of the shrines and give offerings. Thus the families that controlled each of the three shrines obtained wealth and influence in the city. Muhammad did not belong to any of those families, he grew up as an orphan raised by his uncle, but would marry into a different influential family. What Muhammad did do was retreat into the wilderness to pray, and during one such retreat at the age of 40 in the Cave of Hira, he had his first encounter with the angel Gabriel, who would tell him the scriptures that would eventually become the Qur’an.
International Gorillay takes a stand against franchise rebooting!
Gabriel would tell Muhammad the verses, who then recited it to his followers to memorize. At this point most of his followers were illiterate. They would begin to learn how to write so they could record parts of scripture on all sorts of objects. Muhammad pushed monotheism, which lead to his followers being persecuted in Mecca by the followers of the various other deities, especially the powerful families that controlled Al-Lat, Al-‘Uzzá, and Manāt. Muhammad continued to add new scriptures over 23 years, and it wasn’t until after Muhammad’s death that the Qur’an was collected into one volume.
During one of these trips, Muhammad told a scripture that spoke praise to Al-Lat, Al-‘Uzzá, and Manāt, and added them to God’s pantheon. His followers rejoiced, and it seemed the persecution would end with the acceptance of the goddesses. But, a little while later, Muhammad returned from another trip with the news that the passage he had recited was not accurate, and instead gave a corrected version that dissed on Al-Lat, Al-‘Uzzá, and Manāt.
Flying folding chairs?!?!
There are a few stories as to what transpired. One tale is that Muhammad had been tricked, the prior visit from the angel Gabriel hadn’t been from Gabriel, but from the Devil in disguise, who had planted untrue scripture in a test of temptation much like Jesus went through. Another theory is that Muhammad was tempted to end the persecution of his people by accepting the three goddesses into the Muslim pantheon, but later decided against it/was chastised by Gabriel. Other scholars say that it wasn’t Muhammad that was mistaken, but some of his Meccan followers who changed the verses to try to ease their persecution. Due to how the Qur’an was compiled, the original version of the text was never included in a collected volume, and even the story does not exist in the original work, but is found in outside sources (relatively contemporary biographies of Muhammad.) The term “Satanic Verses” is a Western invention, coined by Sir William Muir in 1858 and were considered a minor debate in the religion. The “satanic” verses in question were in Surat An-Najm [53:19-20]:
Have ye thought upon Al-Lat and Al-‘Uzzá
and Manāt, the third, the other?
These are the exalted gharāniq, whose intercession is hoped for.
And are replaced by this accepted version at [53:19-23].
Have ye thought upon Al-Lat and Al-‘Uzza
And Manat, the third, the other?
Are yours the males and His the females?
That indeed were an unfair division!
They are not but [mere] names you have named them – you and your forefathers – for which Allah has sent down no authority. They follow not except assumption and what [their] souls desire, and there has already come to them from their Lord guidance.
This version of Multiplicity sucks.
The whole thing would be relatively unknown today had a young Salman Rushdie not heard of the tale and years later decided it would make a good title for a book. Rushdie began work in 1984 on what would be his fourth novel. Having grown up in a Muslim family in India, most of Rushdie’s work is set in the Indian subcontinent region.
Da Khwar Lasme Spogmay
You know, there are probably many different Pakistani films I could review that explore the rich and complex social history of the culture and the various ethnic groups that make up the nation. But they all pale in comparison because none of the other films have a cat lady killing dudes!
The history of the various ethnic groups in Pakistan both pre- and post-Partition is a complicated matter that fill scholarly books. We cannot begin to go over everything in the detail it deserves in an introduction to a movie review about a cat lady who goes all Freddy Krueger on rapists. But we’ll do our best to give you a crash course.
When India was granted independence in 1947, it was split into India and Pakistan, Pakistan being set up as an Islamic country separate from the Hindu-dominated India. At the time, Pakistan was mainly populated by ethnic groups known as the Sindhi, Pashtun (aka Pukhtoon aka Pathan), Baloch, Punjabi, and Bangladeshi. Two other groups of note (more displaced people than ethnic groups) are the Moharjirs, who were Muslim Indians who fled India during the Partition, and the Biharis, Indian Muslims who moved to East Pakistan during Partition. As there was no “historic” Pakistan, the country is more or less an attempt to get several different ethnic groups with different languages to work together and form a stable government. That has been less than successful, with multiple government takeovers by the military and the 1971 civil war in East Pakistan that lead to the creation of the independent country of Bangladesh. Bangladesh has its own fine cinema tradition that we will get to someday soon, but for now let’s stay in Pakistan and
The Pashtun people are located in Western Pakistan and Southern Afghanistan. They are generally considered very conservative, and are where the Taliban came from. Pashto-language cinema was created for the Pashtun people, the industry largely based in the city of Peshawar in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The Peshawar industry became known as Pollywood. The first Pashto film, Laila Majnoon, was made in 1939 but not released until 1942. Pashto cinema had to wait until 1960 to produce a second film, and a third trickled in during 1963. Eventually the trickle became a mighty river of films. Producers based in Lahore (aka Lollywood) have also created Pashto-language films since the 1970s, but in recent years production has slowed considerably.
Pashto cinema went through what you could call a golden age until the 1980s when TVs and VCRs became commonplace in many homes. Theaters dried up almost overnight, and the quality of cinema decline along with the tastes of the audience still heading to the theaters. Even overseas, the audience of Pashto-speakers instead turned to other forms of media. Now with the Pashto audience increasingly being the poor and a large influx Afghan refugees, and the fact the audience became almost exclusively male, the cheaply made films began to focus more on sleaze and violence. The amount of films made decreased significantly, the mighty river again returning to a slow trickle. The Pashto industry became known as a depository for awful films, some of the productions becoming infamous in their weirdness (this being one such film!) Noted India and Pakistan film expert Omar Ali Khan (also proprietor of the excellent Hot Spot Ice Cream shop and HotSpotOnline) has even mentioned that some cinemas would start out playing the normal sleazy awful film, then switch reels to European porn, and then return to the actual film for the final reel. Pashto cinema became known for women wearing skimpy costumes gyrating around with repeated zooms or closeups of the crotch region. It is just a weird thing to see. And these films passed the censor boards in the area, making the whole thing even more bizarre. Pashto men are manly men with big mustaches and everyone is shouting all the time. It’s like Turkish film to the power of 100.
Although there are efforts to try to make a resurgence in quality of Pashto cinema in recent years, it is not going to be an easy process especially with the ongoing political problems in Pakistan.
This being a female-helmed film, the many musical interludes involving dancing women of robust sizes are not as sleazed up as much of the Pashto cinema, so there is only a small amount of gyrating and zooming into crotches. Almost so little that you can take your whole family to see the film! Keep in mind the women of Pashto film are a little more….curvy…than you are probably used to. The VCD has moving graphics for the Musafa video company, you can even call them if you so desire! Tell them you love Cat-Beast, because I am sure they’d love to hear from you. Besides the cast below, Kamran, Liaqat, and Umar Daraz are listed as cast members but I have no idea who is who.