'Song of Lahore' doesn't acknowledge musicians' sacrifices

( PG ) ( Monitor Movie Guide )

The documentary 'Lahore,' directed by Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy and Andy Schocken, follows a group of Pakistani musicians as they prepare to journey to New York to perform.

Nadir Siddiquiin/Broad Green
Nijat Ali plays harmonium in Broad Green Pictures release, 'Song of Lahore.'

The documentary “Song of Lahore,” directed by Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy and Andy Schocken, follows a group of Pakistani musicians as they prepare to journey to New York to perform with Wynton Marsalis’s Jazz at Lincoln Center troupe.

And therein lies the rub. Because the traditional sounds of Pakistani music no longer enjoy much of an audience in their homeland, these musicians, all classically trained, realize they must jazz it up to survive.

The movie presents their transition, culminating in the Lincoln Center concert, as a triumph. But, for me, there is too much rue that goes unacknowledged by the filmmakers. When great musicians must adulterate their art in order to find an audience, I see no pressing reason to cheer. Grade: B- (Rated PG for thematic elements, some violent images, and smoking.)

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