1.Tell us about your movie, where did the idea of this movie come from?
Urdu is the national and official language of Pakistan, yet the people who inherited this language as their mother tongue, were murdered….
Karachi is the third largest city in the world and is home to millions of Mahajirs (Migrants) who moved from British Occupied India to newly formed Pakistan in 1947. They are often referred to as Urdu Speaking Community in Pakistan. The events of the film take place in the year 1992, which is regarded as the darkest and goriest period in the history of Karachi.
Being a Punjabi myself, I’ve never known the deep and detailed truths about the violence that kept boiling for two years until I read the script. This intrigued me to research further and study that period. After a thorough study of the events, I sat with the writer and we worked on a redraft, pushing it closer to what it looks now.
Since the sad demise of George Floyd and countless others, there have been many art pieces and films addressing the themes of racism within different societies, but our film is unique in a sense that it addresses a kind of racism that exists only in the city of Karachi: Linguistic Racism (Racism against people of certain language).
2.Tell us about yourself, your education, your experience. We would like to know you better.
I come from a family of storytellers. My father was a renowned theatre and television writer/producer, while my grandfather was a film producer in early days of Pakistani cinema, who produced 20 feature films. It was only natural for me to inherit storytelling qualities.
It was Jurassic Park, that inspired me to pursue career in film and when I joined university and produced my first short film, it proved to be an addiction for me and now, it has been 4 years and I am making one short film a year out of my passion for cinema.
3.Has this film been previously appeared in any other festivals? If so, which festivals?
Miami Film Festival 2022
Fribourg International Film Festival 2022
Balinale Film Festival 2022
Zanzibar International Film Festival 2022
HollyShort International Short Film Festival 2022
Bengaluru International Short Film Festival 2022
Figari International Short Film Festival 2022
Breckenridge Film Festival 2022
Bolton Film Festival 2022
Asian American International Film Festival 2022
Indian Film Festival of Melbourne 2022
Martha’s Vineyard International Film Festival 2022
Shorts Mexico 2022
Jeonju International Short Film Festival 2022
4.How have you discovered members of your team and how do you keep the relationship with them strong?
I believe strongest of teams are formed in early days of university and career. Some of the best teammates were my university friends, who shared the same passion for filmmaking as me. When I graduated, I stepped into the world of commercial advertisement and was introduced to the crew working in ad filmmaking. However, those passionate filmmakers had a spark for cinema inside them, and that spark not only enabled me to connect to them, but it also bonded us together as a strong creative team.
5.How do you usually get funding for your films?
We do not have short film funds in our country, so usually, when filmmakers plan to produce a short film, they often find themselves funding it from their own profits.
We are commercial and advertising film producers, so whatever profits we earn from our commercial work, we save a chunk from it to produce a short film.
6.How did you hear about Tehran Short Film Festival? How familiar are you with Iranian cinema?
I am a big fan of Iranian cinema. We grew up watching film by Asghar Farhadi and Abbas Kiarostami as they were huge inspiration for us in film school days. A Separation has been my personal favourite film since the beginning. And since Tehran Short Film Festival is known for showcasing top tier films from Iranian filmmakers, I had a privilege to watch some of the work screened in its previous editions. Retouch, a film by Kaveh Mazaheri, was particularly fascinating for me.