Posts Tagged ‘ Pakistani Films ’

Pakistan Wins Its First Oscar

By Manzer Munir for Pakistanis for Peace

Pakistan won its first Oscar Sunday night when director Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy’s film, Saving Face, won at the 84th Academy Awards at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles, California.

The film was directed by Daniel Junge and Pakistani born Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy and won in its category for the Best Documentary (Short Subject), making it the first win for Chinoy and for Pakistan. Earlier in the evening, Asghar Farhadi of Iran won that country its first Oscar when his movie, A Separation, won in the Best Foreign Language Film category.

Sharmeen’s film, Saving Face, follows London-based Pakistani plastic surgeon, Dr Muhammad Jawad, on his travels to Pakistan where he performs reconstructive surgery on survivors of acid violence. The short film features two women who were attacked by acid and their struggles for justice as well as healing. It is estimated that over 100 such attacks occur each year in Pakistan and many more are feared unreported as under-reporting of this ‘acid violence‘ due to the many inequalities that women face in Pakistan.

Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy earlier won an Emmy for her documentary, Pakistan: Children of the Taliban in 2010. “To all the women in Pakistan working for your dreams, this is for you”, Sharmeen said at her acceptance speech Sunday night in front of the packed star studded audience in the Kodak Theatre.

It is hoped by many in Pakistan that this Oscar win will bring more attention to the plight of women in their beleaguered country.

“Saving Face” Pakistan’s first Academy Award Nomination

By Mudassar Ali Khan for The Washington Times

On 26th February 2012, the world will discover three different faces of Pakistan during the 84th Academy Awards, with the nomination of a Pakistani documentary ‘Saving Face’ for the best documentary (short subject).

The first face is the Pakistani filmmaker who is contending for the Oscar, the second is the internationally acclaimed British-Pakistani plastic surgeon who traveled to his motherland to heal victims of acid attacks, and last but not the least is of the heroic survivors of acid attacks who are struggling to deal with the consequences of their disfigurement.

‘Saving Face’ tells the story of a British-Pakistani plastic surgeon, Dr. Muhammad Jawad, who traveled to Pakistan to treat acid attack victims. Jawad has made several trips to Pakistan with surgical teams to work with the victims. He also organized a major medical relief effort to help earthquake survivors in Pakistan in 2005. In 2008, he received widespread public and international media attention when he performed his pioneering treatment on British model and television presenter Katie Piper, whose ex-boyfriend threw acid on her face.

Central characters of this documentary are two women, Zakia and Rukhsana, from southern Punjab who survived acid attacks and have been fighting for justice ever since. Instead of only portraying the misery of the victims, the film focuses on the vigor with which they endure the process of emotional and physical healing.

Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy is the first Pakistani filmmaker to win an Oscar nomination for co-directing this film with Daniel Junge. Obaid-Chinoy previously won an Emmy award for her film Pakistan’s Taliban Generation. This film was also the recipient of the Alfred Dupont Award and the Association for International Broadcasting Award. Obaid-Chinoy is the first non-American to receive the Livingston Award for best international reporting. In 2007, she received the broadcast journalist of the year award in the UK from One World Media for her work in a series of documentary films. For her work on other films, she also received the Overseas Press Club Award, the American Women in Radio and Television Award, the Cine Golden Eagle Award and the Banff Rockie Award.

Above all, this documentary, along with its accolades, is truly a testimony of the devotion and fervor with which Sharmeen, Dr. Jawad, Zakia and Rukhsana are pursuing their individual goals. Saving Face brings together the hard work and creativity of an ambitious documentarian, the dedication of a passionate doctor, and determination of valiant victims of acid attacks.

The film also emerges as a face-saver for Pakistan, amid growing negative perceptions about the country worldwide.

The Oscar nod for Saving Face recognizes of a Pakistani filmmaker and sends message to all the ambitious Pakistanis and the world that hard work pays off, no matter where you live and your passion to prevail over the crisis can take you places whether you are a filmmaker, a doctor or a survivor.

Of Babra and other Sharifs

By Asif Noorani for Dawn

Way back in 1915, when M F Hussain (Maqbool Fida Hussain) was born his mother named him Maqbool (which means popular). She had no idea that her son, born in a modest household, would become the most well known South Asian painter of the late 20th and early 21st century.

But not all names bring good luck to those who have to live with them. I had a clerk working for me, whose name was Raees (rich) but the man led a difficult life in the monetary sense. So was a man called Akhtar Nawab. He had neither the finances nor the mindset of a nawab. Haseena is a common name among the fair sex, but most girls with that name are anything but. Haseena Moin was charming in her salad years and is still quite pleasant to look at.

What is true of names is also true of surnames. The one Sharif (noble) who really deserved the surname was Babra Sharif. Even when she was at the peak of her career, the model turned actress (the unisex term actor was not used in her heyday for a female of the species) was on the dot for her shooting. She never threw tantrums like some popular film stars do. She never spoke ill of anybody including those who, out of sheer jealousy, lost no opportunity to make snide remarks about her. When the time came for her to call it a day, she retired gracefully, unlike our politicians in power who are forced to leave disgracefully from their offices.

But not all Sharifs are noble like her. In fact I have yet to come across anyone with that name or surname who could live up to it. Babara used no unkind words for her rivals, but this person (shh! no names please, make your own guess) left no opportunity to pass disparaging remarks about a lady with whom he once played a game of musical chairs. One afternoon he came to the Karachi Press Club, where he went on and on, speaking ungallantly against the first and so far the only woman prime minister in the country. The speech over, a callow journalist not known to be a good judge of human beings, invited the guest to visit the book fair in the club’s backyard. “I am sorry I have an important meeting to attend,” he said and took off in one of the four limos that were parked outside the club.

The same journalist, out of sheer curiosity, followed the fleet of cars on his humble motorbike and you know where did our favourite Sharif go to? “It’s elementary, my dear Watson,” Sherlock Holmes would have said. Our friend was seen downing a large glass at the Punjab Lassi House at Burnes Road. In those days mobile phones, with cameras, were not available otherwise the young journo would have had a prize photograph.

While on Sharifs, I must refer to the news item that appeared in the June 17 issue of a respected English daily. It had a screaming headline: “Shahbaz richest member of Punjab assembly”. In the introductory paragraph, the report said that the Punjab chief minister has assets of Rs 489.64 million in the country and abroad. The details are mind-boggling. But the question remains, is it merely a tip of the iceberg? Those who follow him, in the list of declarations made in 2010, also fall into the category of filthy rich. These were the figures submitted to the Election Commission by the members of the Punjab Assembly. What would have been no less relevant was the figure of the taxes that they pay. Sadly, those figures which should be abysmally low are not mentioned. Don’t you think such declaration should come from the head of the state and the head of the government also?

Perhaps, mine is a case of jealousy. I still move around in my old and but reliable Suzuki Khyber. I paid more income tax than what the chief executive of the country paid. The tax figures paid by him and some other bigwig were revealed in a report, published in the newspapers according to the NAB, when Gen Pervez Musharraf elbowed him out of his office. I have no bungalow. I live in an apartment. The fault is mine. I was always more interested in books than in lassi. So, why crib?

Asif Noorani, a seasoned journalist, is the writer of three best-selling books including ‘Boom, Boom Shahid Afridi’.

The views expressed by this blogger and in the following reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.

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