Has anyone of us ever heard about the kidnap of a daughter on the very day of her marriage, that too by her own real mother? The instant answer to this question is NO, with an awe and shock: how is it possible? This is the starting point of the under production feature length story, Dukhtar. Directed by a young female, Afia Nathaniel, under the banner of Zambeel Films, Dukhtar is on the hot and hard core subject of child marriages.
The tale revolves around a young mother, Allah Rakhi, who kidnaps her ten-year-old daughter on the day of her child’s forced marriage and makes a run. A powerful tribal leader wants to punish them and pursues the runaway mother and her child bride. The conflict between the mother and daughter; and the opposed forces is the centre point of the story. This is one of the very painful and pinching issues being faced by interior Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa and interior Punjab.
Afia Nathaniel, a LUMS graduate, established Zambeel Films in 2008 with a vision of producing local films for global audience. Earlier, she has done three short films, Toba Tek Singh, Long After (Muntazir), and Butterfly as writer, producer, director, and editor. She’s nominated and won many international film and documentary awards by now.
This film is funded by Worldview. Worldview is a CBA [Commonwealth Broadcasting Association] Project that aims to improve UK public understanding and awareness of the developing world via the mainstream broadcast and digital media. Worldview supports producers who aim to bring the richness and diversity of the wider-world to UK audiences. ‘Seed’ funding is awarded to producers enabling them to spend time in the developing world researching stories, identifying characters and locations and shooting taster tapes. Dukhtar received a New Genres development grant from Worldview.
It’s quite an inspiring thing that not only males, but also females are joining the film making profession in Pakistan that demands sound technical and creative know how and expertise. Afia is a valuable addition to our young and fresh film makers’ lot as she has a diverse academic knowledge and work experience outside the country. She won the support of an international forum like Worldview on the very basis of her talent, and richness of ideas.
Sahir Ali Bagga, also a newly emerged music talent, has composed the songs and back ground score of Dukhtar.
Dukhtar is going to portray the disgusting face of ignorance, obliteration, and slavish mentality, being observed in some remote areas of Pakistan yet in this modern age. Showcasing the social problems will give our films a new life which is vital to revive the problem facing cinema industry, and also to utilize the powerful weapon of cinema to educate the society.
In a span of a few years, our cinema has succeeded in producing issue based films like Khuda Kay Leay, Mohabbataan Sachhiyaan, Bol, Chambaili, Josh, Zinda Bhaag etc. that have been/will be contributing to educate the society regarding the social problems and their solution. Education through the art of story telling and electronic media will make our society stronger enough to fight against and defeat the evil of ignorance. Dukhtar is one of these efforts!