By Rizwanaa Shaikh
It took Pakistan a period of half century to submit an entry in the world’s biggest film award, The Oscar. Now, Pakistan is going to participate in foreign language film category for 2014 Oscar.
A selection committee has been formed for receiving and analyzing the entries submitted by Pakistani film makers. This committee is being headed by the first ever and sole Pakistani Oscar winning documentary maker, Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy. Mohsin Hamid (writer of the Pakistani best seller “The Reluctant Fundamentalist”), Samina Peerzada, Rahat Kazmi, Mehreen Jabbar (Ramchand Pakistani), Akifa Mian (Inaam), and Framji Minwalla (film critic and Head of Media Sciences Department, SZABIST Karachi Campus.). The deadline for submitting a film to the selection committee is 25th Aug and the committee will submit the entry for Oscar by 1st October, 2013.
After a long unsuccessful period of cinema, Pakistan has finally managed to make some good movies during the last six years. Our film makers like Shoaib Mansoor, Mehreen Jabbar, Shahzad Rafique, Reema Khan, Sayyad Faisal Bukhari, Shahzad Nawaz and especially the debutants and youngsters have produced quality art work.
This year, Siyaah, Chambaili, Ishq Khuda, and Josh are out while Waar, Main Hoon Shahid Afridi, Zinda Bhaag, and some others are going to be released shortly. So we are hopeful to achieve the digit of 10 in 2013.
In past, two films were submitted from Pakistan, “Jago Howa Sawaira” (1959), and “Ghoonghat” (1963) in foreign language category. Jago Howa Sawaira was directed by A. J. Kardar, and written by Faiz Ahmad Faiz, and Ghoonghat was by veteran music director Khawaja Khursheed Anwar who also written, produced, and directed the music of the film. Ghoonghat is one of the most melodious and best musical films ever produced by Pakistan since 1948. These films were no doubt great in many ways but unluckily couldn’t be nominated.
Siyaah, Chambaili, Ishq Khuda, Josh, Zinda Bhaag etc. are suitable for entries as they not only are based on not-done-before subjects but also portray the true and near to real life picture of the society in one way or the other. Except Ishq Khuda, four of the other films are made by new teams, and debutant directors and actors.
Films depicting social issues of a country and natural emotions will surly touch the hearts of audience every where and Oscar judges also. Iranian cinema has adopted the same formula. Their film Children of Heavens (tale of a brother and sister who loose a pair of shoes and struggle hard to compensate it at any cost) nominated for Oscar and The Separation (story of the turmoil of a young couple whose marriage is at stake) won the Oscar 2012 in Foreign Language Category.
Getting only the nomination of Oscar is also considered a big achievement and if any Pakistani film, by the grace of God, succeeds in getting nominated, it would be a huge sustain for the restoration of cinema here and its future. No one knew that Saving Face was going to win the Oscar in 2012, let’s hope for the best this time again and wish Pakistani film to win the global applause!