Friday, October 24, 2008

Letter from pakistan :Ramchand Pakistani (The Movie)

I intend to write about the movie "ramchand Pakistani” and coming dates of Indian UK and American cinema release for "ramchand pakistani"there were many movies on border crossing between india and pakistan from bollywood (Border, Line of control and refugee sadly all depicting jingoistic Indian ultra Hindu fundamentalism of war years and propaganda) but ramchand is the first film discussing human relationships , pakistani identity with religion and cross border ties , CAN A HINDU BE A PAKISTANI? AND WHY WOULD INDIAN POLICE TORTURE A 8 YEAR OLD HINDU BOY? JUST BECAUSE HE IS A PAKISTANI!

Letter from Pakistan :

I get the sense that the young man who rightly wanted to express his views continues to do so from Bradford. I visited the Bradford University about 4 years ago in October in connection with an international conference on peace and conflict resolution. It was very cold in Bradford but a very pleasant experience.

Thank you also for your interest in the film "Ramchand Pakistani" which was principally filmed in Tharparkar and was adapted from actual events.
Thank you also for referring to the work of Baanhn Beli in the Tharparkar arid region. We are in our 23rd year of voluntary work and will soon be publishing our most recent report on some of our work in the past 2 decades. Baanhn beli works for uplift of all citizens of thar(where majority are untouchable Hindu castes) regardless of religion
When our film began its film Festival journey from the New York Tribeca Film Festival in April-My 2008, BBC World interviewed director Mehreen Jabbar, screened some scenes and described it as "a heart-felt film". Since then it has made good progress.

I presume you have visited the website at

You will be interested to know that The Times/BFI 52nd London International Film Festival has scheduled 2 screenings of our film i.e. on 18th October and 20th October at the National Film Theatre, London and the film has also been nominated for the Sunderland Trophy in the Festival.

In advance of its possible theatrical release in the U.K., options for which are being explored.
Shoaib Mansoor’s film debut ‘in the name of God’ comes at a time when Pakistan is plagued by religious insecurities. The movie endeavors to portray the problems plaguing the Muslim world post 9/11.
If directed by any other individual, such a sensitive, introspective story could easily have metamorphosed into a mere show of finger-pointing. However, Shoaib Mansoor is intelligent enough to portray the gray, confused areas of an individual’s interpretation of religion, experienced enough to fairly depict both the religious and not-so-religious factions of Pakistan and perceptive enough to get his message across: that while religion in itself is good, it is often misused as a means to personal gain. Violence, persecution of women and lawlessness are all conveniently excused to have been done ‘in the name of God’.
The movie outlines the story of two brothers, Mansoor and Sarmad, played by Shan and Fawad Khan, ex-EP singer and model-actor, respectively. The movie starts off with the two brothers crooning to guitars while preparing for a concert. Their rehearsal is interrupted by a group of bearded men on motorcycles who destroy the concert stage with sticks. This scene sets the tone of the entire movie: meaningless violence, all in the name of religion.
Sarmad meets up with a Maulana Cleric, expertly played by Rasheed Naz, who begins to preach the rites of Islam to him. Steadily, Sarmad begins to change - much to his family’s consternation. He leaves music, grows a beard, takes off pictures from the walls of his house and tries to persuade his mother to wear Hijab.
Enters Mary, or Maryam, played by Iman Ali, the boys’ cousin who has grown up in London and now wants to marry her white boyfriend. Her father, though himself involved in a live-in relationship with a British woman, is appalled that his future grandchildren may not be Muslim. Meanwhile, Mansoor leaves to study music in Chicago where he falls in love with an American girl. While he is there, the catastrophe of September 11 takes place.
"In Gods Name" is fast-paced and riveting, focusing on a rural Afghan village in one scene, and the polished, urbanized life of Chicago in the other shot; and the boys’ concerned parents in their Lahore home in the third. The acting and dialogue delivery is much better than in any recent Pakistani movie. Iman Ali looks beautiful and heart-rending as the British girl victimized by her father’s double standards.Rasheed Naz gives a stellar performance as the preaching, jihadi maulvi. Naseeruddin Shah’s role in the film is small yet powerful, with unforgettable dialogue.
It is no doubt that ‘in the name of God’ addresses a controversial topic and will be subjected to harsh criticism. The conversation between Sarmad and his family when he quits music may antagonize a large faction of Pakistani society. The movie addresses issues that every Pakistani is aware of: infliction of force upon a woman to establish man’s supremacy over her because ‘women can never equal men’; the marriage between a Muslim and a non-Muslim and the problems associated with it and of course, the suspicions and torture inflicted upon Muslims after 9/11.
In the name of God is a cerebral film that attempts to make Muslims aware of how Islam is misconstrued in order to validate a number of ugly, inhuman crimes. It also tries to explain the dilemma plaguing the Muslim world to the West and that every Muslim is not a gun-wielding maniac.