Pakistani cinema has been in the midst of a metamorphosis with an emergence of new talent and an independent film scene.
Steering this change has been an upcoming breed of new filmmakers who are not only creative but driven to mobilising all the resources to raise funds, crew and a camera or two. This is the new cinema of Pakistan’s film-school generation, out to change an outdated narrative, one small film at a time.
Iram Parveen Bilal is one such filmmaker, and her first film ‘Josh’ made history as Pakistan’s first film to be showcased at the London Indian Film Festival, last year.
Originally studying to become an engineer, Iram says that she was far too impatient to wait for a scientific discovery that would help mankind, and desired a more immediate reaction to her work.
Starring two of Pakistani television’s finest actors, and real-life power couple, Aamina Sheikh and Mohib Mirza, ‘Josh’ tells the story of a high school teacher living in Karachi, whose blissful ignorance about the realities of life in rural Pakistan is shattered when her nanny goes missing.
The film is about class separation, education, women’s rights, feudalism and the youth movement. The gripping tale has its fair share of twists and turns, but which ultimately sends out both a powerful and positive message.
Commenting on being a new talent in Pakistan’s film industry, Iram said: “The most important thing is that it’s a movement from the ground up. It’s no longer just people from film families making films. That will hopefully lead to a greater variety of films, and ultimately a cinema which is thick and strong.
“Many of these new films have been largely focussed on powerful social narratives. Pakistan is always in turmoil and so you can either focus on the turmoil or go completely escapist in your narratives. But we’ve only just restarted the process of making films, and the more that are made, the wider the spectrum will get.”