Thursday, 30 August 2012

Shafqat Cheema: Pakistan’s favourite villain

While some actors make it big as majestic heroes in popular films, others rise to fame by donning more negative roles. An example of such an actor is Shafqat Cheema, now best known for the antagonist he played in the 2011 film Bol. Cheema has made his career by bringing to life the characters of pimps, gangsters and villains.
In conversation , he gestures to his eyes and says that he takes pride in staring down some of the greatest ‘heroes’ in the subcontinent.
Cheema graduated from the Jamia Naeemia religious school in 1974, and says that he stumbled into acting when he walked into the Shahnoor Studio by chance and decided on a whim that he wanted to be an actor. He struggled for nearly 12 years before being offered a lead role in the 1989 film Kalka, which also starred Sultan Rahi.
Today, he prides himself in his ability to reinvent any role. “No matter how redundant the role is I am able to reinvent it and bring something new to it,” says Cheema. “All that I have achieved has come after a 20-year journey. I would take a 25 mile tanga ride to studios, but when my first film came out, I never looked back,” he adds.
Elaborating on his acting career in negative roles, Cheema states, “The art of being a villain lies in maturity and the willingness to immerse yourself in a role, so that the hero can feel your presence.” He further elaborates that when a writer provides him a role, his goal is to immerse himself in it. His mentors always told him that no one would make him a ‘hero’ but if he worked on several small roles then directors may give him a lead negative role.
“When I started negative roles, my mentor showed me clips of an Anthony Quinn film, and I learnt that the trick was to focus on the eyes,” says Cheema who has about 80 films to his credit. Talking about an on-set experience, Cheema proudly reminisces, “I looked into the eyes of Sultan Rahi, and he told the director to take me out of the scene because he was afraid of my eyes.”
Film-making today
Turning to the issues faced by the film industry today, he says that directors and producers are timid and bound by conflicting interests. There is also lobbying in the film industry, which as a result restricts the freedom of directors and on the acting front, limits key roles only to certain actors.
“It’s really no one’s fault, it’s actually a mindset,” says Cheema. Elaborating on the restrictions faced by directors he further states, “Producers seem to have become gods because they say they have invested their money in the film, which was never the case in the past. It used to be a more collaborative process in which the director would have discussions with the producer— but now the producer comes with a story ready from home.”
Along with the directors, Cheema explains that actors also face a hard a time. For instance, if a producer comes up with another Gujjar film, most of the times actors are left without any options.
“Look at Shaan, he is the hero of our industry, but he is pushed into a corner where he is forced to be a Gujjar Da Kharak,” says Cheema. “These same producers cursed at Shoaib Mansoor, who really pushed for a new sort of film-making,” he adds.
Cheema has several projects lined up for the near future. He will have a key role in Humayun Saeed’s Boom Boom, the lead in Muhammad Hamza’s Kambakht and also star in Chameli, directed by Salman Jilani.

Sunday, 26 August 2012

A Lamha to embrace our pain

“We need the pain…because somewhere in that pain… lies the person that we have lost…and without it…we lose them completely.”
And that’s exactly when I teared up; tears not caused by sadness or grief — tears full of hope!
I really can’t remember the last time I cried in a film. However, last week, I was moved by an independent film from Pakistan calledSeedlings (Lamha).
An avid indie movie aficionado, I was excited to hear about a local film from Pakistan playing at the New York City International Film Festival. I bought tickets for myself and a co-worker just in the nick of time because they were soon sold out thanks to all the DAFNYs (Desi Artsy Fartsy New Yorkers).
There were a handful of celebrity sightings at the venue, which included leading stars from the film. We stood in a corner for a few minutes to gaze over the bulky cameras of Geo and Voice of Americato spot any red-carpet faux pas or cute outfits. One of the male stars from the film was brave enough to sport a military-esque sherwani with a Jinnah cap and I thought that made a pretty solid and impressive fashion statement. After a decade in the city of rebellion, I am a sucker for avant garde fashion!
As the lights dimmed and the opening scene began, I was immediately engrossed. The first scene was simple yet beautifully shot. As the camera zoomed up on the female lead, I too found myself being pulled into Maliha, Raza and Anil’s world. Let me add, if you’re expecting a film with a plot rich in twists and turns, this may not be for you. Yet for me, that’s exactly what made the film so enjoyable — its realistic simplicity, the simplicity of the story, the simplicity of its execution and dialogues.
Raza (played by Mohib Mirza) and Maliha (Aamina Sheikh) are husband and wife, who once probably lived the blissful life of a love-struck Karachiite couple. Their world was probably once full of artistic effervescence; as vibrant as the painted strokes on Maliha’s canvas or the colourful images from Raza’s creative photographs. But when the movie begins, you are introduced to them a year after their son’s unexpected death. All the imaginative colours and the inspiration from their lives have since perished and been replaced with heart-wrenching pain.
There is no heavy make-up to take away the credibility of their present lives. You see every blemish, every crater and every imperfection. Despondent hues and dimly lit scenes help validate the morose tension that has permeated into every crevice of their house; their awkward and almost painful interaction with each other is convincing — exactly how it must feel when faced with the uncertainty of holding on but not knowing whether to let go. All of this is shown brilliantly through carefully crafted scenes remaining true to the visual versus verbal aspect of good film-making.
The performances of all the actors — not just the leading three — are extraordinary. Special mention should be made about Gohar Rasheed who played Anil, the frustrated rickshaw driver. There are also some other noteworthy scenes in the film like the part where Maliha finally vents out her anger at Anil not just with rage but in cathartic hopes of closure and resolve. However, my favourite scenes came at the end of the film: the ones that carried a message of optimism. And amazingly those were also the moments that made my vision blur up with tears. The movie ends on a very uplifting note and that is when I realised that in the past two hours, we have not only been introduced to but have connected with more than just the three main characters in the film. Everyone searches for closure in the end — all the characters in the film, even the members in the audience.
Lamha could initially be perceived to be about how lives can change for the worst in just a moment. But by the end, one wonders if the “lamha” in the film is the one within our control, the moment we finally take the first step to moving ahead and moving on.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Shareeka calls out to Punjabi-film enthusiasts

Lollywood’s major production for 2012 Shareeka released this Eid, accumulating over Rs3 million alone on the first three days of screening.
The Punjabi film was screened in cities across Punjab including Lahore, Faisalabad, Multan, Sargodha, Gujranwala, Rawalpindi and Sheikhupura. Despite several constraints, the film has done relatively well, insiders revealed. “It is seen as risky because of the themes it tries to tackle regarding families,” said Achi Khan, an actor in the film. “This is a different attempt by Syed Noor.”
Acclaimed film director Syed Noor is no amateur when it comes to film-making. While critics have taken their toll on the director, he remains indifferent, consistently creating debatable films (primarily based on the Punjabi-village culture) — with both hits and misses. Staying true to his trademark themes of social and cultural issues, Noor’s Shareeka is no exception; touted as a “family film”, this drama-oriented production contains clichéd action-filled scenes as well.
The family drama
Shareeka depicts the issues of a typical joint family system. The dominant theme is that such problems are insignificant and should be overlooked and forgotten if families wish to happily co-exist under one roof.
Starring famous actors such as Shaan, Saima, Afzal Ahmed, Mustafa Qureshi and a few others, the movie revolves around the lives of seven conservative families living together in one haveli in a Punjabi village. These families face daily disputes, disagreements and evenwatta satta. Qureshi and Ahmed are the eldest brothers of the household, with Qureshi playing the role of a pious fatherly figure and Ahmed playing a victim of paralysis.
Shaan and Saima on the other hand, play the role of Qureshi and Afzal’s children respectively. Shaan is kicked out of the house at a young age and is raised by villagers while Saima is married off through watta satta to her aunt’s son Nawab Khan. As the story develops, Shaan’s character seeks to destroy the family that disowned him.
“It’s been a while since I witnessed families and women from different backgrounds take out time for a film — and that too a three-hour long one!” says Safdar Malik, the producer of the film, clearly pleased with the response.
Rana Naveed, the manager of Paragon Entertainment who is responsible for the film’s distribution, admitted that although the film benefited from the ban of Bollywood’s Ek Tha Tiger, people were reluctant to watch the film due to heightened security in the country on Eid. “With mobile networks down the first night, attendance was low,” he said, adding that the crowds started coming the following night.
Naveed then touched upon a problem that is a concern to cinemagoers all over the country. “From a national perspective, it is regrettable that this Punjabi film isn’t being screened in cities like Karachi or Peshawar,” he said. “It’s hypocritical.”
Despite the reluctance to watch Indian movies and lack of funds and government support, producer Safdar Malik does not understand why Punjabi films still aren’t being screened in theatres across the country. “Why don’t cinemas across Pakistan prefer to show Punjabi films? They are also Pakistani films,” he said, frustrated at the thought that only Punjab is promoting these productions.
Since Lollywood actor Reema’s Love Mein Ghum failed at the box office a few years ago, there has been reluctance within the film industry to make Urdu films which can be watched and understood countrywide and Malik explained that such films require heavier budgets. The lack of success and high cost discourage financiers and producers from taking on Urdu films. On a brighter note, however, Malik added that Syed Noor should be appreciated and encouraged for bringing some much needed energy back to Pakistani cinema.
While Shareeka’s actors are all exceptionally talented.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Syed Noor’s Shareeka the sole Pak film on Eid

Shareeka attractied viewers on Eid despite heavy presence of Hollywood, Bollywoood films.

While Hindi and English films were shown in cinemas Syed Noor Shareeka was the only representation by the Pakistani film industry.

According to box office reports Shareeka was competing well with the Hollywood and Bollywood films released on Eid.

“The Dark Knight Rises” and “The Expendables 2″ were the two Hollywood films released in Pakistan on Eid

Bollywood’s Jism-2 was also released in Lahore.
However, “Shareeka” was successful in attracting the viewers despite a very tough competition.

Saturday, 18 August 2012

We are proud of team Seedlings

Bodhicitta Film Works’ Seedlings (Lamha) did us proud by bagging two awards at the New York City International Film Festival (NYCIFF). After being nominated in seven categories, the film won awards for Best Actress (Aamina Sheikh) and People’s Choice Award for Best Film on Friday morning.
Pakistani film-makers are making waves! First it was Aamina’s husband Mohib Mirza (also on team Seedlings), who was awarded Best Supporting Actor for InshAllah at the International Filmmakers Festival in Kent in 2008. This time, it’s Aamina who has made Pakistan proud by bagging an award and giving us something to celebrate this Eid. The excited actor began posting on her Twitter account well before the event began: “NYCIFF concludes tonight with its awards ceremony! Seven nominations for Seedlings! Grateful, blessed!” tweeted the young star.
As soon as the awards were announced the social networking websites were flooded with encouraging messages from fans, such as “Congratulations you guys! Pakistani is so proud of you all! The cup belongs to Pakistan.”
A big congratulations to the team from us – you guys deserve it!

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Will you watch a Lollywood movie this Eid?

With the release of only one new film, a low-key Eid is expected for Pakistani films this year. Syed Noor’s Shareeka is the only major production being released to audiences by Lollywood, while the much talked about Indian film Ek Tha Tiger starring Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif is plunged in uncertainty as prospects of censorship float.
Shareeka is a Punjabi film dubbed as Noor’s comeback, as his last film tanked at the box office last year. The film is considered to be a family affair, as the story line builds upon families who live in a joint system and the myriad of issues which come along with such an arrangement. As this system of living is a norm in Pakistan, it should be a film that most people can relate to.
When the film was announced on his birthday in February, Noor had earnestly stated that it was important that whatever work was done represented Pakistani cinema in a positive light. Since then, the hype surrounding it has increased, as big industry names such as Shaan, Saima, Mustafa Qureshi and Irfan Khoosat look to bring star power to the project.
“This is a film that is made in the right way,” says actor Irfan Khoosat, who sees Syed Noor as influential for Pakistani film as Waris Shah, the renowned Punjabi writer of “Heer Ranjha” who brought Punjabi literature on the map. “It has a proper story, and across the board, the director and actors put in all their efforts to make sure a good film was created, that too in some of the hottest times of the year,” he adds.
Khoosat, who also starred in Bol, says that it is important to win back the audience that was once hooked to Pakistani films. Without delving too much into the class debate, he said that the ‘viewing class’ is thirsty for family entertainment. “The elite can curse at us like they always do, our real worry is the family viewers who would routinely come to watch. We need them to come back,” says Khoosat.
“People are critical of Punjabi films without even watching them, which is unfortunate,” states Khoosat, who is hoping that this will change. “Critics are also important, but I think the biggest thing is that people come and watch the film and give it a try,” he added.
Prospective releases
While the Ministry of Commerce has issued a No Objection Certificate (NOC) which has allowed a print of the film Ek Tha Tiger to enter Pakistan, it still waits to be approved by the censorship board. Afzal Rasheed, the manager of the company importing the film said that company was unwilling to speak on the promotion of the film until everything was cleared.
“The issue of whether the film will pass censors remains to be seen,” says Rasheed. Speaking about the prospects for Eid, he said several Hollywood films would be playing, but Shareeka would be the major release amongst Pakistani films.
Ishq Khuda starring Ahsan Khan, Meera, and Wiam Dhamani, was also expected to release this Eid, but has now been delayed to Eidul Azha. According to industry insiders, the delay is due to production issues, while director Shahzad Rafique said it was a conscious decision by the producers.
“For the betterment of the film industry, we felt we should delay the film because we did not want to compete with Syed Noor’s film. There should not be any competition between film-makers at this stage,” said Rafique.
Meanwhile, confusion has also swirled about whether Billu Da Kharak starring Moammar Rana, Shafqat Cheema and Saima will premiere. The film was quietly shot six months ago and according to producers, will be released shortly after Eid.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Where art thou, Lollywood?

If one enters a regular DVD store in Pakistan with the intention of buying some Lollywood flicks, there will be disappointment. Try it out, and you will realise that there is a relatively small collection to choose from.
The combination of piracy issues, lack of intellectual property rights and the attitudes of film-makers in the industry has left the public deprived of Pakistani cinema. The circumstances are such that films rarely even make it to DVD stores, and the ones that are released on DVD take painfully long to physically appear on racks.
For instance, films such as Bhai Log or Love Mein Ghum which were released a year ago are still waiting to enter most retail outlets, while many films rarely get the chance to make it to a store at all. The Express Tribune talks to some film distributors who know the market to explain this peculiarity. If one goes into the dingy confines of Hall Road Plaza in Lahore, it will be seen that one of the biggest film distributors in the city, Okay CD, has now switched businesses and become Okay Computers.
The owner of the store, Maqbool, seems more than disenchanted with the Pakistani film industry and described it as the Wild West, devoid of any laws or regulations to ensure fair competition to sellers. He added that having recognised this, “Producers don’t like to sell films in the first place. By showing films in the cinema they recoup most of the funds,” says Maqbool.
When the producers sell rights to film, distributors make numerous copies and sell those across the city  making profits which do not land in the film-maker’s pocket. However, by running the film in the cinemas more than once, they end up making more money. “What we would do is mainly buy the older films which are cheaper than the newer films, which producers always try to hold for themselves,” Maqbool adds, explaining that this keeps new releases away from the market.
Typically, the rights for new films are sold for around Rs500,000 to retail distributors, who then make copies of a film for about Rs70 and sell authenticated copies in the market for Rs100. However, Maqbool explains that the problem is the weak regulations. “Films were easily pirated by smaller shop owners who could sell the same Lollywood or Indian film for Rs25, because there is no law to prevent this.”
Meanwhile, Muhammad Imran from Eros Entertain-ment, another distributor, explains that piracy issues really harm the business for retailers and that the costs don’t seem attractive for retailers to pursue Pakistani films anymore, even if the producer is willing to sell. “If a film-maker or producer is offering Rs200,000 for a film, no one in Lahore will buy it nowadays, so that’s another reason why films are not reaching the market on time.” Fixing these issues seems like a lost cause to Imran who had once prided himself on selling genuine films.
Others, such as actor Ghulam Muhyuddin feel that it is more than just piracy issues which prevent films from reaching the retail market. He believes that whether a film reaches a retail market or not depends on the producer who determines the feasibility of selling the rights of the film.
“I think it has always varied because ultimately, the film is the property of the producer, who is always going to think of ways to maximise profit,” says Muhuyuddin. “If the demand is there, they will always hold the film for a second or third run in the cinemas.”
Furthermore, well-known producer and film veteran Aslam Dar explains that since the ban was lifted on Indian films, Pakistani cinema has been in troubled waters. He explains that a certain environment has to be created for Pakistani films to be commercially successful in the market.
Pakistan is starved for entertainment. If one looks at the sheer number of cinema-goers, it is evident that films are a popular avenue of entertainment. Our industry and government should milk this opportunity instead of letting it die out.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Mono No Aware hopes to ease the burden for young film-makers

Independent film-makers in Pakistan face a multitude of issues ranging from a lack of infrastructure to that of qualified film crews. These issues serve as major hindrances to struggling members of the industry who already find it difficult to have their voices heard. Aware of the stark realities of the industry, film-makers Assad Zulfiqar Khan and Junaid Malik decided to take bold steps to change the scenario with their new production house, Mono No Aware Productions.
“Independent film-making hasn’t survived because film has socially been seen as ‘dirty art’,” says Khan. “Besides Shoaib Mansoor, we have no commercially successful film-makers. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t other good film-makers out there — they just aren’t given the opportunity.”
Khan, who received positive reviews for his independent film Haal, feels that film-makers in Pakistan do not have the support system which is important for productivity. “I’ve noticed how important it was for people to work together and pool in their collective resources, be it time or expertise,” he says.
With Mono No Aware Productions, they aim to provide such a system. “What we propose is to take the burden off film-makers by dealing with the more mundane but necessary side of things,” he says. He aims to improve the distributive mechanisms and non-production related aspects in the industry, as well as help with the financial aspects of film-making by pitching for funding on behalf film-makers and co-producing indie films.
Additionally, apart from their new production house, the duo plan on bringing an accredited film festival to Pakistan — complete with an international jury that will not only judge, but also hold classes and conduct question and answer sessions. Khan points out that there are no film festivals in the country as of now, and for film-makers these festivals are essential to showcase their work and to create a professional network. Without them, film-makers are also left without access to distribution networks to get their films out into the market. They are left struggling using social media avenues such as YouTube, instead.
Also, through their production house, Khan and Malik plan on starting an apprenticeship programme, giving young film-makers the opportunity to work alongside more qualified and seasoned film-makers to learn the tricks of the trade and gain experience. The duo intends to tap into an international network, which they have accumulated over the last few years, including people from across the globe such as Iram Parveen Bilal, Faraz Waqar, Hadi Ghandour among others, to help as consultants. They hope that through these various initiatives, Pakistani cinema can soar to international heights.
“I would love to see Pakistani cinema take on the Iranian model of film-making whereby their films have a sizeable audience abroad,” says Khan. “A good story is a good story regardless of what language it is in. And countries like Britain, the US, Canada and the UAE have a sizeable expat population that would be receptive to Pakistani films,” he adds.
Despite all these efforts on their end, however, Khan explains that support from the government will be essential for the film industry to progress in the country. Several inherent challenges such as widespread censorship, lack of distribution and piracy are rampant and can only be rectified by the help of the authorities.
“Engaging with the government is absolutely necessary if any sort of film industry has to flourish in Pakistan,” says Khan, adding that any kind of support — be it in the form of tax breaks, patronage of the arts or even censorship reduction — is necessary. “We hope to voice our concerns to whoever may be in power. This however, is going to take time. Until and unless film-making becomes a viable industry, no government is going to take it seriously.” Looking at Pakistan’s track record, it seems that this will be an uphill battle, but Khan seems realistic and positive about its actualisation.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Chambeli Review

Two renowned Pakistani TV producers Abdullah Kadwani and Shahzad Nawaz who are highly applauded both in Pakistani and internationally are set to produce a film which is titled as“Chambeli”. The movie is going to be the biggest film in the history of Pakistani cinema industry.
The movie is a step in the venture to renovate Pakistani film industry. For this purpose, a handsome number of celebrities from Pakistan television are also taking their part in this struggle. Both Abdullah Kadwani and Shahzad Nawaz are a part of this campaign.
Talking about the film, it comprehends 11 songs, which are sung by singers including Najam Sheraz, Shahzad Roy, Ahmad Jahanzaib, Amjad Sabri, Tanseer Dar, and some music bands also. A squad of more than 5000 people is involved in the movie with a variety of  cast, some of them are from television, some from film, some from theater, some old actors and some new faces. The art direction is also very huge working on a number of locations, all the above facts are making the ‘Chambeli’, biggest movie of all time in Pakistan.
‘Chambeli’ is directed by Ismail Jillani whereas Shahzad Nawaz both writer and producer of the movie. Film is based on to bring a change in socio-political system of Pakistan.

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Pakistani society looks down upon film, says Nasir Adeeb

“There was once a time when you would never want to leave the film studios. Today, you never want to go to them,” says legendary screenwriter and director Nasir Adeeb, who remains uncensored, unapologetic and proud. By rising to fame in the mid 1970s and becoming one of Pakistani cinema’s most prolific director-screenwriters, Adeeb now boasts an impressive array of credentials.
In an interview with The Express Tribune, Adeeb shares insights on his career and his career philosophy. “I was a person who dreamed big and worked hard to define my life’s journey,” says Adeeb, who is the only educated person in his family.  He is distressed and emotional as he reflects on people’s attitude towards the Pakistani film industry. “There was no film industry,” he laments. “This is a society that has always looked at this medium with hypocrisy. Because we are a Muslim country, no parent would tell their child to join the film industry back then. The same is true today.”
Reflecting on the days of yore, Adeeb points out that many old films always had a cliché romantic tinge in which the lovers would woo and chase each other. He says these films motivated him to undertake projects that tell stories of a different nature, like those that touch upon characters standing against oppression. By doing so, Adeeb became one of the first scriptwriters in Pakistan to add diversity to the dominant themes in the film industry in the 1970s.
He reminisces that during the 1970s, he had thought of writing scripts regarding the 1971 split and the creation of Bangladesh, but was unable to deliver due to state restrictions and the public’s reluctance to touch upon political issues.
“We have never been able to do films on political issues or to talk about a sitting minister or even the army for that matter. We were also unable to talk about the 1971 war or the Kashmir issue, so naturally, all we had left were profanities and criminal themes,” says Adeeb.
Consequently, Adeeb embarked on a journey of creating an array of action films in which legendary actor Sultan Rahi proved to be quite eminent. Adeeb admits that his career was strongly tied to Rahi, who single-handedly dominated Pakistani cinema for many years. So much so, that Adeeb wrote 412 films alone for the famed actor. Rahi and Adeeb brought action films into another realm in Pakistani cinema together with seminal films like Maula Jatt.
“Sultan Rahi was the film industry,” says Adeeb. “When he left, he took the audience with him to the grave.” Adeeb recalls that Rahi would be covered with bruises while enacting action sequences. “Whatever it was, we made sure we never let the industry down and continued to work and did a good job too,” he adds, remembering the late actor with great fondness.
When asked if he was looking to write another film, Adeeb says he had planned to do a film with Masood Butt but the lead star, Shan, eventually pulled out of the project.
Today, Adeeb looks at his trajectory with scepticism, pointing out that several measures must be taken by the government to save cinema, a daunting task in itself. He proclaims that the elite culture in the country has always looked down upon Lollywood and never given it enough credit — an attitude which has greatly damaged the business. He further adds that banning Indian films may not be enough this time around and that much more drastic reform legislation will be required to allow the industry to rise from its ashes and reinvent itself.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Lollywood film Seedlings nominated at NY film festival

It’s time for Pakistan to be proud of its film-makers once again! Bodhicitta Film Works’ Seedlings (Lamha) has been nominated in various major categories at the New York City International Film Festival (NYCIFF) that is scheduled to take place this month. The film that was initially chosen to be screened at Times Square in the Big Apple has now bagged nominations for the following: Best Picture, Best Director (Mansoor Mujahid), Best Actress in a Lead Role (Aamina Sheikh), Best Actor in a Lead Role (Mohib Mirza), Best Actor in a supporting Role (Gohar Rasheed) and Best Original Screenplay (Summer Nicks).
Seedlings (Lamha) is Mohib’s second film to be screened globally. He was awarded the Best Supporting Actor in the first one (titled InshAllah) at the International Filmmakers’ Festival in Kent in 2008. The rest are yet to receive international recognition for their work. The team tells us they are overwhelmed by the nominations and are looking forward to the festival.
Mohib Mirza
I’m glad to bag the Best Actor nomination for the second time as well. It’s Lamha I truly hold dear to me and look forward to with sheer gratitude,” Mohib says, adding that he is more confident about his wife Aamina’s nomination and has high expectations from her.  “I was sure about Aamina
’s nomination on whichever platform Lamha was screened at. Her role was extremely demanding and having seen her work on it, I strongly feel that she truly deserves to bring home the NYCIFF Best Actress award,” he said.
Aamina Sheikh
How would a person feel when she is nominated as the Best Actress in a Lead Role in her debut performance and has gained international recognition? Quite simply I’m on top of the world! I feel honoured, blessed and immensely grateful to be acknowledged and given this opportunity!” says an ecstatic Aamina Sheikh.
Meher Jaffri
The nominations in almost all the categories are fantastic news. I am floored that the talent that is bubbling up from every corner of Pakistan is getting its well deserved attention.” Meher Jaffri, the producer of the film from Bodhicitta Film Works, is happy that Pakistani talent is finally being recognised.
Summer Nicks
The notion of winning something so prestigious is something I’ve only dreamed of. I’m so happy to be a part of the team who collectively made this a reality and am proud to be able to pay my adoptive country back and assist in bringing the culture of cinema at par with the rest of the world,” says Nicks, Pakistan-based Australian film-maker, who is overjoyed at the thought of being nominated for Best Original Screenplay.