Film on Pak Hindu boy's travails set for 2008 release
Islamabad (PTI): A film based on the touching real-life story of a seven-year-old Hindu Pakistani boy and his father who accidentally stray into India and are jailed is set for an international release early next year.
"Ramchand Pakistani", which hopes to bring the two nations closer by showcasing the emotional turmoil that ordinary people on both sides of the border experience because of the strained political relations between India and Pakistan, has an apt tagline -- "Two nations poised for war. One family torn apart."
The film by first-time Pakistani feature filmmaker Mehreen Jabbar stars India's Nandita Das as the woman who sees her husband and son getting jailed for being "spies". Das plays Champa, the woman whose seven-year-old son Ramchand and husband disappear from their village near Nagarparkar, located along the border with India.
The film revolves around Ramchand, who grows up in an Indian prison with his father, but with no memory of his mother.
"The story is deeply rooted in the complex relationships that characterise interactions between Pakistan and India, and Muslims and Hindus," Jabbar said.
"Ramchand Pakistani" has just been awarded the Global Film Initiative Grant, an initiative to support films which promote "cross-cultural understanding".
Apart from starring an Indian actor in a lead role, Jabbar's film also features other collaborations among Indian and Pakistani artistes. The soundtrack was done by Indian composer Debojyoti Mishra and the songs have been sung by India's Shubha Mudgal and Pakistan's Shafqat Amanat Ali.
Jabbar loved the music of Rituparno Ghosh's "Raincoat", especially the song "Mathura Nagarpati Kahe Tum" by Mudgal, and got the same team on board for her film.
"I think Mishra did a wonderful job with my film because he understood the tone of the film. We recorded the vocals of the two songs at a Karachi studio," she said.
Since Jabbar wanted global sounds, Mishra used instruments such as the bouzouki, saaz, udh, cello and viola.
Written and produced by Mehreen's father, Javed Jabbar, the film stars Syed Fazal Hussain in the title role. The Pakistani actors in the cast include Rashid Farooqi, Noman Ijaz, Maria Wasti, Shahood Alvi, Tipu, Adarsh Ayaz and Saleem Mairaj.
The film, shot in Nagarparkar and Islamkot, close to the Indian border, will be released in Urdu and Hindi. For international audiences, it will have subtitles in English and other languages.