With more anticipation, film buffs and casual viewers alike whetted their appetites at the finale of the South Asian documentary festival at Kuch Khaas here on Sunday. While referring to “Born Into Brothels” screened earlier on Friday, an audience member remarked, “I really liked how the film was making itself as each child told their own story, unlike a documentary that’s thrust down your throat.”
The Forgotten Song – ‘Bhooli Hui Dastaan’
Produced by Adnan Malik, the 40-minute film is a lowdown on the decline of Pakistani cinema apparently on its last leg. Actors, crewmen, directors and producers reminisce about the heyday of the film industry before Indian films were banned in 1965. Later, oppressive regimes and controversy among other factors plagued the industry, whose biggest hit to date remains “Maula Jatt” (1979). Too bad the Punjabi superhero formula works only once.
Superman of Malegaon
When it comes to a can-do attitude, equipment hardly matters. A ragtag crew undertakes to create a spoof of “Superman” in the remote land of Malegaon, east of Delhi. The quirky story illustrates passionate filmmakers making do through hilarious odds and a bucketful of creativity. The 23-minute film has been directed by Faiza Ahmed Khan.
Boxing girls of Kabul
In Afghanistan, not all men are Taliban, nor all Taliban wear turbans, robes and beards, tells us a real character of this film. This is where some women dream of making it big in the realm of sports no less. The film speaks of the conviction of a group of Afghan women, who aspire of representing their county as boxers at the 2012 Olympics. The film traces their struggle through life threats as they compete with a world of more opportunities. The 52-minute film has been directed by Ariel Nasr (National Film Board of Canada).
World Earth Day specials
A selection of four films was screened to commemorate the World Earth Day at the festival.
The Natural World: The Himalayas
Much like any other documentary on Discovery or National Geographic channel, this one talks about the picturesque Himalayas as “the most inhospitable mountains”. The 15-minute film reveals wildlife such as snow leopards and markhors, in a tour of the world’s highest mountain range. The documentary has been produced by Tim Martin (BBC).
Here we see footages of Nepalese honey hunters, who brave bee stings and perilous cliffs to gather the sweet food that sustains them and their lifestyle. The 10-minute documentary was directed by Eric Valli.
Small Islands, Big Impact
In this five-minute film, the President of the Maldives tries to show how climate change threatens not only his tiny island nation but also the rest of the world. The film has been produced by TVE Asia Pacific
Afloat: Bangladesh adapts to climate change
Threatened by challenges such as global warming and under the destructive effects of cyclones and flooding, the people of Bangladesh are using a mix of tradition and innovation to adapt to an unpredictable new world. The 20-minute film has been produced by Anna Stevens/Panos Pictures and the International Institute of Environment and Development.
The festival was organised by the Asian Study Group, a voluntary organisation that works to promote Pakistani culture, in collaboration with Omnifarious Fitness and Nutrition Gym.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 24th, 2012.