Shackles Yet to Open: Social issues centre stage

A telefilm by Rafique to be screened at the Lahore Film and Literacy Club.

Ali Usman March 20, 2011


Lollywood has rarely ventured into the realm of meaningful cinema, however, this hasn’t stopped some bold filmmakers from trying to make issue based films.

Veteran filmmaker Shahzad Rafique has returned after a long break with an issue-based tele-film, set to be screened at the Lahore Film and Literary Club on March 25.  Shackles Yet to Open is a 75 minute tele-film which encompasses many issues related to women and violence. “The film covers a lot of issues and problems faced by women in our society. This is a meaningful issue-based film to address one of the major issues in our society where women are often meted out malafide treatment,” Rafique told The Express Tribune.

The story is set in a village and revolves around a poor village woman who has to work hard to make ends meet. Her daughter is molested by influential men and from there the story documents her struggle. The cast includes Fareeha, Nisar Qadri and Laila among others. A major part of the film has been shot in Sargodha on original locations. Nisar Qadri, a veteran TV actor, has played the main character. The film is in Urdu and its Urdu title is Kitni Girhain Abhi Baqi Hain. The film has been subtitled in English.

Interestingly, several filmmakers are simultaneously focusing their films on women’s issues. Shoaib Mansoor’s upcoming film Bol is based on the plight of women. Syed Noor’s film Price of Honor is also based on women’s issues and deals with the issue of honour killing. The film is said to be an effort to establish parallel cinema in Pakistan.

Film critic Zahid Akkasi said, “It is good to make films on social issues however, our filmmakers have started this quite late. Films on social issues get great response in different parts of the world however first you have to establish cinema and strengthen the commercial aspects. Our filmmakers are basing their films on social issues when many have lost hope in Pakistani cinema. Making a tele-film is a different thing but the message which a filmmaker can give through a feature film remains matchless. Filmmakers need to equip themselves with latest technology and techniques only then can movies on social subjects do well”.

Shahzad Rafique has several hit movies to his credit including Ghoonghat, Rukhsati, Nikaah, Salaakhein and Mohabataan Sachiyaan.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 21st, 2011.


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