The wonderfully theatrical and award-winning costume designer Cecil Beaton once said, “Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against all the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary.” Fancy words aside, there are very few amongst us who actually dare to be different. Oscar winner Sharmeen-Obaid-Chinoy, known for taking on unique subjects with her documentaries, has been working on latest documentary series which captures her voyage to find and retell the stories of those lesser-known visionaries who are trying to bring a change in Pakistan.
The six-part documentary Ho Yaqeen, made by Obaid-Chinoy’s company SOC Films and in collaboration with Coca-Cola, will be shown across 16 TV channels in six months. Chinoy recently held an event to screen the first part of the film and announced details of her latest project.
What it’s about?
Talking about the details of the film, Obaid -Chinoy said, “The documentary series is about those people who fight against all odds and bring a positive change in society. It’s all about trying to make a difference in the lives of people despite facing various odds in life. Ho Yaqeen is about six lives. There are six documentaries about people belonging to six different cities of Pakistan — from Karachi to Muzaffarabad.”
With an Oscar win behind Obaid-Chinoy, anticipations and expectations for her latest venture ran high and this was most evident by a full house attendance by both local celebrities and the media. Photographer Kohi Marri, RJ Khalid Malik and fashion designer Safinaz Muneer were present to see the first part of the series.
Ho Yaqeen – Part 1
Ho Yaqeen’s first part captured a woman named Sabina Khatri, whose educational institute for residents of Karachi’s Lyari area called Kiran School, laid a foundation for education in the area. Within a span of five years, she had transformed 90 young lives. Khatri, who was present at the event, said, “Every child that I see on the streets of Lyari is practically like my own child. Pakistan has so much talent that if you turn a stone, you will find a diamond hidden in a rock — basically a child who is smart and intelligent, but lacks the support to turn hi or her life around. All we can do is to bring them in our hearts and homes and give them a chance.
Regarding her struggles, she said, “I really couldn’t have done this without the support of my children. And of course, my husband who has been my supportive, yet silent guardian angel.”
By the end of the screening, the entire ambiance had turned into one of positivity and patriotism. On her experience watching the film, President of Pakistan Software Houses Association for IT&ITES Jehan Ara said, “Sharmeen’s work excels in projecting a totally different side of Pakistan. A side that we should all celebrate and be proud of.”
Musician Zoe Viccaji, who also attended the event, said that there was never a dull moment throughout the documentary. “I was glued to it from start to end,” stated the musician.
Staying true to her tradition of supporting Pakistani female designers, Obaid-Chinoy stood in her green and white Sania Maskatiya outfit at the event. She accessorised it with a Pakistani flag-inspired bag by Maheen Hussain from the designer’s Independence Day collection.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 6th, 2012.