Good Morning Karachi: Depicting a young and vibrant Pakistan

Published: November 1, 2013
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With mostly first-time actors, Sumar’s film is a fresh and thought-provoking change. PHOTO: FILE

With mostly first-time actors, Sumar’s film is a fresh and thought-provoking change. PHOTO: FILE

In a country marred with disillusionment, cinema that rejects the often magnified negative image of Pakistan is always welcome. Through her recent film Good Morning Karachi, Pakistani film-maker Sabiha Sumar does just that – she depicts the vibrant youth, who dare to diverge from societal norms and attempt to harmonise the forces of tradition and modernity in a resilient Pakistan.

Inspired by a novella titled Rafina, written by Shandana Minhas, Sumar adapted the story and placed it in the year 2010 in Karachi. The film is set at a time when the country was experiencing a political transition following the return of politician Benazir Bhutto, reports the Indian Express.

Primarily shot in Karachi’s Akhtar colony, which is mainly a lower middle-class suburb, the story revolves around a woman named Rafina (Aamna Ilyas). Determined and strong, she wants to establish herself as a model in the stigmatised Pakistani fashion industry. “This film is about the youth realising their dreams and it is a very real portrayal of the changes in Pakistani society at present. It’s a coming-of-age-story about the young men and women in the country,” said Sumar. While the female protagonist represents modernity, the other character Arif (Yasir Aqueel), aspires to make a visionary change through political action.

Good Morning Karachi premiered in India at the 15th Mumbai Film Festival. This is Sumar’s second feature film after Khamosh Pani (2003), which bagged a multitude of awards and also had a women-centric theme. “My stories tend to have a lot of women because I have worked with women writers. Moreover, being a woman, these are issues that I can relate to,” the film-maker proclaimed.

With greater funding avenues, Sumar feels that this is a good time for film-makers in Pakistan to produce work. “The country paid a price for putting down the arts. And now, we see the opening up of Pakistani cinema,” said Sumar.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 2nd, 2013.

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Reader Comments (2)

  • Zaida P
    Nov 2, 2013 - 7:44AM

    The narrative of the youth in Pakistan has little leverage on society and the practices therein. The real brokers of influence are the TV anchors, talk-show guests, journalists and the Mullahs.
    That will only change when the youth start contributing substantially to the economic growth of the country. They can start by looking at the neighbor and build something akin to the IT industry in Pakistan too.

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  • Merhab Muktahair
    Nov 12, 2013 - 1:23AM

    “Good Morning Karachi” premiered at the San Fransisco South Asian Film Festival and was the feature film last Saturday to a packed house. Many Indians and Americans got a glimpse of the middle class of Pakistan that has been elevated and with the beautiful models who show the creative fabrics and fashion of Pakistan. The film is a bold attempt by Sabiha Sumar who has lead the way for women producers in Pakistan like Mehreen Jabbar, Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy and Iram Parveen Bilal. These women have managed to bring Pakistani cinema abroad and specially in America where American thought that there was no cinema existence allowed in Pakistan.
    One Indian viewer was delighted that Pakistan is boldly attempting to bring out subjects that make the skin crawl but can carry an intelligent conversation to educate the movie goers rather than numb them with stupidity have being indoctrinated by Bollywood masala they hope the home-front would be more supportive & less critical!
    They were surprised at the tepid local support for these brave women who in spite of no proper film structure technical or distribution have manged to through gruesome work released their films and festivals have recognized these creative women from Pakistan.

    America has this year been hosted with more Pakistani films then in the last few years and are looking forward to the release of “Waar” soon.

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