Jami’s Moor highlights lost livelihood in Balochistan

Published: November 2, 2013
From being detained by the ISI to later being confronted by TTP members, Jami’s filming for Moor has not been hiccup-free. PHOTO: PUBLICITY

From being detained by the ISI to later being confronted by TTP members, Jami’s filming for Moor has not been hiccup-free. PHOTO: PUBLICITY


The journey of a director going from advertisements and music videos to the longer and more demanding medium of film, is not an easy one. A feature film takes much more time. It requires guts. You need months of planning and above all, a considerable amount of money to get a project completed.

This is probably why Jami Mahmood is uncertain today. Despite having the rough cut of his film, titled Moor (Pashto for mother), Jami is torn between producing quality content as well as making a film that will rake in money at the box office.

“The real dilemma faced by Pakistani cinema today is the battle between authenticity and commercialism,” says Jami, as he skims through the rough cut of his upcoming film, which has garnered attention after the release of its trailer. The visuals and score are haunting.

Produced by Nadeem Mandviwalla, the film is slated to release in April 2014. Moor is shot mainly in the Pashtun-dominated belt of the province of Balochistan, with most scenes filmed in Muslim Baagh, Khanozai and Shelabagh. The remaining sequences are shot in Karachi.

“I want to get more authentic with the issue that I am tackling,” he says. “But would it be too early or too much for the audience? It’s a question that boggles me,” he adds.

The storyline is based on the closure of the Zhob Valley railways in 1984. The film shows how a family is affected by growing corruption in the system.

“If you start walking on the railway track in Bostan, you will see that as the tracks eventually start to disappear, so does the population in the surrounding areas,” says Jami, who co-wrote the story with Nazira Ali. “It was their bread and butter. No one can gauge the magnitude of damage it has caused to their livelihoods,” he stated.

Although Jami has his heart in the right place, the closure of the railways is hardly Balochistan’s biggest problem.

From being detained by the ISI to later being confronted by TTP members, Jami’s filming for Moor has not been hiccup-free. PHOTO: PUBLICITY

“People of Balochistan might think that I have gone nuts by talking about a railway system, which has been non-functional for years at a time, when the entire province is at stake [due to an insurgency],” says Jami. “They will be right in saying that I should have portrayed the ‘real issues’ of Balochistan. But frankly, had I chosen to do so, the film would never have been cleared by the censor board,” he said.

Getting approval from the federal and provincial governments wasn’t easy for the director. Jami finally succeeded and travelled to the snowcapped highlands of Muslim Baagh with a crew of 150 people. But there were more hurdles awaiting him.

Jami was briefly detained by the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) when they first discovered that he was filming in the area and shooting was halted for three days. Later, he encountered members of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

“It was alarming to see that the Muslim Baagh railway station is under the control of the TTP with all of their stationary in use,” says Jami. “When we asked them to let us shoot, they were very accommodating and didn’t bother us at all. We shot there for 40 days with girls wearing tights and no one interfered,” he recalls.

Jami hopes to make the cycle of film production more systematic and accessible. For that to happen, he believes that young film-makers graduating from media and film schools have a key role to play. “So far, the fresh graduates haven’t disappointed me. The best thing about them is that at least all of their basics are covered and they are passionate about films. That is why they grow very fast with hands-on training, as compared to those who have not been formally educated,” he says.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 3rd, 2013.

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Reader Comments (26)

  • Aamir Ahmad
    Nov 2, 2013 - 9:51PM

    Absolute awesome. The photography is breathtaking. Pakistani Cinema is definitely going places. I still feel we need more good quality commercial films then subject oriented movies. All the best to Jami and Nadeem sb.Recommend

  • Khan
    Nov 2, 2013 - 10:01PM

    WOW !!!! Beautiful…… Luv the trailer. Gud luck Jami Recommend

  • Nayab Pannun.
    Nov 2, 2013 - 10:13PM

    ‘Moor’ might not be highlighting Balochistan’s ‘real’ issues, yet it pleases me to see it having had selected the province as it’s subject. All the BEST LUCK!


  • rizwan
    Nov 2, 2013 - 10:16PM

    reminds me strings ‘dooor’ vdo


  • samir
    Nov 2, 2013 - 10:47PM

    When Waar with 24 Crore. Afridi with 10 Crore hits the cinema why Jami is working on a boring empty box movie with 5.5 Crore who is going to watch. ???
    Just Jami is the name i saw this trailer for. This is all. Overall its art type of sick movie not for the normal people of pakistan.Recommend

  • Sohail Jaffery
    Nov 2, 2013 - 11:09PM

    People like Jami will lead Lollwood out of the years of bad films. This new generation of talented innovative film makers is pushing the envelope of creativity and same time move the minds of Pakistani film goes who have been dumbed down by inferior films. We need more support from you all out there to enhance these brave film makers who have no support from our Government no technical facilities or limited film schools to show the creativity that is truly Pakistan.Recommend

  • optimist
    Nov 2, 2013 - 11:28PM

    While some people are and will remain negative or jealous, I am thrilled to see the maturity that Pakistani film industry is gaining.
    The numbers may still seem small, but the speed with which we are making progress is very encouraging. Recommend

  • Qasim
    Nov 2, 2013 - 11:47PM

    Wow instant Goosebumps! Wtg Jami cant wait it for to come out! Recommend

  • Ali
    Nov 3, 2013 - 12:03AM

    @samir People like you should stick to watching brainless Indian films.


  • Sami
    Nov 3, 2013 - 1:23AM

    It looks box movie no doubt. Boring Useless Crap.
    Atleast Jami should have come out with good topic but this is totally sick movie.
    Another Sick movie like ramchand pakistani type sick movie in making. These comes in hatelist.


  • khan of quetta
    Nov 3, 2013 - 7:44AM

    will watch


  • Sam
    Nov 3, 2013 - 9:27AM

    JAMI, this is a wonderful job, your piece of work is very inspiring, having a strong storyline is all it needs, i watched salmaosab “salma and an apple” Iranian movie last night, it’s beautiful, and its better to related ourselves with Iran then naked being of bollywood. God blesses you Jami, and congradulations for your work.


  • Junaid
    Nov 3, 2013 - 4:09PM

    @Sami/samir: You couldn’t have even seen it yet! It’s “sick” that you would judge something before knowing anything about it. Great job from Jami on the Trailer. Looking forward to seeing the movie.

    @Rafay Mahmood:

    “Although Jami has his heart in the right place, the closure of the railways is hardly Balochistan’s biggest problem”.

    That statement above comes off as more bitter than critical. Why can’t you ever review something without adding a vestige of cynicism to it.


  • Sparta
    Nov 3, 2013 - 6:48PM

    The trailer seems nice, but this movie doesn’t really represent Baluchistan, because the northern parts of Baluchistan are Pashtun dominated, so isn’t really different from KPK, there is no insurgency there, the insurgency is in central Baluchistan.


  • Jami
    Nov 3, 2013 - 8:57PM

    @Sparta: bostan till zhobe is not balochistan? It doesnt havr any issue dealing in trains and death of railways?Recommend

  • Jami
    Nov 3, 2013 - 8:59PM

    @Junaid: i think sami samir cant appreciate different type of films. Its ok. Some how it seems sick to him. Its ok he doesnt ve to see itRecommend

  • naeem khan Manhattan,Ks
    Nov 3, 2013 - 9:34PM

    Does any one know who these actors are, is this girl from Baluchistan. It seems Jami has done great job and can’t wait to see the final product. People like him is the hope of Pakistan’s film industry.


  • Haider
    Nov 3, 2013 - 11:58PM

    The trailer was more than enough for me to go and see it. Can not wait for it. Best of luck!


  • Hamza
    Nov 4, 2013 - 1:12AM

    @naeem khan Manhattan,Ks: No the girl is not from balochistan, but I don’t know her name, she did some dramas and all..

    Well this is just amazing to see how unique our film Industry is coming out, after all these years of Bollywood influence, our movie industry does not even copy a single bit of their movies, I think this is a big slap on the face for all those people who tease Pakistani movies as just a spin-off of Bollywood movies, instead we’ve adopted a bit of Hollywood style of movies. And also I think that directors like Jami, Shoib Mansoor, or Bilal Lashari are now legends and will lead the Pakistani Film Industry out of black age and into golden age, and Pakistani movie lovers and people will always be in dept of their services and struggles.


  • fatimaa
    Nov 4, 2013 - 2:17AM

    It’s funny how we are so stuck on the fact that all pakistani movies should tackle some major issue. To be honest I would rather want to see a movie based on the life of a person, their struggles something we can all relate to rather than something we see on our news channel every day. I am glad you ventured on to something different and I really hope it has no distracting fake accents


  • naeem khan Manhattan,Ks
    Nov 4, 2013 - 4:11AM

    Thank you for the info.


  • Jami
    Nov 4, 2013 - 9:37AM

    @samir: lets say hollywood makes Life of pi also while they make fast and the furious 15.


  • ss
    Nov 4, 2013 - 10:15AM

    looking forward to seeing it, and please give a release date.


  • Nov 5, 2013 - 10:01PM

    I am glad to see the variety Pakistani Cinema is coming up with. I hope in near future it will be an example to be followed for the world in a positive way.

    While going through the comments I realized that Allah has blessed our nation with visionaries, who can make a final judgement for something, which is not there yet. For them my request as fellow countryman is to take film as film and appreciate the efforts being made in a time when our industry has almost collapsed. Have we ever questioned Hollywood or Bollywood the same way as we are putting our own filmmakers on trial?

    Everyone has a right to express but try not to demoralize the few people who are striving for doing something for us by comparing them with billion dollar industries of the world.


  • shan-e-muhammad
    Nov 7, 2013 - 10:24PM

    @samir . It is easy to say and write “JANG HO RAHI HAY” but when you goes to make it real, its a big game to show. Nobody can imagine how jami showed it. Recommend

  • Summaiya
    Nov 10, 2013 - 7:46PM

    Ufffff. Breath taking beauty! Didnt know Baluchistan was like that! Cant wait!Recommend

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