FILMMAKER Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, who had earlier won fame and acclaim through documentaries like the Children of the Taliban, Lifting the Veil, won the coveted honour of being the first Pakistani to win an Academy Award for Best Documentary (Short) for her film Saving Face at the 84th Academy Awards ceremony. It was a short film which she had co-directed with Daniel Junge.
The documentary follows Pakistani plastic surgeon Mohammad Jawwad who carries out reconstructive surgery on female acid attack victims in Pakistan. However, one of the victims, Rukhsana, who hails from Muzaffargarh and whose views were recorded for the short film, filed a case in the Multan sessions court, alleging that the filmmaker had offered her incentives – a five-marla house, Rs3 million in cash and plastic surgery – as compensation to record her views and had not lived up to her promise.
In her defense, Chinoy denied the allegations on the social media website Twitter, claiming, among other things, that the other acid-burn victim, Zakia, the primary subject of the film, never came forward with any such allegations.
In her speech while accepting the Oscar, Sharmeen said, “All the women in Pakistan working for change, don’t give up on your dreams, this is for you…” Enough said really.