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Pakistani short-film ‘Baat Cheet’ goes to Cannes

Updated April 10, 2015

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Poster of the film.
Poster of the film.

2015 seems like a good year for Pakistani films because not only are we seeing multiple releases but our short-films are also hitting the right chords. Director Rayika Choudri’s short-film Baat Cheet is on its way to be screened at the 68th Cannes Film Festival held annually in the French city of Cannes.

The ten-minute film is written, produced and directed by Rayika Choudri and has Sarwat Gilani and Joshindar Chaggar in leading roles with Fahad Mirza, Wusatullah Khan and Hammad Hasan Askari as supporting actors. The film has previously won three gold awards at a Documentary & Short International Movie Awards 2015 in Indonesia held earlier this year.

Speaking to Dawn.com, lead female actor Sarwat Gilani shared that she was extremely pleased with the news: “It's always a pleasure to be recognised as a talented nation especially when the platform is the entire world. I am delighted that our film made it to Cannes...and most happy that it won three gold awards.”

She explained that the film was “an abstract version of a conversation taking place between two friends over tea”.

But how does a ten-minute film encompass so many characters?

Sarwat said the film has been beautifully conceived and told by Rayika.

“Every actor gets little time to convince the audience of their part and that’s the beauty of a short-film,” she added.

Sarwat who has previously worked in dramas and telefilms also said that she really enjoyed working in Baat Cheet even though the duration was obviously shorter than serials: “Mostly in drama serials I have a lot of margin to influence my viewers with a dialogue-based performance repetitively while in a short-film one gets very little time to leave an impression on the viewer. Baat Cheet in particular was less dialogues and more performance based acting which I thoroughly enjoyed.”

The actor who was recently seen playing the role of an empowered woman in Koi Nahi Apna (ARY) described the variation of her role in Baat Cheet and the challenge she faced.

“As an actor, I love to manufacture roles into characters; I always like bringing something unique to the table. In Baat Cheet the challenge was to make an abstract story appear very real and relatable," she said.

"When Rayika told me the story I loved it instantly, it was different from what I had done for television. I was very excited,” she added.

With a dearth of film festivals in the country, Sarwat feels that such events should be organised to promote the short-film culture: “I really do hope that short-film festivals are given their due importance in our country and creative people with small budgets are also able to tell their stories easily.”

This year’s Cannes Film Festival is scheduled to take place from May 13 - 24.