LAHORE: The three-day inspiring, lively and well-attended 3rd Faiz International Festival concluded at Alhamra Art Centre, The Mall, on Sunday when it attracted the most number of visitors perhaps owing to holiday or because there was a session with Mahira Khan and singing performance by Bushra Ansari.
Just like Saturday, there were many thought-provoking panel discussions, workshops, book stalls, food court and outdoor performances.
The session ‘One Step Forward, One Step Back’ about films having Javed Sheikh, Nabeel Qureshi and Fiza Ali Mirza gave a deep insight into present day cinema. Javed Sheikh was of the opinion that Pakistani film industry was flourishing; however, cinema owners must use new technology. He came hard on the government on censorship issue. To Mr Sheikh, the government should work on censor policy and remove its flaws.
Giving the example of recently released film, Verna, he said the approach the censor board was insane.
“Verna was banned so was the case with the film, Maalik. And similar case was with Na Maloom Afraad as it got banned after public screening of five weeks,” he lamented.
Nabeel Qureshi said there were three censor boards in Pakistan whereas all over the world there had always been a single central censor board. He said world over now people were no censor boards but the films were being certified only. There were many options for releasing films as they could be put on social media, he said and lamented that censor policy did not allow discussing politics in films. He suggested that instead of three there should be only one central unified censor board.
Fiza Ali Mirza mentioned the dearth of good film writers and discussed the screening of Pakistani movies at the international level. She said Actor in Law was launched internationally and there was a loss of $50,000 and the reason behind this was that mostly distribution networks were in the hands of the Indians who gave priority to Indian films. She, however, added that things were changing now as Pakistanis were collaborating with Indian distributors.
The ever-green, lively and dynamic Bushra Ansari provided a wonderful time to the audience by singing Faiz’s poetry. She shared with the audience how she used to sing songs of Noor Jehan in front of her and how bold she was in mimicking her. For many in the audience, it was an exhilarating experience to listen to Faiz’s poetry in voice of Bushra who sang extremely well Mujh Say Pehli Si Mauhababt, Aa Keh Wabasta Hain Us Husan Ki Yadain Tujh Sey and Dasht-i-Tanhai Mein. She also recited a poem by Gulzar. When she sang a Punjabi hit Ashiqan Ioon Sohna Mukhra Lukan Laee, the audience appreciated her with a thunderous applause. She also recited the poetry written by her elder sister Neelam Ahmed Bashir and performed dialogues of Saima Chaudhry, a famous character she played in a TV play.
Another session which was also well-attended was that of Mahira Khan in which her recently released film Verna was discussed. The moderators were Sarmad Khoosat and Mira Hashmi.
Mahira said she had tried to do justice to her role in the movie. “I did Verna because it was an important issue to talk about and I also wanted to stretch myself as an actress.”
She said she did not like any kind of branded cinema and social issues should be discussed through this medium. She shared with the audience how she was learning Punjabi and how difficult it was to for her to learn the language.
Mahira is doing lead role in an upcoming movie Maula Jatt with Fawad Khan.
The last performance of the night was by Tina Sani, which was a ticketed one. When this report was filed, Sani’s performance had not taken place.
Published in Dawn, November 20th, 2017