CHITRAL: An Urdu short film on the growing incidence of suicides by women in Chitral recently won three awards at the World Film Festival in New York.

The festival coincided with four more suicides in the region.

Produced by Nighat Akbar Shah and directed by Shoaib Sultan, the 30-minute ‘Darya Ke Iss Paar’ revolves round a young woman, Gul Zareen, who develops psychosomatic problems in her teenage due to the bad behaviour of the people close to her. The issues become complex after marriage.

Her parents, husband, relatives and friends around her failed to understand her complexities, so her condition deteriorates to such an abyss of frustration that she jumps into the river to end life seemingly to get rid of her agony.

Writers of the story Mir Hamza, Syed Tayyib Raza and Shoaib Sultan have tried to sensitise and awaken the society to the situation and realize the issues confronted by the distressed women, who resort to the extreme step of killing themselves.

Gul Zareen is subjected to both mental and physical torture by male members of family, including husband adding to her agony and depression. She finds very few people to console her.

The story has successfully highlighted the factors, which force women into preferring death to life. In more than 90 cases, they commit suicide by jumping into the river.

The film has claimed the best director, best actress and best story idea awards in the competition in which 96 films participated.

Film director Shoaib Sultan, who is based in Lahore, told Dawn that producer Nighat Akbar Shah, who belonged to Garam Chashma valley of Chitral and was settled in the US, was a social activist working for the women’s rights and it was her effort to use the medium of film to create awareness of the women’s social issues responsible for growing suicide incidence.

He said the issue had been exposed in the context of the local environment of Chitral and Gilgit-Baltistan, which shared social environment to a high degree and were known for superb scenic beauty.

“The writers studied and deeply analysed the ground realities and facts before developing the synopsis of the story and developing itfor which they toured and stayed in the area while the shooting of the film was carried out in Garam Chashma, one of the most beautiful and picturesque valleys of Chitral,” he said.

Explaining the significance of the film’s name, he said it was meant to send out the signal that the local people have to stick to own place in the face of problems and that the jumping into the river was not the solution of the problem.

“It also meant that the local people should rely on their potentials and resources and come out with solutions and ways to translate it into action instead of looking to outsiders for help,” he said.

Mr Sultan said it was his debut job as film director and he did not expect such a world level acclamation.

“All this [accomplishment] happened due to our dedication to the cause, which addressed one of the delicate issues.”

The director said Hiba Aziz hadn’t performed such type of role in any drama or film in the past but her performance was par excellence here, while except two auxiliary characters of villagers, all belonged to Punjab.

Published in Dawn, May 16th, 2021

Opinion

Sialkot speaks
31 Jul 2021

Sialkot speaks

The PML-N leadership is shell-shocked. A drubbing by the PTI in Sialkot? In the heart of Sharif territory?
Who messed up Afghanistan?
Updated 31 Jul 2021

Who messed up Afghanistan?

Russia and USA are squarely responsible for Afghanistan’s tragedy but Pakistan is certainly not innocent.

Editorial

China-Taliban meeting
Updated 31 Jul 2021

China-Taliban meeting

WITH the government in Kabul appearing to stand on very fragile foundations, and as the clock ticks down to the ...
31 Jul 2021

Outages in Makran

IT is no surprise that people in Balochistan’s Makran Division have of late taken to the streets to protest in the...
31 Jul 2021

Reduction in polio cases

AFTER the long and tedious efforts of those running the national polio programme, there are signs that Pakistan ...
30 Jul 2021

Judge’s elevation

A CONTROVERSY roiling the legal fraternity for a few weeks has come to a head. It was precipitated by the Judicial...
PTI’s Sialkot win
30 Jul 2021

PTI’s Sialkot win

The PML-N’s internal duality is a particularly acute factor that is dragging down the party in electoral contests.
30 Jul 2021

Attack on Chinese

AN attack targeting two Chinese nationals in Karachi on Wednesday should put the security apparatus on alert in ...