KARACHI, July 3: The entire cast and production team of Lamha, a Pakistani feature film, is excited about its chances of winning awards at the New York City International Film Festival (NYCIFF) where the movie will have its world premier this August.
“Some 3,000 films entered from which they narrowed the entries to a 100 films to be screened at the festival. But Lamha, besides being short listed, has also been entered in the competition making it eligible for the best producer, best director, best writer, best actor awards,” said Meher Jaffri, the film producer, and CEO of Bodhicitta Works, a relatively new production company, while speaking to Dawn on Tuesday.
NYCIFF is held annually at Times Square, New York, and runs in conjunction with the NYFilmMarket, the only film market in the US East Coast.
The producer is quite upbeat about the chances of the film after the response they got from the festival director Roberto Rizzo who wrote its press release himself with nice comments for the film. “Then this film is also the only thing coming from Pakistan at the festival. New York, anyway, is also a hub of filmmakers,” she said.
The film is scheduled to be released in Pakistan by late fall.
The story of Lamha revolves around three lives that are bound together by a devastating accident, in an intricately woven story of loss, forgiveness and redemption. The characters, played by Aamina Sheikh, Mohib Mirza and Gohar Rasheed, face the terrifying prospect of piecing together the semblance of normal life.
Aamina Sheikh’s breakthrough performance comes hot on the heels of her 2012 Lux Style Award Best Actress nomination, while this marks yet another accolade for Mohib Mirza after his win as the Best Supporting Actor at the International Filmmakers’ Festival 2009, at Kent, the UK.
Sharing their experience, Mohib Mirza and Aamina Sheikh said, “Working with Bodhicitta Works was tremendous. Their thorough and detailed pre-production process, dynamic and effective rehearsals, tight team-work, professional follow-up, cast and crew treatment, level of mutual respect and realistic scheduling was nothing short of impressive. The project getting international recognition at the NYCIFF is surely a reflection of such unwavering commitment and dedication of all those who literally ‘lived every moment of Lamha’. We feel that this is just the start of making a difference and creating opportunities. Its fruit belongs to the risk takers who stood for it while others weighed and waited.”
The story of the film has been penned by Summer Nicks “also a producer and my partner in our production company”. Asked if it is just a simple story or does it also involve the politics or social problems of Pakistan, the producer said, “Well, it is a story based in Pakistan, but it is just a human interest drama and doesn’t carry any political or social agenda, although our second project Kolachi, the highly anticipated sci-fi feature still in pre-production stage, is more current affairs. Another short musical film Ruckus featuring Usman Riaz premiered in Karachi with his debut album launch on June 15.”
Lamha has been directed by debutant director Mansoor Mujahid.
The New York City International Film Festival takes place this year from Aug 9 to 16.
The music of Lamha is to be hailed as a piece of art in itself. Usman Riaz – the 21-year-old musical prodigy and 2012 TEDGlobal Fellow — has composed the musical score of the film that features vocals by Zoe Viccaji. The rest of the film comprises classic songs by the renowned Mehdi Hasan in a tribute to the late ghazal singer. “We have used original old songs of Mehdi Hasan,” said Ms Jaffri. Usman Riaz and Zoe Viccaji have also been nominated this year in their respective musical categories for Lux Style Awards.