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(L-R) Mohib Mirza and Aamina Sheikh

A chance to see husband-wife duo Aamina Sheikh and Mohib Mirza together on screen is pretty much all the motivation needed for a Pakistani movie and drama buff to watch the latest indie wonder “Seedlings” also known as “Lamha”

Lamha weaves through the life of a young couple Maliha (Aamina Sheikh) and Raza (Mohib Mirza) and those affected by their deep struggle to reconnect after the loss of their only child in a tragic accident.

Maliha is an artist who suffers from OCD and recluse behavior since the death of her son, and Raza, a photographer who ignores his own feelings since the death of his son. Both have come to a cross-roads in their relationship where they may completely fall apart or be brought together to overcome their trauma.

Director Mansoor Mujahid, a SZABIST graduate, seamlessly layered the obstacles of each character into each scene.

Sheikh and Mirza perfected the role of the tortured husband and wife – struggling to find what each had before the accident. Their road to re-discovery is one full of the typical misunderstandings between the man and woman relationship dynamic except the background is based on a terrible tragedy.

Lamha’s most intriguing character was Anil (Gohar Rasheed), a guilt-driven driver. Anil is uncomfortable and shifty – never having suffered the consequences of his actions – making the audience members just as uncomfortable and shifty in their seats. Rasheed seems to have crossed the bridge and become the new look-out artist; his adaptability is an art in itself.

The most enthralling scene is when Maliha and Anil finally confront each other after months of agony. The confrontation is jolting if nothing else – flood gates that spilled real anger and hurt.

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Gohar Rasheed.

Intentional or not, Mujahid had a fourth main character – the silent character is his use of light. He used light, darkness, and shadows to portray emotions rather than speech. There is a quiet scene where Maliha stands in the shadows and Raza behind her in the light – not saying a word but the tension built up around them spoke volumes. It had a creeping emotional result – which was not too abstract – it was just the right amount for its purpose.

Whether or not, Mujahid planned for this feature film to become what it is; heartbreaking, captivating, and an engrossing piece of work – “Lamha” has ultimately set the standard for future feature films that come out of Pakistan.

The production house is Bodhicitta Works whose CEO Meher Jaffri was also one of the main the producers for “Lamha.”

“Lamha” or “Seedlings” is currently being shown in New York as part of the New York City International Film Festival (NYCIFF) – one of the 100 films picked from thousands.

It has been nominated for the following categories: Best Picture, Best Director (Mansoor Mujahid), Best Actress in a Lead Role (Aamina Sheikh), Best Actor in a Lead Role (Mohib Mirza), Best Actor in a supporting Role (Gohar Rasheed) and Best Original Screenplay (Summer Nicks).

The author is a former Dawn.com staff member, now based in New York.

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