Chivas, cigars offered to Musharraf to appear in Bhutto film

"Convincing Benazir's political rival General Pervez Musharraf to appear on film was not easy. The effort took a respectful letter, followed by a bottle of Chivas Regal and Cuban cigars delivered to his hotel suite in Philadelphia, where he was speaking on a tour of the US to rehabilitate his image," Duane Baughman and Mark Siegel, the director and producer of the film respectively, wrote in an article for Foreign Policy.

"With much flattery and a bit of arm-twisting, we were able to elicit a short interview and took the opportunity to ask some tough questions. Gen Musharraf's appearance in the film provoked a surprise visit from his son Bilal the following year at the Sundance Film Festival," the duo wrote.

Their documentary "Bhutto" is currently playing in theatres across the US and will premiere in Washington on December 17. The film was released in Pakistan earlier this year.

Bilal Musharraf, who lives in the US, accused the filmmakers of defaming his father. "...he (Bilal) stood at the back of a packed theater, veins bulging in anger, and accused us of smearing his father's good name to build up Benazir. The audience was stunned and fell completely silent. We suggested to Musharraf that it wasn't so much the film but history and public opinion that takes a dim view of military dictators," the filmmakers wrote.
Pakistan will observe the third anniversary of Bhutto's assassination on December 27. The two-time former premier was killed by a suicide attacker shortly after addressing an election rally in the garrison city of Rawalpindi.

Siegel was Bhutto's friend and speech writer for 25 years and co-authored her last book "Reconciliation: Islam, Democracy, and the West". Baughman is the founder of San Francisco-based Yellow Pad Productions. In their article, the filmmakers wrote about their colourful experiences while shooting in Pakistan for the documentary, which uses Bhutto's voice from recorded interviews to narrate the story of her life.

"...when Karachi's chaotic streets prevented our film crew from reaching the airport to catch the only daily flight to Benazir's mausoleum in Sukkur, we were saved at the last minute by a phone call from President (Asif Ali) Zardari, who held our plane – and its agitated Sindhi passengers – on the tarmac for over an hour until we were safely aboard," they wrote.

The team also got lucky when "at some point during our transatlantic flight back to the US, the Marriott (Hotel in Islamabad) was the target of a massive suicide bombing, killing 54 people...among them friends we had made – waiters, bell men, concierges, and security guards..."

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