A handshake across the borders

A handshake across the borders

Khalid Ali, director of the acclaimed Pakistani feature film, Dukhtar, recollected his childhood memories of watching hits like Sholay and Amar Akbar Anthony while in the City recently. He was here to take part in the ‘Bangalore International Film Festival’.

Dukhtar is a seamless drama-thriller which showcases snow-capped mountains, rich ravines and valleys in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), intertwined within a powerful narrative of a patriarchal society, in which two women are the protagonists. Khalid wanted to present Pakistan in a different light through this movie.
 The seasoned director, who has been in the business of filmmaking for 30 years, says that he didn’t face any challenges while shooting in the boundaries because of the great weather and the will to show a beautiful Pakistan.  

He believes the story and script are the most important tools in cinema. He reminisces the neck-to-neck race that Indian and Pakistani movies once ran together before Zia-ul-Haq’s regime. “Indian and Pakistani movies ran parallelly once. But during Zia’s regime, censorship hindered the growth of  arts. Today, though Pakistani movies are catching up, Indian cinema is far ahead.”

He notes that his country has a huge market for Indian movies as people there are always interested in common stories and the relationships the duo share. He cites this as an opportunity for Indian investors, producers and distributors to make movies in Pakistan. “Pakistani cinema is heavily dependent on the Indian cinema for itself to grow,” he adds.

Despite the growth of television there, Khalid finds the lack of adequate cinema screens and as a result, a lack of a growing audience, the two challenges that the cinema industry in Pakistan faces.
Yet, he is optimistic about the scenario as he finds youngsters going abroad, studying films and working on art movies. “I always believe that there shouldn’t be boundaries for lovers and films and I hope that immigration policies become more friendly,” he says, Khalid Ali feels that friendships between the Indians and Pakistanis have grown amidst border issues and he wants such friendships to continue and cinema, as a visual medium, to depict these bonds.

Since he makes unconventional and movies, has he faced any threats from extremist groups? “I refuse to comment on this,” he says.

However, his passion is rock-solid as he is busy with six feature films on the loop and he hopes that someday, Dukhtar, will be released in India.


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