Stories about documentary

Ho Yaqeen: Bringing hope and positivity to Pakistan

“Turn every stone in Pakistan and you find a diamond,” said Sabina Khatri – one of the six central characters of Ho Yaqeen, a project that aims to promote a positive image of Pakistan. She sent chills down my spine. I listened keenly as she spoke at the premiere of HoYaqeen which was attended by the glitterati of Karachi. Pakistan’s first and only Oscar winner, Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy was also present at this event. What Sabina said stayed with me; working for a news organisation has made me feel despondent and desolate. As news of torture, rape, kidnapping, sectarian violence and bomb blasts pours ...

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Saving Face: An Oscar for mediocrity?

In February, when Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy’s Film, Saving Face, on acid burn victims won an Oscar, I was sceptical. Accolade seemed to focus on how great it was for Pakistan to have this honour – and whenever people get jingoistic, you know that the core may be hollow.   Frankly, there are two reasons why the film won the Oscar: excellent public relations work, and choice of topic that fits the western narrative of acceptable ways to talk about Muslim women – as victims of patriarchal religious violence without any emphasis on the larger socio-economic context in which this violence ensues and whether there are ...

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Saving Face: A masterpiece documentary

With a runtime of barely 40 minutes, Saving Face is short for a documentary, but it has the might to touch the soul with the potency of a powerful full length feature. Directed by Daniel Junge and Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, this 2012 Academy Award winner for ‘Best Documentary (Short Subject)’ is a glimpse into the lives of several acid attack victims in Pakistan, their tormentors, and the good people fighting to help them find some light in the haunting darkness of their situation. One of these Good Samaritans is Dr Mohammad Jawad, a ...

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What the Oscar means for Pakistan and Iran

When the name Asghar Farhadi was called out as the winner of the prestigious award in the category for Best Foreign Language Film, for his film ‘A separation’, I immediately texted my best friend, who happens to be Iranian, congratulating her, while doing a little dance of happiness for a fellow Muslim country’s achievement. Many of my Muslim friends also updated their statuses, even though they were not Iranians. However, when Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy’s name was called for Pakistan, in the category Best Documentary, Short Subject for her film “Saving Face”, my entire Facebook feed flooded ...

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The Oscar conundrum

Pakistan’s first Oscar moment was momentous, to say the least. That one of our own was blessed enough to walk in front of the best of the best of the world cinema and claim her place within their ranks is a testament to the resolve of the Pakistani spirit, and an ovation to our limitless talent. At the same time it has been mired in the fact that it does portray a side that we would rather brush under the carpet. There is some truth to both sides of the story. To walk up and be awarded the golden statue, which ...

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Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, you are my role model

As I sat waiting for the award for ‘Best Documentary, Short Subject’ for which Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy had been nominated for her documentary Saving Face to be announced, my stomach tied itself in knots. Having interned with Sharmeen last year, and worked with her on “Saving Face”, I was inspired by her. I frantically texted my friend Anushka (who had been Sharmeens’ assistant last year) who was as nervous and excited as me. The thought of Sharmeen at the Oscars was overwhelming and we had a strong feeling that she would win. We felt anxious, almost sick, but we knew that we were not alone. There was an entire ...

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