‘Ramchand Pakistani’ lauded for acting, script, direction

July 12th, 2008 - 11:21 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, July 12 (IANS) “Very good”, “fantastic”, “great story line” and “awesome acting” - that’s how film buffs reacted after watching the Pakistani movie “Ramchand Pakistani” at the 10th Osian’s Film Festival of Asian and Arab cinema here Saturday. The film essays how an accidental crossing of the India-Pakistan border at the time of war-like tension dramatically changes the lives of a poor Pakistani Hindu ‘untouchable’ peasant family comprising an eight-year-old boy and his parents.

The narrative unfolds on two parallel tracks on either side of the border until they eventually intersect.

Former Pakistani politician and filmmaker Javed Jabbar, who has produced the film and whose daughter Mehreen has made her directorial debut with it, told IANS: “To my pleasant surprise, my daughter has proved to be a better director than me. ‘Ramchand Pakistani’ is a great story of human relationships and of human identity.

“There has never been a film based on ‘Pakistani Hindu untouchability’. It not only talks about this issue, it also shows the good that can come out of it. We have shown how a Hindu caste-conscious woman police officer prefers to keep away from the young protagonist. But gradually, she changes her attitude towards caste and becomes loving and tender towards the boy.

“The film portrays a woman’s struggle for emotional security and survival and also a child’s coming of age well before time,” Jabbar added.

He divulged that almost 75 percent of the film is based on a real-life story, adding that had he directed the film, he would have “probably increased its political element”.

On having chosen India’s Nandita Das as the only non-Pakistani actor in the film, Jabbar cleared the air and denied that it was a conscious decision. “It was a decision keeping in mind the appropriateness of her acting skills for the character. She suited the character perfectly,” he maintained.

“It was a very good film. I think it was fantastic,” said a Pakistani diplomat after watching the film at the festival.

Das, who has acted in a Pakistani film for the first time, was highly applauded for her performance. She said: “It is a director’s film. I am just an actor. Mehreen is very sincere and has a very sensitive mind. I have known her for five years.”

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