Iram Parveen Bilal’s film Josh (Against the Grain) is all set for screening at the 14th Mumbai Film Festival which is organized by Mumbai Academy of Moving Image (MAMI).
In the world of cinema, this is very encouraging that we have the many talented artiste who have started making their names internationally.
Bilal is known for her award-winning short films Marwa and Poshak, but Film Josh is her first debut feature. It’s also the only Pakistani fiction film to be screened in the world cinema category through MAMI in the last five years.
Film Josh is about Fatima, a dedicated school teacher, who is living a high cosmopolitan life in Karachi until one day her life shatters when she finds out her nanny Nusrat inexplicably disappears. Fatima then takes on the challenge to seek the dangerous truth in Nusrat’s feudal village. The themes being tackled are class separation, feudalism, poverty, individual empowerment, and women’s rights.
Bilal tells us that although Film Josh has an original script, the story is inspired by true accounts like Parveen Saeed’s concept of “Khana Ghar”. Saeed had established eateries around Karachi’s slums to erase hunger, which also brought down the crime rate.
Another reality that the film portrays is feudalism and the acts of revenge cases in feudal villages.
Film Josh has a promising Pakistani cast, including Aaminah Sheikh, Nyla Jafri, Khalid Malik, Mohib Mirza, Kaiser Khan Nizamanim, Adnan Shah Tipu, Parveen Akbar and Naveen Waqar.“My cast is my jewel!” says the proud director. “We had such an extended ensemble cast and we got lucky because as a whole, it was a delight and they took the project very seriously and respectfully,” Bilal says.
She also stated that she didn’t rely on any foreign technicians for the film. Bilal wanted a complete Pakistani film crew for the production process. “I have seen way too many films that bring foreign cast and crew members and Pakistanis are just the assistants or sideliners,” Bilal explains, “They shoot and they leave, then we end up with people who don’t have any legitimate experience in a major project.”
Expressing her excitement on being chosen to screen at MAMI, Bilal says: “I was grateful. We have a good film, and we hope it gets into many more festivals.