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‘We all belonged to one country”’ …says director Jamshed Mahmood Raza

Danuska Da Gama I NT BUZZ

Being invited to the 46th International Film Festival of India was a pleasant surprise for director Jamshed Mahmood Raza, whose film Moor, which translates to mother in Pashto and Urdu, is the only film from Pakistan being screened at the 46th International Film Festival of India (IFFI).
“It comes as a pleasant surprise especially since we are at time when Pakistani artistes aren’t being allowed to perform in the country,” says Jami, as the director is fondly referred to. Set against the declining railway system in Pakistan’s Balochistan province, the film ‘Moor’ follows a station master who fights to save a station from shutting down and his efforts to reconcile with his son, who faces struggles of his own in the big city.
The film has travelled to various festivals after its festival premier at the Busan Film Festival in October. However, unfortunately, it didn’t go down well with the audience in Pakistan. Jami tells us that he hadn’t expected the film to do as well as it did. And did he make some money out of it? “No. My films don’t make money,” says the director, who is encouraged by the critical response the film has garnered.
He wants to make films that can connect with the audience and not out of the box films like the Moor, especially since in Pakistan the film revival phase has just begun. In the film, human values can be felt from the mother’s point of view, especially as the system is crumbling due to massive corruption. “Here is a mother who is dying to protect the family. Heritage in the film is about the train from the British Empire and how it is getting destroyed, which also connects with the culture of the Baluchistan province.”
Talking about the film culture in Pakistan Jami says for thirty years no films were made in Pakistan. Today, Pakistan has film schools and students intern on film sets. Jami himself teaches filmmaking. And for this filmmaker who studied in America everything is, in his words – “Twenty four frames per second.”
Speaking on Indian films being released in Pakistan, Jami says that his people are extremely open to watching Indian films. “I agree that some films were banned for content or some other issue. There will also be films made by us on your country, which might get banned…in fact many do. Sometimes even before the film is released it is decided that the film is to be banned.”
On speaking about improving friendly ties between the two nations, Jami is of the opinion that being a regular visitor to India he has found that there aren’t any people who despise Pakistani nationals. “Actually I feel it is certain people in the government who create hatred among the nations. Small issues are over hyped. But here it is about hurting relations between siblings, as all of us are one. We all belonged to one country,” says Jami, who also finds it difficult that an India Pakistan match is no less than war.
Speaking about the rising intolerance in India he says: “I see Pakistan becoming very Indian and India becoming Pakistan, which is very scary.” He says in Pakistan they have gone through this phase which if it continues will only bring India down – it will destroy the country and culture. The beef ban he opines is very petty, just like the shia- sunni war in Pakistan
Just like Aamir Khan has been the point of discussion ever since his tweet, Jami too faced flak fighting for Aamir on Facebook. “Aamir has given India his life. If he was in Pakistan people would have honoured him and put him on a pedestal.”
He was warned by his Indian wife to be careful while in India as there is a whole lot of friction and issues, but Jami was pretty sure that his life is safe in Goa. “I am a little scared because in Pakistan I have my own people I can call in times of danger, but here I know nobody; but that too is over the top.”

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