Friday, April 29, 2011

Film about the life of Allama Iqbal

Sorry about my long absence. I hope, what I am offering today will make up for it to some extent. It is the first made-for-TV feature film about the life of Iqbal, now available on Youtube.
Why did Iqbal suggest the idea of Pakistan (or did he, in the first place)? What was the bigger picture? How can we grasp the overall aim and purpose that our ancestors had in mind when they envisaged Pakistan?
These were the kind of questions we wanted to address in Iqbal: an Approach to Pakistan, the first made-for-TV film about the life of Allama Iqbal. Indeed, when we started making the film in 2006, these questions were more common than they are today. Somehow, it seems that the nation has started coming out of its confusions, and now, it may be found that the answers offered in our film are becoming increasingly more relevant.
Since 2009, when the film was officially aired from PTV and released on DVD, I have been showing it in schools, colleges, universities and teacher-training institutes. I have felt that the general interest is increasing with time: the audience seems lot more enthusiastic about this little known film now than two years ago.
Now that Iqbal Academy Pakistan has put it up on its YouTube channel, I can conveniently share it in this newsletter. I am doing so with much joy because I really like this film much more than some of my other writings. The basic idea was developed by my friend Faisal Rehman, who also directed it (and those of you who remember him as the trendsetting “Armaan” from the 1981 movie Nahin Abhi Nahin will find an extra layer of meaning in the film). I wrote the script and Iqbal Academy Pakistan produced it. Some of the big stars of our film and media appear in the film – Usman Pirzada, Waseem Abbas, Saba Pervez, Shamil Khan, Shujaat Hashmi, among others.
Due to the generous budget of the Academy and their status as a government organization, we were able to shoot some of the scenes on an epic scale – you will see Lahore Fort as it used to be in the days of the British Raj with a Union Jack flying over its main entrance, Iqbal will be found reciting his poems at the Tomb of Jehangir (which was one of his favorite jaunts for partying with his friends), and so on. Scenes of his residence were shot inside the house where he actually lived from 1922 to 1934.
I am specially recommending this film to everyone who is interested in Iqbal, Pakistan or just watching a well-made intelligent movie. Please let me know what you think of it, or post your comments directly at the Youtube page.