Pakistanis are evolving in film and drama production with their multimedia and artistic talents with films like The Legends of Maula Jatt and Joyland. One of the standout Pakistani films, Wakhri is gaining worldwide attention as it focuses on the unspoken issue of our society. It is the first ever Pakistani project to receive recognition Cannes Cinefondation L’Atelier. The Pakistani film Wakhri is also known as ‘One of a Kind’.
It features various names from our film industry such as Faryal Mehmood, Gulshan Majeed, Shees Saji Gul, Akbar Islam, Bakhtawar Mazhar, Sohail Sameer, Saleem Mairaj, Tooba Siddiqui and other social media influencers.
This movie has a long list of producers. Abid Aziz Merchant produces it under the banner of ‘Sanat Initiative’, Apporva Bakhshi and Monisha Thyagarajan’s production Awedacious Originals, Parveen Bilal’s Parveen Shah Productions and Roman Paul’s Razor film Productions.
Iram Parveen Bilal has directed the Pakistani film Wakhri. Before that, she directed I’ll meet you there. It was nominated for Grand Jury at SXSW in 2020. Aarti Bajaj is the film editor whose famous project was ‘Sacred Games’.
International nominations of Pakistani film Wakhri
Along with being nominated for the Cannes Film Festival in 2019, Wakhri film has been nominated on many international platforms. In 2018 Wahri was nominated in Locarno Open Doors together with Saim Sadiq’s Joyland. He is also a recipient of the Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment (CAPE) and the CAA Foundation Full Story Initiative grant. In addition, the project also participated in the Busan Asian Project Market in 2022.
Like land of joy breaks through stereotyped barriers on a local and international level, Wakhri also highlights some social problems in our society. It revolves around an unashamed, misfit and daring school teacher who endures social media bullying and modern female oppression.
The story of Pakistani cinema Wakhri is inspired by bold social media influencers like Qandeel Baloch. The character of the school teacher is played by Faryal Mehmood in the film. She accidentally stumbles upon the power of social media and blasts away at her society’s stereotypical patriarchy.
Meanwhile, she chooses to keep his identity a secret. She struggles to keep her dual identity distinct and harmonious. She is bullied on social media and exposed to society’s dangerous underbelly. It highlights sensitive topics and the dark effects of social media bullying.
Director Iram Parveen Bilal calls it a ‘grounded masala’. While the dark realities of society are manifested, there is a lot of entertainment in the movie. There are loud club songs in Punjabi and rap songs in Urdu to rap along to. The creators have made a serious effort to integrate the best of the Pakistani music industry through soundtracks.
So far, big names in the Pakistan music industry like Meesha Shafi, Eva B and Abdullah Siddiqui have joined forces to bring quality music to the public. Further names will be announced shortly.
Pakistani movie Wakhri has received appreciation from various international platforms. This rating is for all the right reasons. The whole team of producers, directors, actors and musicians has worked hard to promise a project worth watching. It has a provocative subject matter that highlights the roots of social dilemmas. In addition, the portrayal of female empowerment is rightly portrayed against the social stigmas.
In this patriarchal society, a movie like Wakhri is very eloquent in speaking for women’s rights and highlighting the issues. The release date of the film in Pakistan has not yet been announced. Hopefully it will be one of the upcoming 2023 Pakistani movies.