Saawan, the up and coming production of Kalakar Films, is a human-centered drama that highlights the injustices of our society and the inept feudal justice system. Inspired by true events, it is the story of a handicapped 9-year old boy deserted in a desolate valley in the mountains of Balochistan. The boy (the protagonist played by child prodigy actor Karam Hussein) is rejected by his father, intimidated by society, harassed by friends and left alone in a valley in the scorching heat to die due to his disability. Strengthened by memories and dreams of the love of his mother, he begins a perilous journey back to his family in the main city. Three local child actors and the younger brother of Karam, Ali Abbas, help the boy throughout his journey to reach the main city but...
As the 9-year old boy struggles for recognition as an equal member of society, the movie takes the viewers through a journey of courage, resilience, humanity, and love prevailing over the unfortunate norms: feudalism, ignorance, hypocrisy and terrorism.
Saawan is a story that questions us. It forces us to open our eyes to the cruelty that we have deemed commonplace.
While the issues are dark, there are moments of satire. The characters create a space for a lightness in the midst of tragedy. Like in life, sorrow often accompanies joy. This film and its characters successfully maintain the fragile balance of the beautiful tempestuousness of life. Saawan carries a message of hope and is a lesson for those who ignore and abuse disabled children in their lives and consider them a liability. It reminds us that inhumanity begins in our own homes, schools, and neighborhoods. Humanity can only be perpetuated by changing our beliefs and behaviors rooted in inequality to those rooted in kindness and altruism. If we cannot treat our children with equality, then we must question in what direction our society is heading. This film has the power to inspire people who have the desire to speak out against such atrocities against children but hesitate. The hope is that they will be inspired to stand up for those ridiculed and abused for being disabled.
Farhan Alam the exceptional director and Mashood Qadri who is the writer of Saawan showcase the immense talent of Karam Hussein (the protagonist). Karam is a famous child actor. He is supported by Najiba Faiz and Arif Bahalim. Najiba Faiz, an up and coming actress of international fame, performs as the boy’s inspiring mother. She exudes the loving soul of the boy’s mother with her expressive eyes. Brilliantly, Arif Bahalim portrays the role of the ambivalent father. With his daring eyes and lanky appearance, he appears as the poor ignorant villager who belatedly realizes his love for his son. He brings a complexity to an otherwise stereotypical role in a manner which cannot be expressed in words. Fabled Yorguc Tipu appears as the border patrol officer with a grace, expected with his style. Charming Imran Aslam as the dedicated but lovelorn reporter brings a youthful freshness to his role, while the charismatic Salim Meraj as the cruel child abductor brings a comedic yet sinister element. Hafeez Ali performed magnificently with Saleem Mairaj. Sehrish Qadri a graduate of McGill University, Montreal, Canada, has made her first appearance as a captivating brave reporter who kept Imran Aslam on track to almost fulfill the path. The giant duo Shahid Nizami _son of legendary Khaled Nizami, and Sohaid Malik executed the task of portraying villainy in its purest form. Retired Lt. General S.A.A.Najmi has made a special guest appearance as well. An essential part of the film, the dog, Liam, was picked from the U.S. He is a three legged dog (tripod) picked especially for the script. He had been trained by professional dog trainer, Mindy Brown, prior to their visit to Pakistan.
Farhan Alam, son of the celebrated Shah Alam, (Rtrd. Head of the Camera Dept. PTV, Karachi), one of the pioneers of television and film in Pakistan, has been considered the Jinni of his field as the main Director of Photography for “Bin Roye”, the movie had been highly rewarded for its excellence in cinematography. He has worked on many impressive drama serials such as Dastaan, Malaal, Mera Naseeb, Sanjah, and Coke Kahani.
Mashood Qadri did the screenplay and the writer of Saawan. He is a physician practicing in the U.S. and is the grandson of religious scholar Maulana Abdul Hamid Badayuni. Mashood is the writer of noted satirical Award winning Movie “Riyasat mein Riyasat" the Best Screenplay/Best Story Award - 4th Shan-e-Awadh Internal Film Festival-Lucknow. It is necessary to note that the script of Saawan reflects the poetic and elegant writing of Pakistan’s best. It is of a quality that lacks the necessity of the ostentatious of item songs and flashing lights that we have become so accustomed to. Unfortunately, writers have beome the footnote in a culture that once thrived upon great writers. Instead, Mashood Qadri reminds us how refreshing and impactful good writing can actually be.
Six months before the movie shooting took place, Farhan Alam, Mashood Qadri had traveled to Skardu for scouting. The movie then was shot in August and September 2015 In the extreme north of Pakistan, Skardu is the central valley of Gilgit-Baltistan; it is the epitome of pristine beauty, serenity and wilderness. It was shot on Blackmagic Cinema camera with Sony CineAlta lenses and DJI Phaeton 3 Pro Drone with the perfection and acumen of two of the best in their fields: Faraz Alam and Farhan Alam. Paths to some of the world’s highest peaks are connected through this valley and have provided a scenic journey throughout the script. In the spirit of making the movie a success, the producer, Asma Qadri, the director and the writer stayed in the scorching heat of one of the deserts of Pakistan throughout shooting with the entire filming entourage.
Saawan is being edited by Aseem Sinha, one of the best in Bollywood Movies and noted for having unequivocal international fame. The music is composed by known Hollywood music producer, Amir Isilah. What makes Saawan unique on screen is that it is a product of Bollywood, Hollywood, and the Pakistan Film Industry.
Long Live Humanity
Saawan will be releasing in July 2016
By Mehreen Quadri and Hira Nasir
Edited December 12th, 2016