Pakistan’s ‘parachute politician’ main draw at film fest

Panaji, Sep 15 : Apart from a menu of 50 films from various South Asian countries, chairperson of the Pakistan Film Censor Board (PFCB) Nilofar Bakhtiar will be one of the main highlights of the South Asian Film Festival (SAFF) that begins in Goa Sep 17.

Bakhtiar, a Pakistani senator who is leading a delegation of filmmakers and officials for the four-day event, was the former tourism minister of Pakistan and was forced to resign from office in 2007 after Islamic clerics issued a fatwa against her for allegedly hugging and kissing a male colleague after a parachute jump.

“She will be leading the delegation from Pakistan. Bakhtiar is also the chairperson of the Pakistani Senate’s standing committee on Culture,” Rahul Barua, secretary general of SAFF, told reporters in Panaji.

He said that a delegation from Bhutan was also expected to be part of SAFF, which will screen 50 films from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Maldives and Nepal apart from India.

“The focus country for the SAFF this time round is Afghanistan, while we have some excellent Pakistani movies like ‘Kala Pul’ and ‘Gurmukh Singh Ki Wasiyat’, which is based on Saadat Hasan Manto’s short story,” Barua said, adding that the festival aimed to promote peace and harmony in the South Asian region.

“One of SAFF’s theme is dissolving boundaries for larger socio-cultural and political objectives,” Barua said.

He said that the festival would showcase classics, short films and documentaries apart from regular feature films.

“Our movies have swamped most countries in the South Asian region. India’s soft diplomacy with the help of movies is well appreciated. Now we are trying to build an atmosphere in India where films from other South Asian countries can also be appreciated,” Barua said.

“An Apple from Paradise”, an Afghan movie directed by Hamayoun Morowat, will be the festival’s opening film.


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