Films crossing boundaries
Indian academic Salma Siddiqui is on her fourth visit to Pakistan since the year 2000, for research in connection with her PhD in Media Art and Design at the University of Westminster in London. On Friday she presented a paper at the Institute of Peace and Secular Studies (IPSS), Lahore, analysing three Pakistani films on the construction of history and identity, Khuda Ke Liye, Khamosh Paani and Ramchand Pakistani.
“Identity is contingent on political events,” she said. “For example, in Khuda ke liye, the identity of Fawad Khan’s character is contingent upon the political context in Pakistan.” Films, she said, are an important source of history and also cultural norms. People in India watching Ramchand Pakistani were surprised that there were non-Muslim Pakistanis.
As an Indian Muslim, she thought Khuda Ke Liye made some bold and interesting statements. “It argued that the terror timeline in Pakistan started before 9/11. It addressed the growing radicalisation in Pakistan as well as rising Islamophobia elsewhere.