KARACHI: A special pre-release show of the film Josh directed by Iram Parveen Bilal at Atrium Cinema in collaboration with T2F was held on Monday. The screening was followed by a question-and-answer session with the director, who got stuck in traffic and came running to the cinema hall a little over 10 minutes after the film had ended.
Josh pivots around the character of a girl Fatima (Aamina Sheikh) who belongs to a well-off family. Her father is a lawyer (Khalid Ahmed). She is romantically involved with an artist Adil (Khalid Malik) who is about to leave for the US to explore his art. Fatima has a nanny Nusrat Bi (Nyla Jafri) whom she has known since she was a child. She is fond of Nusrat Bi because she has taken care of her all through her life. Adil has a bunch of friends including politician Uzair (Mohib Mirza). Uzair and Fatima don’t hit it off initially.
Nusrat Bi lives in an abadi called Khuda Ki Basti which is governed by a landowner Khan (Kaiser Khan Nizamani). Khan has a trusted worker in Sher Gul (Adnan Shah Tipu). Khan gets agitated by a young man Ahmed’s (Ali Rizvi) rebellious disposition on the issue of gandum (wheat). Nusrat Bi is protective of Ahmed, a fact that Khan and his men don’t approve of.
Nusrat Bi takes a few days leave and tells Fatima she will be back soon. Fatima says she will miss her. Nusrat Bi reaches home where the issue of Ahmed has reached fever-pitch proportions. One evening Ahmed comes and meets Nusrat Bi, and Khan’s men get wind of the meeting. In the next scene a crowd is seen gathered around Nusrat Bi’s dead body who was raped and killed.
Fatima cries like a baby at her nanny’s death and senses that there’s more to it than meets the eye. She decides to take the battle to Khan and his men, and uncover the truth. She seeks Adil’s help who after a little debate nods in the affirmative. As they get into the underbelly of Khuda Ki Basti things begin to unfold and they realise that Khan wields immense power which is why no one can stand up to him.
When Fatima’s activities increase and her resolve becomes steelier to launch a Khana Ghar in the basti (something that Nusrat Bi did), Khan kidnaps her. But by that time Fatima has instilled enough courage in the basti wallahs that they shun their fear of the landowner and gather courage to speak for their rights. Accidentally Khan’s young son Shera gets killed and Fatima is allowed to run away by Gul Sher from Khan’s custody.
Josh is a well-intentioned film but lacks a worthwhile screenplay. Things don’t build up to a consequence enough and the viewer has a sense of ‘what’s going to happen next’ much before it happens. The dialogue is pedestrian and knowing that the story revolves around the younger lot, it is deficient in humour quotient.
Replying to a question after the show, Ms. Bilal said that the film was shot in Karachi and limited resources did not allow her to take the cast and crew to other cities.
“Sometimes resources dictate how creative you can be,” she remarked. In response to another question she said the film was inspired by true events and people like Parveen Saeed (who runs Khana Ghar). Commenting on the process of filmmaking she remarked, “Making a film is harder than science ever was,” perhaps referring to her school days.