Saawan premieres in Karachi amidst much appreciation
Karachi: Breaking away from commercial, masala films, Farhan Alam’s multi award-winning venture, Saawan finally saw the light of the day in Pakistan on September 15. After multiple screenings in the festival circuit worldwide including the Madrid International Film Festival and the recent Salento International Film festival, the film premiered in Karachi a day before its release nationwide.
Shot against the beautiful locales of Skardu and northern areas of Pakistan, the film tells the true story of Saawan, a nine-year-old polio-affected child with disabilities, brilliantly essayed by child artist Syed Karam Hussain. Saawan carries an important message and aims to raise awareness on polio besides highlighting issues such as child trafficking, political manipulation and power games that plague our institutions.
As far as the story goes, Saawan is abandoned in a deserted area when his family, including his parents and a younger sister, moves to the city after the entire region has been vacated. Prior to their departure, he faces discrimination on various levels due to his inability to walk, not just from other children in the locality but also from his father, who scolds and beats him all the time. His mother, played by Najiba Faiz, is a beacon of hope and comes to rescue him from his father’s anger and frustration.
The film follows Saawan’s quest for survival as he rises above his circumstances and strives to reunite with his family against all odds. Saawan is a shining example of strength and hope that this child embodies and proves that no impairment can stop one from achieving what they truly desire and deserve.
The performances remain the major highlight of the film throughout and the best is delivered by the young Karam Hussain, who was also present at the premiere. Apart from him, Najiba Faiz’s portrayal of a distressed yet vocal mother who doesn’t shy away from speaking her heart out to save her family was commendable. The list of actors extends to Saleem Mairaj, Tipu Sharif, Arif Bahalim, Imran Aslam, Hafeez Ali and Shahid Nizami, all of whom brought their A game to the table. Writer and co-producer of the project, Mashood Qadri also makes a brief appearance in the film.
It is inspiring to see an award winning film with a good script and remarkable performances making way to local cinemas. Saawan has been honoured with the award for Best Film and Best Soundtrack at the recently concluded Salento International Film Festival 2017, while it won two awards – for Best Film and Best Director – at the Social World Film Festival 2017. It also bagged the Best Foreign Language Feature trophy at the Madrid International Film Festival earlier this year.
However, given that masses are attracted to more commercial and star speckled ventures, we aren’t sure if the film fares well at the local box office. It is sad that the film has not been promoted well in the country due to which a lot of people aren’t even aware of its release in Pakistan.
Speaking to Instep, director Farhan Alam shared, “Many people don’t know about the film but those who have come to watch it have only good things to say about it. There’s no denying the fact that people are more inclined towards commercial films but Saawan talks about real issues that people in our society face. It carries an important message and we hope that it performs well in Pakistan the way it has impressed viewers internationally.”