Lyari’s young generation is just as talented if not more as the younger lot of any other part of the country. This was more than evident on multiple levels by virtue of the short films and documentaries shown on the inaugural day of the first Lyari Film Festival in the Rangoon walla Hall on Wednesday afternoon.
It has to be said that the young directors who showcased their work are raw and new to the demanding discipline therefore any lapses on their part noticed in the films that were screened can be overlooked. What should not be overlooked is their effort. The short documentary Wheels directed by Ahsan Shah which opened the festival had enough to acknowledge that these youngsters have a consuming passion for filmmaking. All they need is to gain experience so that they fully discover the pleasures as well as travails of storytelling.
Wheels is about a cyclist in Lyari who laments the fact that his contemporaries are more into other sports like boxing and football and don’t give enough attention to cycling. In the six minute documentary in the Balochi language the director also tries to highlight the socioeconomic situation of the protagonist. And it’s not possible to miss out on the volatile political scenario of the neighborhood he hails from. In an insightful sound bite the cyclist says while other people play with ammunition he has a cycle as his weapon.
Wheels comes across as a short film more than a documentary because of the way it’s treated.
The second piece was a short film 2X1 directed by Adeel Wali. It’s a nice little tale of a minor boy who wants to learn mathematics and acquire a decent education. In the film he sets out from his home a bag slung over his shoulder giving the impression as if he’s going to school. He’s not. His bag has shoe polish and a brush in it.
The one thing that stands out in 2X1 is its intelligent camerawork. For a major period in the seven minute project the director used the handheld camera following the young boy in the narrow lanes and alleyways of Lyari. Only if the subtitles of both Wheels and 2X1 were done with more care the effort would have been doubly delightful.
Another short film Baba was directed by M. Zohaib Hassan. It’s in Urdu and revolves around a young man who has an uncertain relationship with his father.
The other films which were lined up for the day were Gullak Aman The Blind Musicians of Lyari Azmaan and Jalebi.
Earlier actor Mustafa Qureshi who was the chief guest on the occasion said films reflected life primarily the tussle between good and evil. He said that except the Z. A. Bhutto’s government no other government had supported the film industry the way it should have. Encouraging the talented people representing Lyari he talked about some of the prominent individuals from their neighborhood including the composer of Pakistan’s national anthem, Ahmed Ghulam Ali Chagla. He said Lyari was not in Karachi but Karachi was in Lyari.
Imran Saqib one of the organizers of the event and chairman of Nosach Films said despite the political turmoil in Lyari its residents still valued art culture and literature. This was the reason that a platform like Nosach Films was made which could help nurture budding filmmakers.
Sabiha Shah and Abdul Rahim Moosvi also spoke.
The festival organized by the Women Development Foundation and Nosach Films in collaboration with the Karachi Youth Initiative will run till September 20.