Before Mehreen Jabbar began work on her sophomore feature film Dobara Phir Se, she had quietly begun work on a short film titled Lala Begum. It was said to star Marina Khan, Sonia Rahman and Humayun Saeed, Syed Mohammed Ahmed was writing its script, and the film was intended to screen at a short film festival organised by Zee TV. Interest was piqued, but Mehreen kept mum about the project - until now.
In a conversation with Images, Mehreen describes Lala Begum as a family drama, but not the kind we're tired of seeing on TV.
" [Lala Begum] is a story of two estranged sisters who meet after a long time," Mehreen tells us, and we're immediately relieved that the film focuses on familial relationships outside the context of marriage and its trappings.
"I was asked by Ms Shailja Kejriwal and Mr Vikas Sharma from Zee Zindagi to be part of [the Zeal for Unity venture]," Mehreen shares about her participation. "Actually Ahmed saab had written this as a short 40-minute film which I was going to work on with Marina and Sonia but when the opportunity with Zee came along, we felt that this would be an ideal film to showcase there."
Despite the ennui surrounding cultural endeavours for Pak-India peace, Mehreen still believes that films can help our neighbours get to know us better.
"Cultural exchange is one of the strongest and most effective ways of promoting understanding and respect while learning from what we can offer each other. I think this is an amazing venture and probably it's the first time that such an initiative has been organized," Mehreen said.
The Zeal for Unity initiative will see 12 directors from Pakistan and India screen their short films in film festivals across India, reports Mumbai Mirror.