KARACHI: Like other people, we had been asking the question that why make a film inspired by the poet Mir Taqi Mir. Gradually the question became the theme of a film. This was said by poet and playwright Sarmad Sehbai while addressing the media during the curtain-raiser show for the film Mah-i-Mir, to be released on May 6.
Mr Sehbai, who could not make it to the event and was speaking to journalists from the US over the telephone, said that not many people read poetry in the country, so it was natural to raise the question that why make a film that had Mir as a reference in it. Gradually, he said, the query itself became the theme of the story. He said the film explored the relationship of contemporary society to the past, using Mir as a symbol of our (cultural) heritage.
Mr Sehbai said that as soon as the trailer for the film hit the airwaves, people started talking about it. He said he was once invited to a university where he met a student who did not know much about the poet, but claimed that after watching the trailer he had developed a romance with Mir. Similarly, he said, the host of an event that he attended had begun using the line ‘Hai naam majlison mein mera Mir-i-bey dimagh’ whenever someone asked about his name.
Actress Huma Nawab said it was a beautiful movie and “no one can go wrong with Sarmad Sehbai”. She said she always wanted to work with Sehbai and now her wish had come true. She said it was a film that had elements of literature in it. She urged everyone to watch and comment on it.
Actor Fahad Mustafa said the film was a brave attempt. He said when the director of the project, Anjum Shahzad, approached him with the script, he felt intimidated because he was a Sindhi and the character he was supposed to do spoke in chaste Urdu.
He said then he realised that he spoke better Urdu than other actors in the business and accepted the part. He said though his film Namaloom Afraad had already been released, technically Mah-i-Mir was his first movie.
He said it was not a biopic of Mir Taqi Mir but an intense love story. He said that at the heart of it was the character of a poet but what happened to him during the course of the story could happen to anyone. He said now all kinds of projects were being made in Pakistan and Mah-i-Mir could become the identity of Pakistani cinema.
Actor Alyy Khan said he was honoured to be part of the film. He said Pakistani cinema was trying to come out of infancy. He said the character he was asked to play uttered a great deal of Persian, and he did not know the language. He said he would receive the script in the roman script and say his lines.
Hum TV’s Sultana Siddiqui said the film had been made by ‘intellectuals’ and was aesthetically strong as well.
The director of Mah-i-Mir, Anjum Shahzad, said he was frightened of the writer Sarmad Sehbai who would not forgive the tiniest of mistakes. All he tried to do, he said, was to shoot the story convincingly.
Actress Iman Ali, who came late to the press conference, said she had already worked in films, but wanted Mah-i-Mir to be a success because of her friend Anjum Shahzad. She was all praise for the way he shot the movie.
The producer of the film, Badar Ikram, shared a couple of amusing incidents that took place during the filming process.
Originally published in Dawn, April 19th, 2016