Pakistani cinema made us proud once again as Mehreen Jabbar's short film Lala Begum bags the award for best screenplay at the 6th Annual Washington DC South Asian Film Festival (DCSAFF).
Hosted by the not-for-profit DC South Asian Arts Council, DCSAFF is one of the most celebrated screen events on the Washington, D.C. cultural calendar. The festival takes place annually in the heart of America's capitol, showcasing the best in alternative cinema from India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka.
Syed Mohammad Ahmed, known for writing contemporary screenplays, is the name behind the 40-minute-long short film Lala Begum, garnering it much success. Ahmed is a respected name in the film and TV industry, most famed for writing the hit drama serial Tum Se Kehna Tha in the mid 1990s. He also wrote the critically acclaimed Ramchand Pakistani, which was also Jabbar's film directorial debut.
The film revolves around the relationship between two estranged sisters, Meher (Marina Khan) and Seher (Sonia Rehman Qureshi) in the 1970s who hadn't spoken to each other over two decades. Meher begrudges Seher her disregard of the family's wishes and marrying Ahmed, a man outside the family. The two meet decades later when Seher returns home claim her share of the family estate after her husband dies; a tiff that caused nothing but an overwhelming sense of loneliness.
Lala Begum was produced by the Indian channel Zee Zindagi, which was known for televising old and new Pakistani dramas, creating a buzz. With the background score done by Zeb and Haniya, and with actors like Marina Khan, Sonya Rehman and Humayun Saeed, the short film is one to watch. One hopes we get to see it soon in Pakistan.