Film on slain social activist Perween Rahman bags award in Turkey

Film on slain social activist Perween Rahman bags award in Turkey

Director of the Orangi Pilot Project, Rahman was shot dead on March 2013 on her way home from her office in Orangi Town
30 Oct, 2017

KARACHI: A film on the life and work of renowned social worker Perween Rahman, who was gunned down four years ago, has won the second prize for best documentary at the 11th Istanbul International Architecture and Urban Films Festival.

Directed by film-maker Mahera Omar, the feature-length film Perween Rahman: The Rebel Optimist was screened to audiences at several venues in Turkey throughout the week-long festival.

Ms Rahman, an architect and urban planner, was director of the Orangi Pilot Project (OPP) — a non-governmental organisation based in Karachi. She was shot dead on March 13, 2013 on her way home from her office in Orangi Town.

The OPP provided technical guidance to low-income communities in Orangi Town for laying of sewage lines in their lanes on a self-help basis since the 1980s. She was instrumental in the development of this unique model of sanitation. Her work was based on extensive mapping of the lanes of Orangi, which soon spread to the entire city.

She led the team that developed a concept for a sewage disposal plan for Karachi, which was accepted by the city government. She also mapped more than 2,000 urban villages in Karachi and helped people get land rights.

Ms Rahman was a champion for the youth and women of Orangi and a role model for many.

“Perween believed in cultivating human relationships. She had a very special connection with the people of Orangi. She won not only their hearts, but of whomever had the good fortune to come across her. I wanted to tell her story and that of her very important work in Karachi,” says Mahera Omar.

The film has previously been screened at the 2017 Karachi Literature Festival, the Lund International Architecture Film Festival in Sweden, Architecture Film Festival of South Africa, Beijing International Women’s Film Festival and Awareness Film Festival in Los Angeles.

Originally published in Dawn, October 30th, 2017


Ahmad-Karachi Oct 30, 2017 09:11am
What a loss.
Sameer Oct 30, 2017 10:23am
No oscar for Mahera?
Shamoon Oct 30, 2017 10:27am
Salute to Perveen Rehman for all she did to improve the lot of orangi town people. These are the real heroes which we should be highlighting.
SYED HASSAN HASEEB Oct 30, 2017 10:39am
good work , no body knows what is going on in this country . this killing of very useful people is big loss for the country.
M. Emad Oct 30, 2017 11:39am
Widespread human rights violations in recent months in Turkey.
Zain Hasan Oct 30, 2017 12:27pm
The documentary shows corruption of land mafia in connivance with government, as well as failure of law and order in Pakistan. What will Sharmeen critics say now, is this documentary highlighting bad image of Pakistan as well?
Imran Ahmed Oct 30, 2017 12:32pm
Perween Rahman is a true heroine for these times, a courageous woman in public life who steadfastly combatted injustice and gave her all to the weak and oppressed.
Erik VAn Loon Oct 31, 2017 03:59pm
Dear Dawn friends, thank you for writing and replying at this haunting Mahera Omar documentary about the inspiring activist, urban planner and architect Perween Rahman who received a postgraduate diploma in housing, building and urban planning in 1986 from the Erasmus University in Rotterdam. That's actually why we showed last sunday her documentaire as final event of the 2nd Lof Der Zotheid Festival in Rotterdam. Mahera Omar even came over to Rotterdam after she won an award at the 11th Int. Istanbul Architecture and Urban Film and Documentary Festival. It was a great honour to us and the Erasmus University. The Erasmus University is even considering to name a room after Perween Rahman to have her in Rotterdam and after we saw this great documentary about Perween Rahman, Orangi Pilot Project and all those great people like Arif Hasan, Anwar Rashid, her sister Aquila Ismail and other working at OPP to provide basis infrastrucure facilities to the people who need it most.