Shooting for a film on the Khilafat Movement titled Gawah Rehna written and directed by Tahir Mahmood will begin in October and, if things go as planned, it will be released in March 2020. This was announced at a press conference at the Karachi Press Club on Saturday evening.

Speaking to the media, Mr Mahmood said as an official of the Foreign Service he has served in Turkey where the idea for the project came about. Shedding light on the story of the film he mentioned that the Turkish people are extremely fond of Pakistanis, and there’s a reason for it: some 100 years ago (in the 1920s) our ancestors began a movement in the region, the Tehreek-i-Khilafat, as a result of which a great deal of help was given to Turkey where Ghazi Mustafa Kamal was fighting imperial forces. The Turkish nation hasn’t forgotten the gesture; the film’s subject is based on that. The struggle against the British rule in the process created a conflict, around which the story revolves.

Mr Mahmood said our ancestors’ biggest desire was to gain freedom from the British, and today we live in a free land for which we should be grateful to the leaders of the freedom movement, such as Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah. Then there are a lot of unsung heroes of the movement about which we don’t know much. The film is about those unsung heroes.

Mr Mahmood said the filming for the project will start in October and, if things go as planned, it will be released in March 2020. Gawah Rehna will be released both in Pakistan and Turkey.

Veteran actor Qavi Khan, who is playing an important role in the film, said last year in September he did a movie in the United States. He was very impressed by the discipline with which the film was made. It influenced him and made him yearn for a similar quality venture, and fortunately he got it in the shape of Gawah Rehna. He didn’t know Mr Mahmood but when he started reading the script sent to him by the director, he couldn’t help finish reading it. He liked the screenplay, dialogue and the time period described in the script. Most of all, he loved its title. He assured the media that the movie will live up to their expectation.

Gawah Rehna will be released both in Pakistan and Turkey

The producer of Gawah Rehna, Kashif Ismail, said since he belongs to a Kashmiri family, he knows the significance of freedom (as the film is also about the freedom struggle).

Actor Emmad Irfani said it is important that the Pakistani perspective on the subject reaches the rest of the world. With reference to the script, he said he loved the director’s attention to detail and the way the characters have been defined.

Actress Rabya Kulsoom talked about the importance of cultural representation in storytelling, underlining how well the culture of pre-independence Punjab has been highlighted in the film.

Rehan Nazim and Ghana Ali also spoke.

Originally published in Dawn, September 15th, 2019

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