Perween Rahman — Karachi's real-life hero who was assassinated in 2013 — has been immortalised in the docudrama film Into Dust on Amazon Prime, directed by Oscar winning filmmaker Orlando von Einsiedel. The film was released on August 24.
The docudrama highlights the brave struggles of Rahman who had devoted her life towards the development of impoverished neighbourhoods across the country before being assassinated in 2013. The architect turned social activist was the head of the Orangi Pilot Project-Research and Training Institute (OPP-RTI).
According to the docudrama's social media accounts, Into Dust tells "the extraordinary true story of Perween Rahman, a Pakistani community advocate who worked tirelessly for Pakistan’s poor".
"Perween Rahman was tragically murdered in 2013 for exposing water and land theft in Pakistan," reads the caption on Instagram.
The docudrama prominently features the roles of Rahman (played by Indu Sharma) and her sister Aquila Ismail (played by Sudha Bhuchar) amongst others. It focuses particularly on Rahman’s fight for the water rights of underserved communities in Karachi.
The film also lays bare Ismail's struggle to get justice after her sister's murder. The case has been in court for the last eight years. Ismail is the executive director of the drama as well. According to Dawn, Ismail gave the go-ahead on all the creative decisions of the story. “There was nothing that went by without discussing with me,” she said in conversation with Icon.
Ismail had highlighted two imperative things to the filmmaker at the beginning of the project back in 2018. First, there could be “nothing against our country” in the film. She'd emphasised this because Rahman had loved Karachi and Pakistan. Second, since her murder trial was still ongoing, Ismail said there could be nothing in the film that could “jeopardise our case.”
Von Einsiedel also directed the Oscar-winning documentary The White Helmets, which follows three ‘Syria Civil Defence’ volunteers as they work in Aleppo and across Syria. Into Dust was released on Amazon Prime on August 24 and is now available for streaming.