Usman Mukhtar's short film Bench is finally out and available to watch on YouTube. The film has been selected for the Cannes International Independent Film Festival and has already won multiple awards.
Mukhtar has acted and directed the short film that also features Rubya Chaudhry and Iman Shahid. The trio previously worked as a team on another short film Aasiqui. The film has been written by Ali Mudar.
Bench is about a couple at the crossroads of their relationship who meet on a bench, a site that has been part of many of their relationship's milestones. Without giving too much away, the short film features a very common and sad conversation between a married couple.
The film was initially set to release in May but was delayed indefinitely out of respect for the Palestinian protests. Bench made headlines headlines when it was selected as a finalist by the International Short Awards earlier this year. It also won the best short film award at the South Shore Film Festival, New York.
The short feature also includes 'Soye Nahi', a beautiful song by Natasha Humera Ejaz and Mirande Shah.
"What inspired me to write the film? Actually, nothing. Me and my friend, Ali [Mudar] were discussing potential storylines for a script that we wanted to explore, and kind of decided why not make it very simple and a dialogue between two people sitting on a bench. The story couldn’t be any simpler than what we discussed; Ali penned down the script and the project took off from there," he told Images of his motivation to make the film.
“Directing this film has been one of the greatest pleasures of my life. I enjoy creating such forms of art and I aspire to create more of these films," Mukhtar said in a press release issued on the day of the film's launch.
"With Bench, we hope to break through the dramatic viewpoint that has been set for Pakistani cinema and create a sense of realism in the industry. A lot of hard work and effort has gone into the making of this film and it is an honour to be featured in CIIFF. We are really excited now that the film is available for the masses to enjoy, and we look forward to their feedback.”