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Pakistani director Iram Parveen Bilal was thrilled to learn that her feature film Josh (English Title:Against the Grain), will be showcased at the prestigious MAMI (Mumbai Film Festival) in the world cinema category. (Click here to see stills from Josh)
“I was taking my car to the mechanic and just as I was about to head out the door, I got this news. I was constantly mouthing "Oh my God, oh my God. Alhamdulillah. I was delighted for two reasons, World Premier and Bombay. Bombay has a big part in my becoming a filmmaker. That city is a city of dreams to me; I guess I am still in a honeymoon phase with Bombay,” said Bilal who has been working on this film since four years.
Having directed internationally recognised, award-winning short films, Josh is Bilal’s debut feature. It is the only fiction film from Pakistan to be screened at MAMI in the last five years and the only Pakistani film entered in this year’s MAMI. Bilal will be sharing the screen with Academy Award-winning filmmaker Michel Gondry, Palme D’Or Winner Michael Haneke, Ken Loach and Walter Salles, also being showcased in the same category.
The World Cinema category focuses on screening the best films from all over the world, produced within one calendar year before the festival dates.
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A few days after MAMI's announcement, on a social media website, Bilal also announced that Josh has been mentioned in Hollywood Variety and is one of only two narrative feature films picked for this year's prestigious Women in Film Finishing Fund.
“Women in Film is a very prestigious foundation that encourages women working in media and communications and we received one of their 10 fellowships this year, but what is very special is that we are one of the only two fiction features selected. The rest are all documentaries. Variety and IndieWire just released the press releases. It is very honourable as these are Hollywood's most widely read trade magazines,” Bilal told Dawn.comOfficial festival poster of "Josh"
Josh is the story of a privileged woman whose life is shattered in a single moment. It is the story of a woman in search for a dangerous truth. It is the story of the biggest challenge to Pakistan's still reigning feudalism: the country's youth. The film explores the internal debates the young are struggling with, and how solutions can be attainable if and when they stand united.
The film has an interesting ensemble of some of the finest actors from the Pakistani entertainment industry, who include Aamina Sheikh, Mohib Mirza, Khalid Malik, Navin Waqar, Adnan Shah Tipu, Salim Mairaj, Kaiser Khan Nizamani, Nyla Jafri, Parveen Akbar, Ali Rizvi and Faizan Haqquee.
The music of Josh is by Indus World Music that comprises veteran musician and composer, Shahi Hasan and his partner Noor Lodhi. In addition to that, the award winning British composer Andrew T. Mackay has been the soul of the score.
Bilal added further on the music for the film, “To top it all, I have respected and been completely star struck with Ali Azmat’s voice, poetry and musical talents. I gave it a shot to ask him for Na Re Na, and he agreed. It was pretty amazing. Na Re Na to me is a song that defines longing and our lead character longs for answers and clarity. It is a very universal song that can pull at ones heart’s strings in many situations.”
“I am very hopeful and I want the film to be watched by thousands of people and in the process, we want the film to inspire people by at least one element or thought in the film. My ultimate dream is that the entire team of Josh gets really good work and recommendations out of the film and that we can all grow in our careers and continue to contribute to Pakistani cinema, media, and activism,” Bilal said.