Film projects: Open Doors Hub
Wakhri (One of a Kind)
Noor Malik is a real life super hero. She is the first female math teacher and founder of the first girl’s school in her town, Muzaffargarh. However recent social pressures are putting an end to the girls’ school. In efforts to save it, Noor accidentally takes to social media to raise money. Encouraged by her childhood friends, FATIMA, her fashionable side kick who becomes her “sexuality trainer” and BEEBA, her gay best friend, she creates a sexy avatar called WAKHRI (one of a kind). However, Wakhri must remain a secret because Noor is also a widow mother to a twelve-year-old son Suleiman.
Wakhri becomes a sexual muse for the sex-starved crowds of Pakistan. She is often found making appearances on the streets to help poor businessmen/women but is also found in the mansions of rich politicians and sheikhs. During one such visit to a politician, Chaudhry, Wakhri finds signs of potential sex trafficking. Chaudhry sniffs some danger around Wakhri and her increasingly public persona. He reveals Wakhri’s true identity during a TV interview. Wakhri faces an ocean of social media trolls like never before; how dare a mother try and be “sexy”? Her school fires her from her teaching job. She starts receiving death threats. The only bright light in all this is her son Suleiman, who surprises Noor by accepting Wakhri wholeheartedly. With Suleiman by her side, Noor is empowered to face the rising hate, and to uncover Chaudhry’s sex trafficking in a climax that involves the masses.
WAKHRI is inspired by the great Qandeel Baloch, Pakistan’s Kim Kardashian, who was brutally murdered in 2016 by her brother in an “honor killing”. In an effort to tell a story with a more hopeful ending and to have artistic license, we have chosen to tell a fictionalized version of a character inspired by Qandeel’s life. This is NOT a film about Qandeel.
For the past five years, I’ve witnessed a culture of trolling that has especially risen in my part of the world. I’ve noticed targeted vitriol and vengeance towards female figures of authority, whether they are filmmakers, actors, politicians or social media stars. With more than 50% of the population being under 20 and the majority of the younger population being unemployed, male and having cell phones, there has been a new level of access to the internet. Recent tragedies like Qandeel’s honor killing, Zainab’s rape and murder, have shown the impacts of a hyper sexualized world in a community and country where sex education and inter-gender mingling is restricted.
Production Company Profile
In a short span of less than four years, Sanat Initiative has managed to become a top tier visual art space in Pakistan, by concentrating equally on cultivating the audience’s tastes and appetite for intelligent articulation and provocative expressions. We are now partnering with Parveen Shah Productions to focus on creating thought provoking cinematic pieces.
Josh (Against The Grain) (Fiction, 104’, 2013)
Forbidden Steps (Fiction, 100’, 2018)
Poshak (Fiction, 11’, 2011)