Faiz's last film a mystery: daughter

6 years ago

Containing a piece of priceless history, the whereabouts of the last film made by legendary Urdu poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz remains a mystery after it was misplaced due to a political upheaval in Pakistan decades ago.

Faiz's daughter Salima Hashmi told PTI that they are still looking for the negatives of 'Dur Hain Sach Ka Gaon' (The Village of Truth is Far), made in the early eighties, in Pakistan and London.

"When the final editing of the film was being done, Faiz had to run away in exile due to a volatile political situation. After that the reels got lost. Nobody has seen the film as it was never released," she said during a visit to the city.

Based on an original story by Faiz, the A J Kardar directed film had a relatively unknown star cast. Shot in the trouble-torn Baluchistan province of Pakistan, it debates on the struggle between the eliefs of the people and the ritualistic beliefs of religion.

"Against a timeless setting, it discusses how the priest can also body evil. When I look back, I think this is the time when we should see this film," Hashmi said while talking about the ongoing turmoil and human rights violations in the region.

On her struggle to find her father's film, she said the reels were last sighted at the Pakistani embassy in London. "Now all the old people have left. The embassy officials say the film is not with them. It was his last film and so its fate really broke my father's heart. It took him a lot of time to come to terms with the harsh reality," she lamented.

 

With help from London-based businessman Anjum Taseer, the family is hopeful that they will trace the film one day. The first and the only other film where Faiz had worked was 'Jago Hua Savera'  (1959). It is credited as the first Pakistani film which had won international acclaim.

With dialogues and songs by the poet, the film depicts a poignant tale of an impoverished fisherman who struggles to built a boat in Bangladesh. "This one was also lost, but we managed to find it somehow recently. We are now restoring the original reel which is damaged due to neglect," Hashmi said.

Last month the film had its Indian premiere during the Apeejay Kolkata Literary Festival here. Pakistan's most famous poet and Communist intellectual, Faiz won the Lenin Peace Prize and Lotus Prize for Literature. He passed away in 1984.

Hashmi, herself a painter, writer and a social activist, said she has found four scripts of films written by her father. One of them is written for a documentary on Iqbal, the famous poet-philosopher of Pakistan.

"We want to publish them now. We have a lot in legacy, but no money to fund all these restoration works," she said. The family has set up a small museum 'Faiz Ghar', dedicated to the memory of the poet known for his Sufi influences. PTI

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