Free Expression

Pakistani classic ‘Jago Hua Savera’ is dropped from Mumbai Film Festival schedule

Organisers say decision has been taken 'given the current situation'.

A black and white arthouse film from Pakistan from 1959 has become the latest casualty of the jingoism that has followed the Uri attack September, in which 19 Army soldiers died.

Jago Hua Savera, directed by Pakistani director AJ Kardar, written by Faiz Ahmed Faiz and featuring Indian actors, musicians and technicians, was to have been screened in the restored classics section at the Mumbai Film Festival (October 20-27). Not any more: “Given the current situation, the Jio MAMI 18th Mumbai Film Festival with Star has decided not to programme Jago Hua Savera as part of the Restored Classics Section,” said a press release.

A complaint filed by a non-governmental organisation called Sangharsh Foundation against the screening appears to have spooked the organisers into dropping the neo-realist classic from its programme. Sangharsh filed a police complaint on October 15 against the festival for announcing Jago Hua Savera as part of its lineup. “We don’t have objections to any other films but just don’t show any films from Pakistan,” said Prithvi Maske, who heads the organisation.

Play
‘Jago Hua Savera’.

Kardar’s film, produced by Nauman Taseer, represents a rare spirit of collaboration between undivided Pakistan, India and England. The movie is based on a novel by Manik Bandopadhyay and features the Indian actress Tripti Mitra and the musician Timir Baran alongside Pakistani actors and British technicians. The film explores the hardships of a fishing community in what is now Bangladesh. Its prints were missing for several years and were finally found by Taseer’s son, Anjum. The restored film has been shown at various festivals, including Cannes in 2016.

Maske drew a link between showing Jago Hua Savera at the film festival, for which entry is restricted to delegates, and the October 28 release of Karan Johar’s Ae Dil Hai Mushkil. Johar’s movie has been facing a vicious backlash from right-wing groups because it has Pakistani actor Fawad Khan in its cast. A decision by the Cinema Owners and Exhibitors Association of India to suspend the release of films featuring Pakistani artists has immediate repercussions for Ae Dil Hai Mushkil. Unlike the Indian Motion Pictures Producers Association ban on Pakistani actors working in Hindi films, which applies to future projects, the exhibitiors' organisation's directive has been issued against movies that were made long before tensions broke out between India and Pakistan.

Johar is one of the trustees of the Mumbai Academy of Moving Image that organises the Mumbai Film Festival, and Maske tried to suggest that there was a conspiracy at work here. “If Jago Hua Savera is shown at the Mumbai film festival, then Karan Johar can justify releasing Ae Dil Hai Mushkil,” said Maske, whose NGO had earlier filed a complaint with the Mumbai police against the actor Om Puri’s remarks about Army soldiers following the Uri attack.

Support our journalism by subscribing to Scroll+ here. We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

Movies can make you leap beyond what is possible

Movies have the power to inspire us like nothing else.

Why do we love watching movies? The question might be elementary, but one that generates a range of responses. If you had to visualise the world of movies on a spectrum, it would reflect vivid shades of human emotions like inspiration, thrill, fantasy, adventure, love, motivation and empathy - generating a universal appeal bigger than of any other art form.

“I distinctly remember when I first watched Mission Impossible I. The scene where Tom Cruise suspends himself from a ventilator to steal a hard drive is probably the first time I saw special effects, stunts and suspense combined so brilliantly.”  

— Shristi, 30

Beyond the vibe of a movie theatre and the smell of fresh popcorn, there is a deeply personal relationship one creates with films. And with increased access to movies on television channels like &flix, Zee Entertainment’s brand-new English movie channel, we can experience the magic of movies easily, in the comforts of our home.

The channel’s tagline ‘Leap Forth’ is a nod to the exciting and inspiring role that English cinema plays in our lives. Comparable to the pizazz of the movie premieres, the channel launched its logo and tagline through a big reveal on a billboard with Spider-Man in Mumbai, activated by 10,000 tweets from English movies buffs. Their impressive line-up of movies was also shown as part of the launch, enticing fans with new releases such as Spider-Man: Homecoming, Baby Driver, Blade Runner 2049, The Dark Tower, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle and Life.

“Edgar Wright is my favourite writer and director. I got interested in film-making because of Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the dead. I love his unique style of storytelling, especially in his latest movie Baby Driver.”

— Siddhant, 26

Indeed, movies can inspire us to ‘leap forth’ in our lives. They give us an out-of-this-world experience by showing us fantasy worlds full of magic and wonder, while being relatable through stories of love, kindness and courage. These movies help us escape the sameness of our everyday lives; expanding our imagination and inspiring us in different ways. The movie world is a window to a universe that is full of people’s imaginations and dreams. It’s vast, vivid and populated with space creatures, superheroes, dragons, mutants and artificial intelligence – making us root for the impossible. Speaking of which, the American science fiction blockbuster, Ghost in the Shell will be premiering on the 24th of June at 1:00 P.M. and 9:00 P.M, only on &flix.

“I relate a lot to Peter Parker. I identified with his shy, dorky nature as well as his loyalty towards his friends. With great power, comes great responsibility is a killer line, one that I would remember for life. Of all the superheroes, I will always root for Spiderman”

— Apoorv, 21

There are a whole lot of movies between the ones that leave a lasting impression and ones that take us through an exhilarating two-hour-long ride. This wide range of movies is available on &flix. The channel’s extensive movie library includes over 450 great titles bringing one hit movie premiere every week. To get a taste of the exciting movies available on &flix, watch the video below:

Play

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of &flix and not by the Scroll editorial team.