There has been a surge in the creation of short films in Pakistan since the past year with many of them proving to be huge hits. Pakistani short film ‘Bhai’ has been selected to premiere at Toronto International Film Festival in September. The film will be a huge milestone for representation in Pakistani media.
The movie has been written and directed by Hamza Bangash and executive produced by Mina Husain of Pakistan Institute of Living and Learning (PILL) and Salman Ahmed. It has been co-produced by Taha Sabri of Taskeen and Westbury Group and Carol Noronha.
The story revolves around two brothers. One of the brothers is on the autism spectrum, and he has an episode while he waits for his older brother to return from picking up their food on Independence Day.
The older brother watches his younger brother struggle from inside the restaurant and must decide a course of action. The story unfolds whether he will have the courage to help his autistic brother, or if he will ignore his plight.
The official synopsis states: “The film is about the choices we make, shame, trauma, brotherhood and finding a small sliver of happiness in a brutal world.”
Bangash told Images Dawn that the film was inspired by the experiences of his collaborator, Mohammad Ali Hashmi, who also plays the role of co-lead in the film.
He added: “I remember watching the Pakistani drama ‘Phaans’, and was shocked when it was revealed that the autistic character turned out to be falsely behaving in such a manner so that he could get away with sexual violence. To villainize an already stigmatized community through the media infuriates me.” This motivated Bangesh to depict an authentic depiction of it.
A Huge Milestone
The creators have cast a differently-abled actor, Ayan Javaid, to play the lead. This is huge for the representation of differently-abled people in Pakistani media. Besides being an actor, Ayan is also an animation artist and musician.
Hoping this is just the start of more Pakistani movies and artists being internationally recognized and appreciated.