Anticipation reaches a crescendo as the highly awaited Pakistani film, ‘Wakhri,’ prepares for its national premiere, finally unveiling the cinematic production to the local audience. The motion picture is set to be showcased in Karachi on January 5th, 2024, promising a cinematic experience like no other. Penned and directed by the visionary Iram Parveen Bilal, the film is produced by Abid Aziz Merchant (Sanat Initiative), Apoorva Bakshi (Awedacious Originals), and Bilal’s Parveen Shah Productions. Additionally, following the success of Maula Jatt, Nadeem Mandviwala has also come on board, signing with ‘Wakhri’ for its journey to the silver screen.
Award-winning Director Iram Parveen Bilal says, “Wakhri is first and foremost made by and for our people; it is my love letter to the women of Pakistan and to allies around the world. It is a cry for all marginalized voices to be heard. I began making films to connect with humanity and to explore complex concepts alongside my audiences. Securing a nationwide release for this cherished film stands as a crowning achievement for our relentlessly dedicated team.”
The film unravels the story of a widowed school teacher whose life takes an unexpected turn when her unfiltered opinions on social media catapult her into the limelight overnight. As an unlikely influencer, she grapples with the complexities of managing archaic norms, concealed identities, and the upbringing of her 10-year-old son. ‘Wakhri’ becomes a poignant exploration of women’s struggles to express themselves and claim their space, both in the physical and digital realms.
Producer Apoorva Bakshi who has previously produced the International Emmy-winning show Delhi Crime and most recently The Hunt for Veerappan on Netflix shared, “I applaud the stance that Wakhri takes in a highly patriarchal world and the hope it echoes through the actions of our formidable protagonist. Growing up as women in the same societal fabric, we have come to understand the value of freedom and the enormous fight it takes to come into your own and live life on your terms. Where norms and expectations surpass dreams and desires or gender identity is still taboo, we hope that audiences witness the marginalized, seize the slightest sliver of chance, and turn it into a giant victory for themselves and society as a whole.”
The journey to bring ‘Wakhri’ to the silver screen has been marked by significant milestones, including participation at the Locarno Film Festival’s Open Doors Hub in 2018, the Cannes Cinefondation L’Atelier in 2019, and a presence at the Busan Asian Project Market in 2022. The project received a production grant from CAPE (The Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment) and the CAA Foundation, cementing its importance in the realm of cinematic storytelling. The film also recently participated in the prestigious film festival, the Red Sea International Film Festival where several renowned international stars showcased their work as well.
The film’s producer Abid Aziz Merchant adds, “Recently acclaimed at the Red Sea International Film Festival, ‘Wakhri’ shines with its distinctive narrative and directorial excellence. The film’s global resonance and recognition underscore its exceptional storytelling, casting a spotlight on the prowess of Pakistani cinema on the international platform. This achievement not only honors Pakistani filmmakers but also signifies a noteworthy milestone, affirming the nation’s rich contributions to the diverse landscape of global cinema.”
As ‘Wakhri’ gears up for its national premiere, it promises to be a cinematic triumph that resonates with the ever-evolving fabric of the Pakistani audience. Serving as a thought-provoking piece, the film aims to engage viewers in a journey of contemplation, encouraging them to think beyond conventional boundaries. The film not only reflects the challenges faced by women but also serves as a mirror of the current dynamics of society. With its compelling narrative and stellar cast, ‘Wakhri’ is set to leave an indelible mark on the hearts of audiences nationwide.