KARACHI: After a prolonged delay, Abdullah – The Final Witness is set to release on October 21. Based on the Kharotabad incident that saw the deaths of five unarmed foreigners at an FC checkpoint in Quetta, the film had initially run into trouble with the censors who had termed its content “controversial”.
The film, which has been in works for the past three years, stars Hameed Sheikh, Imran Abbas and Sadia Khan. Talking to The Express Tribune, director Hashim Nadeem said, “The censors thought the film was too intense. They asked us to tone it down. Specifically, they asked for two cuts and to blur the climax scene. We could not just blur it as it would affect the film so we reshot the scene and now there are no more issues.”
Interestingly, he went on the praise our censor watchdogs. “They were very cooperative and I think it’s good for Pakistani cinema the way they handle films.”
The Kharotabad incident of 2011 had attracted attention from both local and international media. Asked how the film would portray it and how close it would be to the real-life events, Nadeem said, “The film actually revolves around Abdullah, who was the driver driving the foreigners, and how the incident affected his life. It shows the aftermath, the consequences of what happened. But, of course, the film’s backdrop is the incident.”
The director said through the film he aims to put the criticism against the paramilitary force to rest. “There has been a lot of negative reports and propaganda revolving around the incident. With this film, we have tried to clear that out and send a positive message,” he added.
Abbas, who plays Abdullah’s son, said he was happy that the film was finally releasing. “We worked on the film years ago and now it is good to see that it’s finally releasing. All the credit goes to Hashim Nadeem.” However, he clarified that he does not have a lead role in the film. “I have a very small role so I wouldn’t say it’s my film. The story revolves mainly around Abdullah so it can’t be said this is my debut film in Pakistan.”
Sheikh, whose films Operation 021 and Moor will be in cinemas very soon, said, “It’s not a mainstream film so you cannot expect a lot but I am happy that it’s finally releasing.”
Asked how he felt about the current situation that has brought back some of his previous silver screen outings to theatres, he said, “I’m very glad that three of my films are coming to cinemas soon. But what I really think is that we need more of the international cinema on our screens. I understand the situation with India, and until it’s sorted out, we must explore world cinema and bring, let’s say, Iranian films. Give people more variety, because we still don’t have a lot of good films to carry the business forward all year round.”
Published in The Express Tribune, October 15th, 2016.
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courtesy : express tribune