ANNUAL SIKH FILM FESTIVAL 2006:
Ayesha is a seemingly well-adjusted middle-aged woman whose life centers around her son Saleem - a gentle, dreamy 18 year old, in love with Zubeida. They live in the village of Charkhi, in Pakistani Punjab. Ayesha's husband is dead and she manages a living from his pension and by giving Quran lessons to young girls.
The story begins in 1979, in a Pakistan under President General Zia-ul-Haq's martial law. In a few months the country will become a state ruled by Islamic law. Saleem becomes intensely involved with a group of Islamic fundamentalists and leaves Zubeida. Ayesha is saddened to see her son change radically. Events escalate when Sikh pilgrims from India pour into the village. Later, a pilgrim looks for his sister Veero who was abducted in 1947. This awakens heart-rending memories.
Kiran Kher gives a splendid performance as Ayesha, assertive in her own way and helpless when it comes to her son. Supportive is Aamir Malik as the misled youth, vulnerable and a bit naïve, who fails to understand his mother's trauma. The ambience and locations are well chosen and the background score haunting. A watch able film for a discerning viewer. A view from the other side of the border.
Snippets: Director Sabiha Sumar is Karachi-born and studied film making in New York. She has shot many documentaries for Channel Four Television. This is her first feature film. It's won 14 international awards. Including Best film (Golden Leopard-Locarno), Best Actor (female), and Best Direction.