The critically acclaimed Mah-e-Mir, one of the best movies to come out from the resurging Pakistani film industry has been nominated by Pakistan’s Academy Selection Committee as the country’s official submission in the Best Foreign Language Film Award Category for the 89th Academy Awards. The film Mah-e-Mir was a departure from the usual fare owing to its intellectual content, stellar writing and superb acting coupled with brilliant music and as such was the number one choice of the committee members.
Distributed nationwide by HUM Films and Eveready Group of Companies, Mah-e-Mir is directed by Anjum Shahzad and written by Sarmad Sehbai. The story is set in contemporary times chronicling the life of a young anarchist poet. While denouncing traditions he goes through the sufferings of love, separation and poverty, which drive him to the edge. In all his sufferings, he discovers the 18th century poet Mir Taqi Mir and as the story progresses, he embodies the intense feelings of love, passion and creative madness of the poet. The film stars Fahad Mustafa, Iman Ali, Sanam Saeed, Alyy Khan and Manzar Sehbai in lead roles. The film’s brilliant music score was by Shahi Hassan.
Mah-e-Mir was a critical success and appreciated by the public as well, as many people felt that movies like Mah-e-Mir were a welcome change from the usual fare that is coming out from the film industry these days with a throwback to the time when story, acting, dialogue and music would come together to create a masterpiece in which the beauty of the Urdu language is fully exposed.
Commenting on Mah-e-Mir’s selection for submission to the Oscars, director Anjum Shahzad had this to say: “I am thrilled by the news. For an ensemble of extremely creative cast and crew this film is a labour of love. Each one of us is proud to be a part of it. I would like to thank the committee for considering our effort worthy of representation and would like to take this opportunity to thank the media, cinema owners and above all the audiences for supporting us.”
The Pakistani Academy Selection Committee is chaired by two-time Academy Award and Emmy winning documentary filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy and also includes Iram Parveen Bilal as the charge d’affaires, Zeba Bakhtiar, Adnan Siddiqui, Hasan Zaidi, Sheema Kermani, Sarmad Khoosat, Jamshed Mahmood Raza, Jamil Dehlavi and Adnan Sarwar.
Speaking about why Mah-e-Mir was selected by the committee, Hasan Zaidi said “With its indulging cinematography and romanticism of the forgotten value of literature, Mah-e-Mir’s characters and plot nostalgically captured the culture and struggle of the artiste, both by and in its creation. We are very excited to put it forth as a sample of Pakistan’s rising standards of cinema.”
Committee member Adnan Siddiqui shared what made him cast his vote in favour of Mah-e-Mir: “When Manzar Sehbai Sahib’s character comes to meet the poet (Fahad Mustafa), and he talks about his understanding of literature, and Urdu literature in particular, that was the crux, the heart and soul of the movie for me”.
The Chair de Affairs of the selection committee, Iram Bilal Parveen expressed how happy she is with the selection of Mah-e-Mir for the Oscars, and was especially thankful to the makers of Mah-e-Mir for their contribution to Pakistani Cinema, wishing them best of luck in their journey to the Oscars.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will announce the final list of Oscar nominees on 24th January, 2017, with the presentation show for the 89th Academy Awards scheduled to take place on 26th February 2017. It is hoped that Mah-e-Mir’s local critical success will translate into international selection as well, which will be another feather in the cap of not only Pakistan’s film industry but also Pakistan herself.