The Oscar madness begins as the Pakistani Academy Selection Committee has announced “Mah-e-Mir” as their selection to be submitted for Oscar consideration in the ‘Foreign Language Film Award’ category at the 89th Academy Awards. In case you are wondering what were the options well as per the official rules to be eligible for nomination the the motion picture must be first released in the country submitting it no earlier than October 1, 2015 and no later than September 30, 2016. Therefore the options included ‘Ho Mann Jahan’ ‘Bachana’ ‘Maalik’ ‘Hijrat’ ‘Mah-e-Mir’ ‘Aksbandh’ ‘Sawal 700 Crore Dollar Ka’ ‘Ishq Positive’ ‘Revenge Of The Worthless’ ‘Dance Kahani’ ‘Blind Love’ ‘Teri Meri Love Story’ ‘Janaan’ ‘Zindagi Kitni Haseen Hay’ and ‘Actor in Law’
Previously in 2013, the Pakistani Academy Selection Committee selected “Zinda Bhaag” as the first Pakistani film in over fifty years to be submitted for Oscar consideration in the ‘Foreign Language Film Award’ category, followed by “Dukhtar” in 2014 and “Moor” in 2015.
The movie was selected by way of a secret ballot and was the overwhelming film of choice of the Committee members. The committee was chaired by two-time Academy Award and Emmy winning documentary filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy and inculded 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 the selection of Mah-e-Mir, the members have said:
“Mah-e-Mir is tedious and dark and these aren’t bad qualities for a film to have.”
Jamshed Mahmood Raza’s (Jami):
“After a long time I can say I’ve seen one of the best looking films out of Pakistan’s cinema ‘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”
Iram Bilal Parveen (Charge D’affaires of Committee):
“I am very pleased to see that we are sending a quality film to the Academy Awards for consideration in the Best Foreign Language Film category for the fourth consecutive year. After decades of neglect, it is a matter of great pride that the Pakistani film industry has achieved so much in such brief time and speaks volumes for the inherent artistic talent of our people. I wish the makers of Mah-e-Mir the best of luck in their journey through the shortlisting process and thank them for their contribution to Pakistani cinema.”
‘Mah-e-Mir’, directed by Anjum Shahzad and written by Sarmad Sehbai, is set in contemporary times which chronicles the life of a young anarchist poet while denouncing tradition, goes through the sufferings of love, separation and poverty which drives him into madness, where he discovers the 18th century poet Meer Taqi Meer. In his poetic journey he embodies the intense love, passion and creative madness of the poet. The film features Fahad Mustafa, Iman Ali, Sanam Saeed, Alyy Khan and Manzar Sehbai.
Ajum Shehzad after learning of this news said “I am thrilled by the news. For an ensemble of extremely creative cast and crew this film is a labor 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”
As per standard practice, films selected by each individual country’s Academy selection committee are submitted to the Academy for screening, shortlisting and voting with official Oscar nominees. Here’s a brief timeline of how thing will now move.
January 2017: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will choose the final nominees for all award categories including Best Foreign Language Film.
24th January 2017: The complete and final list of Oscar nominees will be announced.
26th February 2017: The presentation show for the 89th Academy Awards scheduled to take place.
Lets wait and see if Pakistan finally wins itself an Oscar this year or at least a nomination.