Writer, producer & director Iram Parveen Bilal brought her Pakistani feature film “Josh” to Sacramento, California on March 21 to the delight of members of the local Desi community. This was a one night only screening at the historic Tower Theatre on Land Park Drive which we locals sometimes refer to as our version of ‘Off Broadway” (in a humorous way since this location certainly is off Broadway Street but without any of the attractions attributed to its New York or San Francisco counterparts).
Josh has slowly been gaining traction outside Pakistan at film festivals (2012 Mumbai Film Festival) and at community screening events here in the United States (Stanford, Seattle, Sacramento and in San Jose on March 23. One reason for its high visibility here in America could possibly be the contributions made to it by several Pakistani-Americans, especially in the realm of its music.
Director Iram Parveen Bilal received her Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Engineering from Caltech but pursued a different calling and then obtained a M.F.A. from the University of Southern California, embarking into film-making from that point onwards. Josh is her first full length feature film. This trend of Pakistani-American engineers and doctors dabbling in film-making is not new.
From right here in Northern California Shoieb Yunus has made Streets of Karachi and Dr Hassan Zee his colorful Night of Henna.
Josh starts off with a quote from poet Rumi and has been inspired by some factual events (Parveen Saeed’s Khana Ghar project?). It is a Karachi and Sindh centered movie dealing with topics of poverty, feudalism and youth trying to bring change. It has not been released in Pakistan yet so this short mention will have to suffice.
Aamina Sheikh as Fatima does a decent acting job in the movie and Mohib Mirza certainly swayed the ladies in the audience here. It is not as intense as Bol or Khuda Ke Liye or as magnificent as Khamosh Pani (probably the best India-Pakistan cooperative effort to date). But it is a hopeful and watchable film and its director certainly has the Josh to carry it through.
Ras H. Siddiqui