THE NEWS INTERNATIONAL, April 24, 2008
PNCA Screens Tele-Film on Iqbal
Saturday, April 19, 2008
Pakistan National Council of the Arts screened a tele-film on Iqbal titled ‘An Approach to Pakistan’ on Friday to an almost empty hall with a handful of people that too after an hour long wait.
True to its title, the screening event of the tele-film on the Poet of the East witnessed the true ‘approach to Pakistan’ in recent times. With a large contingent of employees and officials present in the venue, it was shocking to see the treatment meted out to the National Poet as the hall remained empty during the screening of a much thought provoking venture. Except for the out-going DG Naeem Tahir, none of the officials were present on the occasion, as it was told that most of them were busy having tea after an exhibition organized on the same evening.
Such apathy amounts to a show of disrespect to the great poet who actually gave the idea of a separate homeland for Muslim’s of the Sub-Continent. A presentation of Iqbal Academy Pakistan (IAP), the theme of the Urdu tele-film rotated around Iqbal’s philosophy and ideology. Directed by Faisal Rehman, the film is scripted by well-known writer Khuram Ali Shafique.
Completed with official finance of Rs0.95 million, the 90 minutes duration film had well-known artists including Usman Peerzada, Samina Peerzada, Sohail Ahmad and Shamil Khan among the cast.
The film opens [with] the British flag flying over Lahore Fort and a handful of people sharing a debate on the state of things in ‘Hindustan.’ Sitting there listening to the disheartening debate, Iqbal starts reciting his verse ‘Sare jahan se accha’, which moves the group and they too join in chorus.
Presented as a symbolic theme, Iqbal was shown as a presence rather than a person. It’s indeed strange that if a Hollywood actor (Christopher Lee) can play the role of Quaid-e-Azam in the film ‘Jinnah’, why Iqbal was kept as just a voice and vision when we don’t have any dearth of great actors suited for the role.
The emblematic theme follows the struggle of a young man played by Shamil Khan, who struggles to comprehend Iqbal’s exemplary vision and revolutionary thoughts in the face of the prevalent corrupt system of the day. He encounters Iqbal with all the intrigues and conflicts going through his mind as he continues his search. Iqbal provides the answer with the depth and acumen of his own words “I am the voice of the poet of tomorrow. I don’t write for those who are with me, but I have written for the future, for you.” The film provides some thought provoking perceptions for the younger generation of today and it should be screened in all schools and colleges as an introduction to the truth of Iqbal, as he was.
Khurram Ali Shafique has written some wonderful books and teleplays. His offering Iqbal: An Illustrated Biography was published last year and won wide critical acclaim. He is also working on a comprehensive biography of Allama Muhammad Iqbal, which is in five volumes. His screenplays for television have mostly been based on Persian classics especially the Khamsa of Nizam Gunjevl. The Republic of Rumi, Khurram Ali Shafique’s new publication is described by the author as ‘a novel of reality.’