British-Pakistani director makes film on toughest woman in Sindh

Friday 08 2017 2 months ago 72   London    Print

Poster of film My Pure Land

Report  Web Desk : LONDON: ‘My Pure Land’ marks British-Pakistani director Sarmad Masud s debut which revolves around the story of Nazo Dharejo, who has been dubbed as the “toughest woman in Sindh” by the Pakistani press. Being shot in Pakistan, the film has made its world premiere at Edinburgh Film Festival 2017. Nazo was the eldest daughter. Nicknamed ‘Mukthiar’, she was the first to be taught how to shoot when she was 16. Two years later, with her brother murdered and her father in prison, the teenager was armed and leading a gunfight against bandits sent by her uncle to take over her family’s land. Now 41 years old, Nazo’s story has become a local legend. “I originally wanted to make a film in Pakistan about police corruption, like Cop Land,” says Masud, in an interview with the Guardian. “Then in 2013, I came across a story of this woman who had defended her home and land from 200 bandits. That’s much better than a Pakistani Cop Land so I contacted [the journalist] who wrote the piece and through that, rang Nazo”, says Masud. The trailer of ‘My Pure Land’ shows a mother and her two daughters in rural Sindh who are forced to defend their family home from their uncle and his men. As the women fight to keep the men at bay, the film alternates through different timelines and we watch the events that have led to the siege unfold. Masud recalls the first conversation he had with Nazo: “She asked if there would be song and dance in the film, and I said no. She asked if it would be a documentary; I said no. She asked if she would be in the film and I said: ‘No, we’ll get someone to play you.’ We stayed in touch on Skype; quite quickly she signed her life-rights agreement but refused – and still refuses – to take money for it. She just said: ‘Tell my story’,” and so Masud has, despite a tiny budget and a difficult shoot. According to the Independent, evoking the spirit of John Ford, My Pure Land is a tense, claustrophobic drama that offers a brand new spin on one of the most classic genres in film. 02