Film southasia

"Festival of southasian documentries"

Estranged Directions (Anjaan Rastay)

Directed by Umair Ahmad Khawaja | |

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Synopsis

Anjaan Raastay explores history, memory, politics and belonging in Lahore by examining recent efforts to rename streets and public spaces in accordance with a religious nationalist ideology. These rarely used official names, unknown to most of the populace, cause disorientation and prompt reflections amongst ordinary citizens on attachments to the past, aspirations towards the future and, for the filmmaker, is indicative of forms of inclusion and exclusion.  

The film observes a debate on the issue of renaming such places between a Government Official, Folklore Scholar, Historian and an Artist interspersed with the attitudes of the local public. It aims to explore and understand the reasoning in the light of how such action might worsen the current scenario of receding religious tolerance and fading intercultural interactions.

[director]Umair Ahmad Khawaja is a graduate of the National College of Art, Lahore and a documentary filmmaker.  Of the film, he says, “For three generations my family has been living in this city which has been multicultural for hundreds of years and it was so painful for me as I have been witnessing this drastic change which has nothing to do with city’s heritage …..Being a storyteller i feel responsible to put such issues in the mainstream in a manner that people should understand what’s going wrong around them.”[/director]

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