Social Commentary: Pakistani Film “Wakhri” Highlights Struggles of Women in Country

KARACHI, Pakistan: The Pakistani film “Wakhri” is shedding light on the challenges faced by women in the country, drawing inspiration from the life of the late social media celebrity, Qandeel Baloch, the film’s director revealed this week. The film, which had its world premiere at the Red Sea International Film Festival last month and released in Pakistan on January 5, explores the struggles of Pakistani women through the story of a widowed schoolteacher named Noor.

The film tells the real-life tragedy of Baloch, who was killed by her brother in 2016 due to her bold social media presence, which he believed brought disrepute to the family. “Wakhri,” meaning “one of a kind” in Punjabi, aims to reflect the ground realities faced by women in rural Pakistan, using Noor’s story of social media fame as a vehicle to delve into the broader issues surrounding Pakistani women.

Iram Parveen Bilal, the writer, director, and co-producer of “Wakhri,” mentioned in an interview that the film’s portrayal of the challenges faced by women is so realistic that at times it’s hard to distinguish between fiction and real life. The film has provoked mixed responses from viewers, serving as an engaging social commentary.

The lead actress, Faryal Mehmood, who plays the dual role of Noor and Wakhri, expressed her strong belief in the project, emphasizing the importance of portraying the truth and reality of the society in which they live. Despite facing social media trolls after the film’s release, Bilal found it revealing how merely expressing oneself as a woman is perceived as bold.

Though the filmmakers intend to release “Wakhri” internationally, no details have been finalized as of yet. Mehmood, reflecting on the impact of the film, observed a positive change in women and young girls in Pakistan as they walk out of the theater, indicating an evolving mindset in the country.

In summary, “Wakhri” shines a light on the challenges faced by women in Pakistan, drawing inspiration from the tragic story of Qandeel Baloch and providing a thought-provoking narrative that has sparked conversations and reflections in its audience.