ByÂ Waleed Tariq:
Notwithstanding the contradictions inherent to pre-1947 Muslim politics, Jinnah was clear about certain basics. Pakistan was to be a secular, democratic state. Pakistan was to be a federation and Jinnah’s advocacy was majorly focused on achieving a de-centralized governance model. The new state was envisioned as a peaceful country, which would set-up relations with its neighbours and move on to the path of growth and development, without any discrimination.
As Pakistanis just celebrated 23rd March, the day of the Pakistan Resolution when millions of Muslims rallied their will for a separate homeland, there are some who’re questioning the founder’s vision of the new, independent nation. The doubters justifiably point to the rising tide of intolerance, increasing violence, and a range of problems and crises the country is facing. They wonder aloud if it was a mistake to demand a separate country for Muslims of undivided India.
Having a dream of a Jinnah’s Pakistan, a young filmmaker from Karachi has come up with a short film: “Jinnah Returns”. It is set to be released this week. Here are excerpts from the interview of it’s director, Shahmir Ahsanullah.
Your new film is about Jinnah and his vision for Pakistan. Can you tell us more about the story?
The short film is based on a story of Musa Malik (the eye of the audience), a patriot who by profession runs a small NGO. Having noble aspirations for Pakistan, through his work, he wants betterment of the masses, and firmly believes the main reason behind the problems faced by Pakistan today is none other than its inept government.
Musa ends up leaking news of a poll rigging in the elections of a local political party, due to which he faces dire consequences. The movie kind of shows a mixture of past and present, and shows Jinnah and other notables during the struggle for Independence, as reborn. “Jinnah” who has discreetly been living in the contemporary times appears to save Musa from this intense moment of life and death ordeal.
After Musa’s release, Jinnah brings him to his abode. His room is full of research papers, computer equipment and graphical charts. Contrary to Musa’s believe, Jinnah advocates that it is not merely the government who is responsible for a failed state, but the “Awam” (masses) as well who’ve become materialistic and have completely misunderstood the real ideology behind Pakistan. He blames them for being absorbed in greed, willing to hold on to any means to fulfil their desires. The main cause stopping us from “change” is the “fear within”.
Many films have been made on Jinnah in the past. How is he different in your film?
The impersonation of “Jinnah” in the movie has been depicted distinctively from his original character â€• his attire, attitude is changed, which bewilders the audience at the beginning of the movie. Jinnah is shown as a geo-economic analyst who has done exhaustive research on the main causes that have led Pakistan to this mess.
What is the moral of Jinnah Returns?
I want the masses to understand their faults and change their mindset to change Pakistan. This is the only solution to make Pakistan better and peaceful.
The film delivers diversified messages especially for our youngsters yearning to have a ‘changed Pakistan’ for them.
“Main Pakistan ko badalne challa, iske har ik dushman se larnay challa, lartay lartay pata challa, ke dushman woh nahi… main hun” â€• Shahmir Ahsanullah.
Can you expect the masses to change after watching this short film?
I think it shall project a strong message to our new generation, and if given a chance for a larger audience, I am positive it will change our mindset. Change is the solution to the problem. I want every one of you to watch the film, spread the word and be the change you wish to see!
The trailer of the film is available on the following website: