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The Next-Wave Cinema in Cannes: Durj (THE CASKET) by Shamoon Abbasi, and the upcoming ANGAREY by Maryam Ansari

Durj (THE CASKET) by Shamoon Abbasi, and the upcoming, Angarey (The Burning Desires) by a new emerging female director, Maryam Ansari are on the way to smash all values…


Shamoon Abbasi, Italian-born, Pakistani filmmaker who is promoting his film, Durj at Cannes, is also moving into experimental zones with innovative projects. Durj (THE CASKET) appearing in cinemas on 11 October 2019 is wrapped in a mystery, dealing with the issue of cannibalism in Pakistan. Now at Cannes, the creative team of Durj has come up with an upcoming project of a film and a TV seriel, titled, Angarey (The Burning Desires.) Angarey will reflect the stories of Pakistan’s young female talent, who are emerging despite of difficult social environments.


Inspired by real events: The story revolves around two unusual characters, Maryam and  Rufi… Maryam holds the burning desires to break out the pre-determined set of values, the desire to question and protest against patriarchy, the desire to move beyond horizons and create her own universe – while Rufi is one of the most unconventional persons one can ever imagine. He is a spy – but a spy who questions every convention. He is out for a quest, the most unusual quest a spy ever had. He wants to stop the war machines and beat their masterminds in today’s world affairs, so he becomes a part of the machine to challenge its very function. He would say, “I am a New James Bond. No guns, no revolver – just poetry and music, that’s my tool box.’’


The concept and the heat of Angarey was felt by Namita Lal, an Indian banker-turned producer based in Singapore – who was at Cannes with her film, Lihaff (The Quilt). Lihaaf is based on Ismat Chughtai’s celebrated and controversial short story. In Urdu/Hindi literature, Ismat Chughtai was the most outspoken female writer of her time. Now Namita, inspired by Ismat, is probably, Aaj ki Ismat Chughtai (the Ismat Chughtai of today…) “I am truly fascinated by the power and magnetism of Angarey,’’ said Namita. She appeared live on a beautiful boat, launching the poster of Angarey, on 23rd May, the 10th day of Cannes.

Angarey will be directed by a new young female director, Maryam Ansari. Shamoon Abbasi and Dodi Khan will present this film with Ali Zafar in the lead role. Dodi Khan will also play as an investigative reporter, who discovers many layers of some intense stories… The character of Rufi played by Ali Zafar will raise the questions on many popular truths of today or rather widely-spread misconceptions. In a metamorphose, Ali Zafar will also emerge as Aaj ka Manto (the Manto of Today…) Saadat Hasan MANTO was also an icon of writing on taboo subjects in Urdu literature in the time of British India and then in Pakistan. Ismat Chughtai and Manto, both were persecuted and tried many times for their writing – but they never surrendered to any repression. So metaphorically, now Aaj ka Manto and Aaj ki Ismat Chughtai (the Manto of today and the Ismat Chughtai of today…) are going to meet in Angarey… Let’s see what they prepare from this burning coal



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Namita Lal and Dodi Khan, Cannes, 21 May

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