Pakistan’s Academy Selection Committee has shortlisted Mah-e-Mir as the nation’s official submission for consideration in the Best Foreign Language Film Award category at the 89th Academy Awards.
Although the film failed to flourish at the local box office, it won critical acclaim from not being a run-of-the-mill Pakistani film.
Mah-e-Mir also stars Iman Ali, Sanam Saeed, Alyy Khan and Manzar Sehbai in key roles. Written by Sarmad Sehbai, Mah-e-Mir is set in contemporary times. The film chronicles the life of a young anarchist poet who experiences the suffering that accompanies love, separation and poverty while denouncing tradition. Driven to madness, he discovers celebrated 18th century Urdu poet Mir Taqi Mir.
Mah-e-Mir was shortlisted through secret balloting by committee members including Iram Parveen Bilal, Zeba Bakhtiar, Adnan Siddiqui, Hasan Zaidi, Sheema Kermani, Sarmad Khoosat, Jamshed Mahmood Raza, Jamil Dehlavi and Adnan Sarwar and two-time Academy Award winner filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy. Chinoy chairs over the committee.
In 2013, the Pakistani Academy Selection Committee selected Zinda Bhaag as the first Pakistani film in over fifty years to be submitted for Oscar consideration in the Foreign Language Film Award category, followed by Dukhtar in 2014 and Moor in 2015. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will choose the final nominees for all award categories in January 2016.
“I am thrilled by the news. For an ensemble of extremely creative cast and crew this film is a labor of love. Each one of us is proud to be a part of it. I would like to thank the committee for considering our effort worthy of representation and would like to take this opportunity to thank the media, cinema owners and above all the audiences for supporting us,” Mah-e-Mir director Anjum Shehzad said in a statement.
“I am very pleased to see that we are sending a quality film to the Academy Awards for consideration in the Best Foreign Language Film category for the fourth consecutive year. After decades of neglect, it is a matter of great pride that the Pakistani film industry has achieved so much in such brief time and speaks volumes for the inherent artistic talent of our people. I wish the makers of Mah-e-Mir the best of luck in their journey through the shortlisting process and thank them for their contribution to Pakistani cinema,” the committee’s charge d’affaires said in a statement.