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Art is never a competition, says filmmaker Iram Haq

December 17
11:37 2018

By Arundhuti Banerjee

Mumbai: Norwegian-Pakistani actress filmmaker Iram Haq,whose film “What Will People Say” has been selected as Norwegianentry for the best foreign language film at the 91st Academy Awards, saystelling a compelling story is more important for her than winning an awardbecause she does not believe in competition when it comes to art.

How did she firstreact on her film being chosen to represent Norway at the Oscars.

 Haq,42, whose film stars Indian actors Adil Hussain, Ekavali Khanna and Rohit Sarafi, said,”When I started making the film, the most important thing for me was to tell a story in an utmost honest manner. And as an individual, I strongly believe that art is never a competition.”

 “Of course,it is a big honour for me that my film has been chosen but I want to say thatit is not possible to compete in art. Reaching out to people with a story isimportant,” added Haq, whose earlier film “I am Yours” was alsoselected as the official Norwegian Oscar entry for Best Foreign Language Film.

 This year, Rima Das’s “Village Rockstar” has been selected as India’s official entry to Oscar.

 The story of Haq’s “What Will People Say” deals with the journey of a young girl who is dealing with socio-cultural difference and a disturbed relationship with her parents.

 Talking about projecting a balanced view with the story, Haq said: “It was important for me to put out both sides of the story. You see, the film is basically a love story between a father and his daughter and that does not really work because they are coming from two different generation, gender and mindset.

 “While the daughter understands the cultural values of her father and how he is struggling to accept the cultural difference of a world that is very different from a regular south Asian society, the girl is a Pakistani born and brought up in Norway.

 “It is almost impossible for her to live her entire life to please her family.”

 “What Will People Say” not just features Indian actors, but is also shot in various parts of India, mostly in Rajasthan. In fact, Adil won the Best Actor award at the Amanda Award or the Norwegian National Awards. 

 Being a Pakistani girl who is born and brought up in Norway herself, just like the protagonist Nisha — played by Maria Mozhdah — the film is quite autobiographical for the director.

 Reflecting upon that, she said: “When our parents went abroad and were not well-integrated, they feared to embrace the new culture. That is how they ended up taking wrong decisions for their children.”

 “I want tosay that the story of the film is told with a lot of love but at the same time,it is a critical voice on how you shut down a young voice, or the voice of agirl, because she is a girl or because the individual is young. I am a strongbeliever of respecting young voice.”

 Before making her directorial debut in 2010 with the short film “Little Miss Eyeflap”, Haq, a mother of 22years old son, worked as an actress, writer and theatre artiste for many years.


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