Aazaar: Portraying Suffering of Cancer Patients of Balochistan on Cinema

Javed MB Baloch
Gwadar: Aazaar, a film about cancer patients, was screened in Gwadar on Tuesday, which was attended by a large number of people.
Aazaar, which means pain in Balochi, was first screened in Turbat on last Eid. Later it was screened in some other rural villages of Makran like Ballnegwer and Kaheerain in Dasht tehsil of Kech district.
This film revolves around the story of a ten years old girl (played by Sammi Akram) who is a cancer patient. She is taken to Karachi for treatment by her father but they return to their home village due to unaffordable treatment. They start treatment from local quacks, but these all fail. Last the quacksalver suggest her father go on a famous shrine to pray for her daughter, where he meets another character, a person who became abnormal after the death of his son who was also a cancer patient.
Read also: Balochistan: A battle Ground for Courageous Patients against Cancer
On film screening day in Gwadar, a large number of local actors, poets, politicians, and artists watched it and share their feedback. Among them, famous actor Allah Bakhsh Aleef, Sarfaraz Muhammad, Hafeez Baloch, and Shahnawaz Shah congratulated Ali Bakhsh Dad, the producer of the movie.
A shot from the movie
Allah Baksh Dad called the movie a great achievement for Balochi film industry and thanked people of Gwadar. “Balochi cinema is in its early developing stages, which does not have access to big screens, that’s the reason to screen it in small gatherings to share awareness through films about a fatal disease like cancer spreading so fast in Balochistan, said Ali Bakhsh Dad, the producer and director of ‘Aazaar’ movie while speaking to Balochistan Voices.

The budget used on this film can’t be earned back so it’s a contribution for Balochi cinema – Ali Bakhsh Dad, the Producer

He added “we know that the budget used on this film can’t be earned back so it’s a contribution for Balochi cinema,” He continued that today we are facing the problem of financial constraints problems but we hope that our next generation of filmmakers do not have to deal with them.
Balochistan has a rising number of cancer patients but the province does not have a single cancer hospital. Government has promised to establish a cancer hospital in Balochistan – a promise which has not been made good so far.
Sha ibne sheen, a poet and composer of the title song of Aazaar, said that they couldn’t expect that one show runs successfully but two shows in the same day proved the love of our people for Balochi movies.
People watching Aazaar in Gwadar
Jan al Balushi, one of famous Balochi filmmakers, posted on his page that “after watching Aazaar happy to express that Balochi films are developing.” He thinks the subject was very good and has a great message but according to him with this script, it could be a short film.
Uzma Haya, a Famous Balochi singer from Lyari, said “First I thought this would be a usual film but when I continued watching, it made me emotional. It’s really a heartening and painful story, a true face of Balochistan.” She also suggested using subtitles in English so the world could understand the film better way. She appealed to the Government of Pakistan to establish a cancer hospital in Balochistan.

I appeal to the Government of Pakistan to establish a cancer hospital in Balochistan – Uzma Haya, a Balochi singer

The plight of Balochi Cinema
Balochi cinema is in poor condition, which has no access to big screens. There were some cinemas in interior cities of Balochistan but closed due to opposition of religious activists.
The first Balochi feature film Hammal O Mahganj was released by Anwar Iqbal in 1976 but the film never made it to the screen because some extremists blamed it for misrepresentation of Baloch culture.
Aazaar had two female roles along with the main role of ‘Bechkandh’ the girl who is suffering in cancer, both females are hidden faces, which shows that still women freedom in the Baloch film industry is a dream.

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