After Cake’s submission as Pakistan’s official entry to Oscars this year, another Pakistani-Norwegian filmmaker Iram Haq’s film – What Will People Say – has been selected at the 91st Academy Awards as an entry for best foreign language film.
What Will People Say centers on the life of a 16-year-old girl Nisha (played by Maria Mozhdah) who faces numerous socio-cultural dissimilarities along her journey while also enduring a grim relationship with her parents. She is forced to leave her home in Norway to live with her extended family in Pakistan where she was asked to learn ‘her own culture’. The cast includes Indian actors Adil Hussain, Sheebha Chaddha, Rohit Saraf and Ekavali Khanna.
According to a report in The News, Iram Haq considers telling a story to a wide audience a bigger feat than an award. “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,” she said.
“Of course, it is a big honour for me that my film has been chosen but I want to say that it is not possible to compete in art. Reaching out to people with a story is important,” she added.
The film is based on the filmmaker’s own childhood. “My parents are from Pakistan and they kidnapped me to Pakistan and I lived there for a year. So I knew that when I grow up I will tell this story in some way,” Iram told Scroll.in at a recent screening of the film organised by the Royal Norwegian Consulate General in Mumbai.
The film is available for streaming on Netflix.
Watch the trailer: