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Pakistani short Mulaqat selected for Venice Film Festival 2021


The film is centred on a schoolgirl in Karachi, who shares a sensual dance video with her virtual boyfriend, who then blackmails her.

Our Correspondent

The short film from Pakistan Mulaqat (Sandstorm) will have its world premiere at the upcoming Venice Film Festival 2021 in the Orizzonti short films competition section. Written and directed by artist and filmmaker Seemab Gul, the film has been produced by banker-turned-film producer Abid Aziz Merchant. 

The short is centred on a schoolgirl in Karachi, Zara, who shares a sensual dance video with her virtual boyfriend, who then blackmails her. Caught between his manipulative behaviour and the desire to experience love on her own terms, Zara searches for the strength to reject the confines of a patriarchal society.

Speaking to Cinestaan, Merchant said it was a great honour that the film has been selected by La Biennale di Venezia. “Mulaqat, a coming-of-age story was filmed during the pandemic in 2020 in Karachi, Pakistan and we are extremely delighted that it’s having its world premiere at the oldest and one of the most prestigious film festivals of the world. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the wonderful cast and crew and especially our three executive producers Jemima Khan, Mehnaz Alavi Diwan and Christopher Granier-Deferre for all their support to the project,” he said.

The festival is being held from 1-11 September.

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Venice International Film Festival