Filmmaker Alankrita Shrivastava is set to direct a film on the late Pakistani social media star Qandeel Baloch, the makers announced on Tuesday. Producers Vikas Sharma and Sunny Khanna, along with Alankrita have acquired the rights to the book The Sensational Life and Death of Qandeel Baloch by Pakistani journalist Sanam Maher and published by Aleph. Also Read: Qandeel Baloch case: Brother freed over ‘honour killing’
Fouzia Azeem, better known by her stage name Qandeel Baloch, was a model, actor, social media celebrity and activist. She rose to prominence due to her videos on social networks discussing her daily routine, her rights as a Pakistani woman, and various controversial issues. She was strangled to death by her brother Muhammad Waseem.
Alankrita, whose film credits include Lipstick Under My Burkha, Dolly Kitty Aur Woh Chamakte Sitare, and web series like Made in Heaven and Bombay Begums, said she was always fascinated by Qandeel’s life story.
“When Qandeel Baloch was murdered in Pakistan in 2016, I was shaken up. It was a heinous honour killing. I couldn’t stop thinking about her. I started watching Qandeel’s videos repeatedly, and I was fascinated. She was so charming and full of life. A poor girl from a small village worked her way up to being provocatively famous. She was just 26 when she was killed. And ironically, it’s only after her death that she has been reclaimed as a feminist,” the director said in a statement. This film is an ode to the courageous spirit of Qandeel, she added.
“It will chronicle her sensational and astonishing rise to fame. I hope to piece together the memories of the rebellious, funny and vulnerable young girl, whose life was cut short because she shimmered too bright. The film will celebrate her spunk and lust for life by telling her story without judgment, hopefully the way she would have liked to tell it,” Alankrita said.
Vikas and Sunny said for them this movie is an opportunity for them to tell a unique story on female agency and systemic gender violence.
Vikas, who has produced films like Qarib Qarib Single and Dobaara among others, said the story of Qandeel deserves to be told by the right filmmaker and he is happy to have collaborated with Alankrita for the upcoming feature.
“Qandeel’s story needs to be told by a sensitive filmmaker who is passionate about women’s stories. Alankrita is just the filmmaker for it. And not just because she is an award-winning feminist filmmaker, but because she has so much empathy for her characters. She tells their stories with candour and warmth,” the producer said. Sharing similar sentiments, Sunny said the world needs to know about Qandeel.