My Pure Land
Director: Sarmad Masud
Cast: Suhaee Abro, Eman Malik, Tayyab Azfal, Syed Tanveer Hussain
Language: Urdu with English subtitles
Country of Origin: UK 2017 92 mins. (15)
British Selection Best Foreign Language Film 90th Academy Awards
Released by Bill Kenwright Films
'My Pure Land,' is a small budget film that's much bigger than it may realise. British Pakistani writer-director Sarmad Masud debut feature based on the true story of Nazo Dharejo (Suhale Abro), 'the toughest woman in Sindh' whose stand-off against a group of militia intent on taking her father's land and house is the stuff of legend, has land disputes, blood feuds and a bias against female ownership at its core.
If village elders can't offer a solution, such disputes are settled by force of arms in rural Pakistan with the police mere bystanders. When Nazo's uncle Mehrban laid claim to Nazo's father's house and land it was assumed that the family would give in. With her father and brother murdered in prison, it became a matter of honour and with her sister Saedo and their brother's friend Zulfiqar, Nazo took up arms to defend their land against a militia of 200 bandits.
Gripping and assured, this feminist western-style thriller with minimal dialogue, told in flashback and shot in Pakistan won't be a contender for multiplex screens but it's quality is reflected in its submission as the British selection for Best Foreign Language Film in the 90th Academy Awards.