The cast of ‘Arth – The Destination’, Shaan Shahid, Humaima Malick, Uzma Hassan and Mohib Mirza have joined forces with UN Women to urge global audiences to end violence against women. The campaign is designed to encourage discussion and debate around the issue of domestic abuse in its various forms and to end violence against women & girls. The cast have created a mini-film for the campaign that raises some interesting questions and moral dilemmas that they hope will lead to a better understanding of the extent that abuse can take, be it physical or emotional.
Uzma Hassan, whose character in the film demonstrates emotional abuse, comments: “When we speak of abuse, never does it occur to us if the concept could involve emotion, the sentimentality of a person or his/her psyche. The mental image itself is that of a physical strike. But that’s not where it begins. Before it takes that form, a woman goes through psychological and emotional distress. That is what we need to speak of. That is where we need to begin our stories from.”
This collaboration with UN Women has no agenda but to take the opportunity to spread awareness on domestic sexism and abuse. Director and actor Shaan Shahid, who not only plays the lead in Arth but also in the short film has taken a very brave step by raising one of the most sensitive yet increasingly prolific issues within Pakistani society.
‘ARTH – The Destination’ is a hugely relevant film for modern-day audiences and shows that Pakistani filmmakers are breaking the mould and are no longer afraid to tackle issues that have historically stayed hidden behind closed doors. Shaan says: “Arth deals with the concept of ‘decisions’ and the powerful role they play in an individual’s life. Eventually, it is these decisions that determine the destination, and the path we each take to reach that ultimate destiny.
“I made this film to highlight issues that have remained hidden and unspoken in our society. However, it is only when we start acknowledging that we have problems, that we can find solutions and give hope to others in the same boat. I hope that both Arth and the film we have made to support the UN Women’s campaign give some hope and belief to victims of domestic violence that there is a way out and they no longer need to suffer in silence.”
Humaima Malick adds: “To speak out about abuse is a major step in our culture. as it has always been seen as taboo and women have never been allowed a voice. It’s about time that the victims start speaking up. Who better than a woman can take a stand for herself, her rights? This is what motivated us to lead this campaign.”
Mohib Mirza, one of the lead characters of the film, casts a bird’s eye-view on the subject: “We think that we have a right on other people’s lives. That’s how we have been brought up. We feel absolute freedom in imposing our judgment on other people’s lives, especially women. Such are the acts constituting and strengthening patriarchy in society for a very long time now. We see it but we don’t realize how poisonous it is.”
The cast went on to explain the gravity of the matter by demonstrating their roles in the Arth: The Destination that are reflective of their actual lives and the reason behind keeping their original names in the film.
Shaan adds: “Arth is not just a piece of art. It speaks on actual issues, highlights real facts and reflects struggles that artists go through in their lives. In comparison, a male artist does not face as many hurdles as female artists do. The added patriarchy, apart from the rest of the career struggles, always gets in their way. It is not just unfair to the artists but also to the entire womanhood.”
‘Arth -The Destination’ is produced by Hammad Chaudhry, Faraz Chaudhry and Shaan Shahid under their banners of HKC Entertainment, Cinestar and 5th Element Entertainment, respectively. It is released in cinemas on December 21st, 2017 by Grand Showbiz Entertainment.
The UN Women’s film entitled #EndViolenceAgainstWomen will be released globally across all social media platforms today