“Josh”: Independence Through Unity: Low Budget Movie with a Message

April 3, 2014 by  


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Honorable Counsel General of Pakistan in Houston Afzaal Mahmood with Film Maker Iram Parveen Bilal and Community Organizer Mustafa Iqbal Tameez…

“People in Pakistan thought I am daughter of a rich Pakistani, returning from Los Angeles to make a movie. It was not true, as my idea was to produce a meaningful movie about issues related to feudalism, poverty, women & individual empowerment, and much more. People told me that to make successful movies, one has to produce them to be extravagantly spicy; otherwise they will simply flop. I still went ahead to make this low budget film, and I am happy that By the Grace of God it has got appreciation worldwide in the past seven to eight months. While making the movie, my Pakistani crew initially was skeptical about the success of the movie; and always asking for advance money whenever something was asked of them. Then whenever things seem to be tight, some of them would say do not worry, it will be done: To me that means no it will not be done and that you are in trouble. Then they used to say do not worry: This is the way it happens in Pakistan. I never accepted this notion, and made sure with discipline, dedication, and persistency that whatever happens in the Pakistani society, I will never compromise on professionalism and effectiveness, and efficiency. It helped changing the overall demeanor of the team.”

These were the words of Iram Parveen Bilal, as she spoke at a special “Meet the Press” tea event at local restaurant. Ms. Iram was talking about the award winning movie “Josh”, a Pakistani Mystery Thriller, which she has written, directed, and co-produced with Saad Bin Mujeeb and Kelly Thomas; and which was released in August 2013 on the occasion of Eidul Fitr.

Iram Parveen Bilal was in H-Town (Houston) during which time; “Josh” was aired one time at the River Oaks Theater at 2009 W. Gray Street, which was seen by more than 250 persons.

JOSH Houston Screening was followed by Q&A with Director Ms. Iram. JOSH has been endorsed by organizations such as DIL, TCF, MPAC, Film Independent, Women in Film, across its global screenings; as it celebrates the human rights of education, freedom and justice. Main theme is “Independence Trough Unity”.

Answering questions of the media persons and other people from the community; like Tariq Khan & Jamil Siddiqui of Pakistan Chronicle & Journal and South Asian Chronicle; Shamim Syed of Pakistan News; Najam Shaikh of Pakistan Times; ILyas Hasan Choudry of Muslim Observer; Sajjad Burki of Pakistani American Council of Texas (PACT); Abdullah Jafari of TCF; Muhammad Zaheer of MQM Houston, and many others; Iram Parveen Bilal said that people say if the movie is issue oriented, why not make a documentary.

“That is well and good, but documentary is seen more from academic point of view. Then people said movie without extravagant spices will not work, as is seen from the Bollywood Movies. To me such level of spices with the low budget movie that I was producing is not possible.”

Continuing to inform about this journey of making Josh, where she wants to ultimately show ways to revive the movie industry in Pakistan and revive the theaters, she said they did not have extravagant movie sets and settings: What they used to do is perform in the field without making sets, where they did shots on the streets, parks, bazaars, etc.; in places Malir, Defense, and Soldier Bazar. When in Soldier Bazar, the first day people from two to three political parties and ethnic groups came, claiming she is making movie in their area, and ask for their money & share. One time a person selling juice did not want to move, unless certain level of financial share was given to him.

“So there were many obstacles, but still With the Blessings from God, we made the movie, which now has got many awards:” Added Ms. Iram.

After an astronomical more than four weeks in theaters across Pakistan; and 15 cities in North America & 7 cities in the UK, JOSH has come to the last leg of the tour of screening to Houston.

“Another aspect of Josh is that I have most popular performer of Pakistan in the movie”.

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