Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Film about Mukhtar Mai

Somy Ali turns filmmaker

By: Sarita Tanwar

February 6, 2006

After turning journalist and taking up social issues in America, one-time Bollywood actress Somy Ali has now turned filmmaker after her recent attempt at making a documentary on the life of the now-famous Mukhtaran Mai, the Pakistaniwoman who was punished by a 'village council' in Pakistan by subjecting her to a gang rape. The gutsy Mai gathered global attention when she dragged her rapists to court and was granted justice and monetary compensation, which she distributed in charity.On 20th January, Mai was invited by the United Nations, who called her 'The Bravest Woman On Earth', to give a speech but it was cancelled it at the last minute since the Pakistan Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz was at the UN the same day and the organizers didn't want to embarrass him.

The US-based group Asian-American Network Against Abuse of Human Rights (ANAA),which Somy is actively a part of, has been supporting Mukhtaran's cause. Somy was placed in charge of filming Mukhtaran while in the US and also being her interpreter, since Mukhtaran cannot speak English.Says Somy about the experience, "It was very enriching. We took her (Mukhtaran) to the Glamour magazine office since they want to do a feature with her next year.


After that, it was NASDAQ where she gave the closing bell. Following that, we went to the IWHC (International Women's Health Coalition) gala where we met dignitaries like UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and actress-activist Glenn Close," reveals Somy.The next day, Somy accompanied Mukhtaran Mai to Las Vegas for a fundraising event. Somy says, "Over there, I was there in the capacity of being a spokesperson for ANAA and a translator to Mukhtaran." Somy was also on the discussion panel along with Mukhtaran, answering questions from the audience.From Hindi films to social and human rights issues to filmmaking, Somy is quite happy with the changing sequence of events in her life. "I'm proud of my stint in the Hindi film industry and that was my priority then. Today, it's something else. I have to find meaning in what I do and right now, this is what is of primary significance to me."Somy's film on Mukhtaran can soon be seen on ANAA's official website.

sarita@mid-day.com

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salams
i have a qn for the posters. what do you think of the use of the term "moderate Muslims" . i work at a newspaper and want to take up the issue that using moderate to qualify muslims implies that the natural state of islam is one of extremism. i would rather we use liberal for "progressive" muslims, and just plain Muslim, or "some Muslims" and let the reader decide what they are from the context.

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Blogger Edward Ott said...

someone needs to crack down on these village councils. a bunch of uneducated illiterates trying to tell everyone how to live. send one real Muslim scholar into ech village to straighten them out. and maybe a platoon of soldiers.
Salam

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Blogger izzymo said...

Salaam alaikum,
I'm sorry for not answering sooner but, I would say that I don't like how the term moderate is being used as a way to define Muslims. You're right. They are basically saying that moderate Muslims are those who don't take their faith seriously while devout, believing Muslims are the lunatics. But we can reclaim these terms for our own agendas and define Islam since Islam has always been a religion of modesty and moderation.

And Brother Edward,
I definitely feel your frustration and it's going to take years of eudcation and economic reform to improve these situations.

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