I recently had the pleasure of attending the private screening of an upcoming short film, Blue, written and directed by Danial Afzal, and produced by Mehr Sher, both of whom are currently residing in Islamabad. The film brings to life a report written by Amber Shamsi of BBC News, “How a rape was filmed and shared in Pakistan,” and is a product of a Chicago-based company, Arash Visuals, Inc.
Arash’s mission is to inspire social change in South Asia through their art, and they aim to uncover the atrocities citizens face in developing nations. Although both Danial and Mehr have the privilege to live abroad, they choose to remain in Pakistan, and work to expose the countless hidden evils running rampant in South Asia.
Their first film, The Survivor, revolved around a boy named Muneeb that lost his brother in the APS Massacre of 2014. Survivor toured ten international film festivals, and won three awards, including Best Documentary Short at the Chicago South Asian Film Festival 2017.
As child abuse is a rapidly growing concern, Arash decided to delve deeper through their second project, “Am I Worthless,” which focused on the calamity that is child labor. They articulated the narrative via the stories of two young adults whom had faced hardship and misfortune throughout their upbringing.
Arash’s most recent production, Blue,is a chilling take on the mindset of an abuse victim. It is a cry for help from the depths of a broken soul, and a rude public awakening to the harsh reality of mental health stigma in the East. Urooj Kamran Azmi, DOP, has done a remarkable job in capturing the intricacies that surround a wounded human psyche. If viewers have ever suffered trauma, they will find a piece of themselves in the protagonist, Zohra. Blue is not just a tale, but also an experience that will go the distance.