Produced by: SOC films
Sponsor: Coca Cola
Executive Producer: Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy
Directors: Asad Farooqi and Hina Ali
Episode 1: Sabina Khatri
Duration: Approx. 15 mins
Trailer links: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-rth8rpy_Nk&feature=relmfu,
On May 3, at 7 pm seated at the spacious auditorium South End Club (a possibility for staging a theatre performance, I wonder if it ever has been utilized for the purpose) on Khayaban-e-Rahat, DHA phase 6, I along with a couple of other hundred people were invited to a screening of the first episode of Ho Yaqeen, a series of six short documentaries about inspiring leaders from across Karachi to Kashmir who are making a difference in the lives of many. Thank goodness the film-makers did not use the clichéd ‘Karachi to Khyber’ phrase while talking about their series.
The first episode charts the contribution of Sabina Khatri, who is running a preparatory school by the name of Kiran School in Lyari, a town that has been under the shadow of gang wars since 2002 and currently an operation is underway by the police to ‘supposedly’ cleanse the area of criminals. (To read more on the violence background express tribune recently featured a primer on Lyari, that is a must initial read to understand the complexity of the gangs: http://tribune.com.pk/story/372834/violence-101-a-primer-to-the-lyari-gang-war-karachi/)
With Oscar-winner Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy’s voiceover along with with interviews of Khatri, her young students and their parents, the slickly filmed documentary ended way too quickly and in its wake left a lot of unanswered questions. Such as who funds the Kiran School? If Khatri’s brother-in-law started the school, why is he absent from the schooling system? Why is Saving Face not being screened on our local television channels but this series is? Isn’t Saving Face inspiring enough to be shown on our local channels? In the film it is shown that another group of individuals inspired by Kiran School, have started something similar called Orange Tree, but where is it located? From which area do their students come from? Do they come from a low-income area? Some of the answers to my queries came from another tribune story by a young intrepid journalist Rabia Ali who has done a profile on the school. (Read: http://tribune.com.pk/story/312466/for-a-better-future-kiran-school-gives-children-of-lyari-a-chance-to-advance/)
By the end of the screening, Sabina Khatri, a youngish-looking woman with three grown up kids, was called on stage and given a standing ovation. She too was visibly moved by the appreciation and Coca Cola even promised her what sounded like funding but was couched under some corporate babble. Whether they fulfill the promise remains to be seen but I m sure there were some in the audience who moved by the premise of the film wouldn’t mind lightening their wallets.
The title Ho Yaqeen of the series and Coca Cola’s mantra for the season is most probably inspired by Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s famous poem Meray Humdum Meray Dost: Gar Mujhay Is Ka Yaqeen Ho/Meray Humdum Meray Dost…. Tina Sani has sung it beautifully and can be a heart-rending auditory experience especially if one is feeling melancholic. Here is the link to it (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5zI_AgDTtoA)
What would be an interesting byproduct of all this would be if some anthropologist or sociologist, tracked the educational and professional outcomes of at least 10-20 of the 93 students enrolled in this school, and to observe if they return back to their hometown of Lyari and give back to the community which some of the kids in their innocence promise to the audience.
The first episode will be shown on May 20 Sunday and on 16 channels, a successful strategy that Coca Cola first adopted when it showcased its signature music show Coke Studio, which btw begins airing its first episode from May 13 onwards (teaser: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W4QMYA3ECdM) .
Ho Yaqeen will be shown once a month, ending in the month of October.