Paakhi A Tyrewala’s ‘Pahuna’ to be screened for Syrian Refugee Children

Sakal Times
Monday, 1 April 2019

Paakhi says, “Films can be a lot of things. Sometimes they are pure entertainment, other times educational; they can be a catalyst for change or reminder of our roots. During the various festival screenings, I realised that children not only loved Pahuna but the film empowered them as well."

Filmmaker Paakhi A Tyrewala is thrilled as her debut feature film Pahuna will be screened for Syrian Refugee children. She is deeply affected by the war and how it’s affected the children there.  

An emotional Paakhi says, “Films can be a lot of things. Sometimes they are pure entertainment, other times educational; they can be a catalyst for change or reminder of our roots. During the various festival screenings, I realised that children not only loved Pahuna but the film empowered them as well. With Pahuna we want to provide the children in these camps with not only entertainment but also give them hope and courage. It’s a movie filled with love and nobility. All the things, if introduced at the right time, can change a life. If nothing else, the children deserve smiles and laughter. I hope Pahuna empowers the children who live in these refugee camps.” 

The filmmaker adds, “Since the movie is about displaced children, I feel it would connect to the Syrian children who have also been displaced because of the strife in their country.”

The film will be screened in Iran, Turkey, Lebanon, and the filmmaker is trying for Syria as well. “The idea is to show it to as many children as possible and then draw them into the conversation. Have an exchange of ideas. If it works positively, then my company Sketch Pen would like to make it an ongoing project,” she says.

For the children to understand the film, there will be live translations in Kurdish and Arabic. Paakhi explains this as an exercise to include local people. “Dubbing is an expensive affair so the next best option is a real-time translation. A person will translate the dialogues of all the characters as they speak in the film,” she says.

Pahuna is the story of two siblings who get separated from their parents while fleeing to Sikkim to escape the Maoist insurgency in Nepal. The film happens to be India’s first Sikkimese feature film. It premiered at Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) 2017 and won the Best Film (Jury Choice) at The International Children’s Film Festival in Germany, the Best Film Award by the European Jury and a special mention in the International Category at the Schlingel Film Festival.

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