Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy: In Toronto’s Top 10

Posted on January 9, 2007
Filed Under >Adil Najam, Pakistanis Abroad, People, TV, Movies & Theatre, Women
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Adil Najam

Canadian newspaper Toronto Star recently named its list of “10 to Watch in 2007.” Ten people living in the Greater Toronto area who the newspaper thinks are “poised to make a splash in 2007.” On that list is a young Pakistani documentary film-maker: Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy.

I am particularly happy to report this news because I have been meaning to write about her work for a while, and this is the perfect reason to. In fact, she is an early friend of ATP and you may have seen her commenting here. But, it is more likely that you have seen her work on such award winning shows as PBS’s Frontline. And if you have not, I am betting you soon will.

Here is what the Toronto Star has to say about it:

In her short career, launched when she was still in university, Obaid-Chinoy has made 10 personal, passionate documentaries and won as many prizes. Now 28 and based in Toronto, she is making two more films in 2007, one on the lives of Afghan women five years after the U.S. invasion, and another on the legacy of Zimbabwe strongman Robert Mugabe.

Terror’s Children, [a documentary] about Afghan refugees living in her homeland, Pakistan, launched her career in 2002 and immediately won three awards. Her second, a searing look at the rise of fundamentalism in Pakistan, won four more prizes, including the Livingston Award for young journalists under 35. Obaid-Chinoy was the first non-American to receive it. Other winners in the category of international reporting include David Remnick, now editor of The New Yorker, Thomas Friedman of The New York Times and Christiane Amanpour of CNN. Bill Abrams, former president of New York Times Television, says when he first encountered Obaid-Chinoy, then a college student, “I thought, this person could be the next Christiane Amanpour “sophisticated, smart, fearless.”

The list of her work, available on her website, is impressive indeed, and she has taken on some of the most pressing and important social issues to work on in her documentaries. The best exemplar of her work is the documentary ‘On A Razor’s Edge’ about the India-Pakistan peace process, shown on Frontline in 2004. The website about the documentary has an interview with her which shows her as a person of conviction as well as idealism. Both of those are endearing qualities in our world today. The write-up on the documentary, introduces Sharmeen and her work thus:

Spring has arrived in Pakistan, and the season has brought a thaw in the Cold War between Pakistan and India, bitter enemies for more than 50 years. A train is now allowed to cross the border. FRONTLINE/World correspondent Sharmeen Obaid boards this “peace train” in India and travels home to Pakistan to see how people are reacting to the cautious attempts to settle differences between the two countries. Born and raised in Pakistan, Obaid is now a graduate student at Stanford as well as a reporter for New York Times Television who has covered the dramatic political and social changes in Pakistan since 9/11 and the U.S. intervention in neighboring Afghanistan.

On the train Obaid meets a woman who is on her way to a reunion with her children and grandchildren in Pakistan. “I’ve prayed for the day the borders would open,” she tells Obaid. As the train pulls into the city of Lahore, Pakistan, Obaid witnesses the meaning of reconciliation as long-separated families and friends embrace each other. All this is possible because of a historic handshake between Pakistan’s President Pervez Musharraf and India’s Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, who agreed to begin peace talks in January 2004. That night in Lahore, Obaid sees the start of Basant, a festival celebrating the advent of spring. Originally a Hindu holiday, Basant has long been embraced by Pakistan’s Muslim majority. It is a time of kite flying, dancing, even drinking. As she wanders the gaily-lit streets at night, Obaid speaks with Pakistanis who tell her they are hopeful about the possibility of a real peace with India. But there is also a note of caution. “Ask me another time,” an older street vendor tells her. “If this interview is aired, we will both be jailed. This is Pakistan!”

If you are like me you are already hooked and you want to read more about this. You can, here. If you do, you will read about her encounters with Jugnu Mohsin, Ahmed Rashin, Gen. Hamid Gul, Gen. Aslam Beg, and many more in the weeks and months when the A.Q. Khan case was blowing up all over the place.

Better still, you can watch the whole documentary here. Or just do a google and you can watch a lot more of her work. Do so, its worth watching.

Congratulations, Sharmeen. Like the Toronto Star, ATP will also be watching you in 2007 and beyond!

43 Comments on “Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy: In Toronto’s Top 10”

  1. Mutazalzaluzzaman Tarar says:
    January 9th, 2007 10:29 am

    Yeah, I saw the article in Toronto Star. It’s good to see a Pakistani getting some recognition – especially a woman. Sharmeen is doing good work. I only wish that every one of her documentaries wasn’t tied to terrorism and religious extremism. I’m against that as any other Pakistani. But there’s a lot more to Pakistan than terrorism and extremism and if Pakistanis themselves aren’t willing to highlight other facets of Pakistan, what is to be expected of others?

    I’m not suggesting that we shy away from the issues and problems that plague our society. But surely there are other issues in our society that need exposure too?

    Either way, is Sharmeen going to be showing her films in Toronto any time? I’d love to go to a screening.

  2. Hafeeza says:
    January 9th, 2007 1:20 pm

    CONGRATULATIONS

    GREAT HONOUR….and well done… saw the documentary it is wonderful… keep up the good work… we need more honest and strong voices like yours… you make me proud to be a Pakistani.

  3. ayesha says:
    January 9th, 2007 1:22 pm

    Kudos! Thanks for bringing it to our attention back home.

    Interesting documentary too. Definitely going to check out the rest of Sharmeen’s work too.

  4. Zak says:
    January 9th, 2007 2:31 pm

    Congratulations Ms.Obaid..I wish you even greater success in the future.

  5. The Pakistanian says:
    January 9th, 2007 2:40 pm

    I had never heard of Ms Obaid-Chinoy before, but now I would love to see her works. I would also like to name another Pakistani-Canadian here, Zarqa Nawaz, who is the brains behind yet to be aired sitcom on CBC “Little Mosque on the Prairie” and some other independently made films. Extremly glad to see all this creativity and astisanship coming from Pakistanis and receiving accolades.

  6. January 9th, 2007 2:43 pm

    You forgot to mention Zainab Tayiab,another pakistani woman in same list. Anyways,definately it would be a great experience for Ms.Chinoy.

    [quote post="517"]one on the lives of Afghan women five years after the U.S. invasion[/quote]

    I would definately like to watch this documentary legally or illegaly[youtube etc] as I want to know how honest attempt would she make for this difficult project because the general perception we learnt from western media that Women were in hell in taliban era and now enjoying happy moments. If this is the same theme then I think she didn’t need to make any effort as lots of stuff already available on Internet. Anyway Sharmeen I am not discouraging you, It’s just I hope you would produce something different and honest.

    What I just experienced that media really leaves a stronng impact on society. The death of 19 kids till now in different part of the world after saddam execution and Indian movie “Lagay Raho Munna Bhai” are the best examples to prove my point. I don’t understand why our concerned professionals can’t produce something which brings some positive change in Pakistanis. No I am not talking about crappy music channels or dance etc as It’s bringing change in the lives of rock stars only[$$$$$] but I think we are far away to produce something like mentioned Indian movie or “Rang De Basanti” due to infinite obstacles. Even if Sharmeen produces an honest documentary about Afghani women then I am damn sure that her movie would be banned in Pakistan.

    Anyway enjoy your moments and have a nice time.

  7. Nadir Shah says:
    January 9th, 2007 3:45 pm

    I am not really sure why shes among the top 10. Its all wonderful that shes done the movies and won awards and all, but having attended one of her screening I found her working lacking the objectivity. In fact it may not be an over kill to say that her work on Saudi women was primarily a reflection of her opinion and not neccesarily a movie that showed both sides of the story. Although Pakistani crtics may not be any authoriy on film making, yet the film on saudi women got a horrendous review at the 5th Kara film festival. I also agree with Mr. Tarar up there that she should show the softer side of her homeland, but I think a softer Pakistan would help any film maker get funding from western financiers.
    However, credit should be given where its due and I think she has done well establishing herself. She does know the right people in the right places and that is not easy, especially if you want to be among Top 10 to watch out for in Toronto.

  8. Pervaiz Munir Alvi says:
    January 9th, 2007 3:59 pm

    “I only wish that every one of her documentaries wasn’t tied to terrorism and religious extremism……there’s a lot more to Pakistan than terrorism and extremism and if Pakistanis themselves aren’t willing to highlight other facets of Pakistan, what is to be expected of others?”

    But if Ms.Obaid-Chinoy makes documentaries on subjects other than terrorism and extremism in Pakistan would it sell in the West. Would she still have the financial backing and the accolades that she enjoys now. Would any one even know who she is. There is a lot of “Salmon Rushdie-Hirsi Ali-Taslima Fazli-Irshad Manji” phenomenon here.

  9. January 9th, 2007 4:28 pm

    I agree with those who think that she is credited only for prmoting western agenda. Today if anyboyd want to be Salman Rushdie, he can write or make movies on terrorism, extremism and women in Islam etc etc. I would honor her if she ever promote Islamic values in her documentary and win award in any European film festivals.

  10. Darwaish says:
    January 9th, 2007 6:05 pm

    :)… Without going into any ‘western agenda’ wali conspiracy theories, I just want to appreciate the good work done by Sharmeen.

    I guess documentaries are relatively new in Pakistan and there are only a handful of people making good documentaries. One can argue about the lack of objectivity, technical issues or even personal likes or dislikes (as some comments shows) about the documentaries etc but I think its wonderful that someone is actually making an effort and giving us something to think about. Positive criticism on her work would be more helpful and even better if we can give her suggestions about the kind of issues she should consider in her near future.

    For instance I am very upset about those gangs operating in almost every big city of Pakistan who kidnap children and adults, amputate their organs and then force them to beg on streets? Beggars have always been here but amputating their organs to make more money has only been there for last 3-4 years i think. I am sure all of us see little kids of age 10-12 without both arms or legs or in many cases both or a young man with a bleeding organ(s) everyday at traffic signals, footpaths. We just ignore them and don’t even want to look at them because they are in such a bad shape. When they approach our car windows at traffic signals, we just want them to get lost and give them money quickly and thus making sure that people responsible for this ugly crime keep on making a lot of money out of this human misery. I can’t understand how we tolerate this everyday and it’s even more shocking to see the level of indifference that exists in our society today.

    Personally, I don’t mind if anyone gets funding from west to highlight any such issue even it means taking a label ‘western agenda’ or whatever. Who knows may be someday one such documentary affects some of us and we also start doing something about the issues.

    Sorry about the very long comment.

  11. Mariam says:
    January 9th, 2007 11:28 pm

    Congrats on good work Sharmeen.

    On A Razor’s Edge is a very truthful documentary and it made me think about idiotic ceremony at Wagah. There is a controversy in making about Wagah border ceremony. India already toned it down but Pakistan is yet to follow. Earlier Pakistan has refused to tone it down, lets see what will they do now.

  12. Samdani says:
    January 10th, 2007 12:49 am

    Must say I am a little disturbed by a few of the ccomments here. The pettiness and jealousy of some aside, why should it matter whther the funding comes from the ‘West’ or from Saudi Arabia or somewhere else. If we are that concerned then raise the money ourselves.

    What really should matter is whether these documentaries are showing the true picture or not. I have just seen one on the internet and I think it is VERY honest. There is nothing anti-Pakistan there at all. Pointing out the flaws of the government or highlighting the duplicity of someone like AQ Khan who sells the nations secrets (isn’t that called treason) is NOT anti-Pakistan; selling national secrets for personal greed is!

    There are lots of documentaries being made in Pakistan with Pakistani money that spread sectarian hatred and intolerance; I woudl much rather see documentaries like hers that give the message of peace and human dignity, no matter who funds them. And if someone like PBS funds her documentary that is a mark of her skill and talent, of which we should be proud and not jealous.

  13. January 10th, 2007 1:15 am

    Lets not discourage the lady by labelling her as a Western Agent[am I sounding different? ;) ]. Did I mention that I had already read her interview [ on Jazbah website in which she categorized muslims in TWO factions only Seculars[hence moderated] anti-Seculars(Extreemist/Fundamentalist) ] which I personally don’t agree but it doesn’t mean I disqualify her efforts.

    I wonder that whether people read her interview on jazbah. She replied:


    The clerics were the most obliging, nicest, most hospitable people I met and worked with. Fun people! They made sure that I ate with them, drank tea with them, they told me anything and everything I wanted to know. They didn’t have any pretensions. Sometimes they weren’t too happy that I was challenging them, but they never stopped me from asking questions and always gave me their own opinion.

    I am not surprised if she believes in thing thats afghans[or Talibans] don’t consider women human beings but I would give credit her for being honest and respect for this statment. Even Ms.Riddley got shocked after experiencing an “unexpected” behaviour by talibans. Even if she’s a secular then much better than several others[some of them are on this board as well] who just promote their ideology by talking lies and baseless things. After reading that piece by sharmeen, I do hope that she would sure produce something good with facts. She shouldn’t care much for western intrest for financing[though it matters] and promote truth which is obsolete in media world.

  14. Saadia Khan says:
    January 10th, 2007 7:32 am

    Thats great! I am looking forward to watch Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy work.

    I am much more impressed of the well-written work of Bapsi Sidhwa, another Pakistani talent whom very less Pakistans know, though much of them have for sure watched the Indian movie “Earth 1947″, which is actually based on her novel.

    Another Pakistani talent which is very less popular in Pakistan is Sabiha Sumar. Last night I watched her directed movie on Arte-TV (German TV). No doubts that why the movie is award winning. It brilliantly focuses on the political drama with the title as Khamosh Pani (Silent Waters). The story is about how politics influences, gives new self-made and self-favored false interpretation, misuse and exploits religion, how fundamentalists divide the relations and ultimately how society falls victim to the political propaganda.

    Adil, I think ATP should also give the credit to both of them and should write something on them, thanks!

  15. January 10th, 2007 9:11 am

    [quote comment="25855"]I had never heard of Ms Obaid-Chinoy before, but now I would love to see her works. I would also like to name another Pakistani-Canadian here, Zarqa Nawaz, who is the brains behind yet to be aired sitcom on CBC “Little Mosque on the Prairie” and some other independently made films. Extremly glad to see all this creativity and astisanship coming from Pakistanis and receiving accolades.[/quote]

    Sometimes it is hard to tell what the reality is. I am not familiar with the works of Ms. Sharmeen that much but I have had the chance to see some of Mrs. Zarqa Nawaz’s. I was in Regina, Saskatchewan from 1995 to 2000 when she started a stir in our community there with her documentaries. Most of her documentaries were a sarcasm against the traditional Islam and they were often shown in the Regina Public Library. I will not be surprised that she portrays the community and masjid of Regina negatively in this upcoming sitcom.

    All I know from my experience is that she was supporting a muslim feminist group and creating trouble in our masjid. She even tried to defame our Imam Masjid (whom everyone in the community respects) in one of the magazines.

    As a muslim, I feel happy when someone excels in their field and gets recognition, but I do not like when people use religion as a stepping stone to earn the fame.

  16. Pervaiz Munir Alvi says:
    January 10th, 2007 9:36 am

    “I am much more impressed of the well-written work of Bapsi Sidhwa, another Pakistani talent whom very less Pakistans know, though much of them have for sure watched the Indian movie “Earth 1947″, which is actually based on her novel.”

    Saadia Khan: I hope you do not get too “impressed” by Ms. Bapsi Sidhwa. There is a common thread here. Ms. Sidhwa does not buy the idea of Pakistan as a separate independent sovereign nation-state. That is why she left Pakistan and migrated to India. She has written fictions against the idea of the division of the British Indian Empire. That is her choice and we should respect it. We could also like or not like her as a writer. But we also know that she is a socio-political writer and as such a darling of the Indian media and we should leave it there. Don’t drag her back into the category of “Pakistani Talent”.

    Samdani: Without getting into a silly debate with you or others, the source of funding does matter. If you watch carefully purses come attached with strings. Iqbal and Faiz are both great writers then why is it that one is more popular and even promoted in certain countries than other. Do you think that Nobel Prize in literature is given just because one is a great writer. If that was the case then both Iqbal and Faiz should have been at least considered for that distinction. But they are not. The war of ideologies is funded by the interest groups.

  17. Kumail says:
    January 10th, 2007 9:48 am

    Its rather appaling that people are being critical Sharmeens feats and feats of all the men/women from Pakistan who have the cahonyes to touch on taboo subjects. I guess a good number of people have put religion on a pedestal and made in untouchable for discussion. What folks like Sharmeen and Zarqa (her rather cliched series premiered yesterday) deserve credit for is breaking the untouchable barrier on these issues.
    I have seen a few of Sharmeens films and attended a screening over a year ago in Toronto where presented a pretty decent argument about the women in saudi arabia. It may not have been exceptionaly objective but that was her finding and the decision to take something away from the movie is entirely upto the viewer.
    So lets not wag the finger at these folks hope we get to see even more substantial/influential work from them in the days to come.

  18. Saadia Khan says:
    January 10th, 2007 10:52 am

    Alvi Saheb, I doubt if she migrated to India, as far as I know she migrated to US. I do not care about Indian Media of Garam Masala, if I start relying on it then I have to consider many Pakistani musicians, singers, actors, writers and many more as non Pakistani talent.

  19. Pervaiz Munir Alvi says:
    January 10th, 2007 11:43 am

    Saadia Khan: Yes, Ms. Bapsi Sidhwa left Pakistan to live in India and then emigrated to the USA. Please do not take me wrong. Every one is free to think and believe as they like. She is not comfortable with the idea of Pakistan so be it. Even though born and raised in a Parsi family from Lahore, for me because of her ideology, she does not represent Pakistan. Her novels are written with a certain ideological slant and are happyly bought by the Indian film makers to partly promote anti-Pakistan ideology. So what. I wish her and her backers good luck. We Pakistanis on our part just have to let her go. I rather own Mr. Fred Bremner than Ms. Bapsi Sidhwa.

  20. Samdani says:
    January 10th, 2007 12:04 pm

    Pervaiz, I have read Bapsi Sidhwa’s works and also heard her speak. I certainly did not find her or her works to be against the idea of Pakistan. Like many others she has written about teh pangs of partition, which was a traumatic experince for those who lived through it. There aer also those who reject Manto or Faiz (for his subhe aazadi) for similar reasons. My feeling is that we can have a plurality of views and it is a good thing.

    Personally, I think we are and have to be a wide enough and welcoming enough tent to ‘own’ not only Fred Bremner (BTW, that was wonderful) but also Bapsi Sidhwa and Sharmeen Obaid and Maluana Maudoodi and Abdus Salam and Asma Jehangir and everyone else. The exercise of picking and selecting who is a good enough to be a Pakistani, or a good enough to be a Muslim, is not something that I feel very comfortable with.

  21. MQ says:
    January 10th, 2007 12:08 pm

    Pervaiz Alvi Sahib,

    After seeing your comments in response to Saadia Khan’s I googled for information on Bapsi Sidhwa. Her biography does not mention anything about her migration to India. In fact, it says she was on Benazir’s advisory committee for women’s development in 1996. Before that she had received a Sitara Imtiaz in 1991. Therefore, her migration to India, if it did happen, must have been pretty recent.

  22. Saadia Khan says:
    January 10th, 2007 12:22 pm

    Alvi Saheb, these are the very words of Bapsi Sidhwa now what do you say?, “Bapsi Sidhwa – Houston, Texas,
    As an American citizen of Pakistani origins, I congratulate Sharmeen Obaid for presenting an engaging, astute and informative documentary. The multiplicity of views reflected by a wide range of people permitted an impressive honesty and I appreciated it that she did not impose her interpretations on what was said. The concise and accurate English subtitles also helped in this regard. It is remarkable that Ms. Obaid managed to interview so many of the key figures in today’s Pakistan. PBS and Frontline are to be congratulated for making the documentary possible and for funding it. It will go some ways to clear the prevalent misconceptions about Pakistan. I hope it will be aired again. “

  23. January 10th, 2007 2:04 pm

    Don’t you guys think that you people are criticizing too much about her work? You guys proved my point once again that we pakistanis can’t see other pakistanis to do something. For Salam we have anti-Mullah/Islam issue, for Qadeer we preach that he is anti-Pakisan guy and now for sharmeen we are rejecting her work by saying that she just presents a single side of the picture. Fine, I might agree with you all but isn’t your attitude discouraging some other upcoming Pakistani young female producer which MIGHT try to present an Honest and positive picture of Islam and Pakistan OR speak the language which you want? I know if someone[girl/guy] even thinks to give an honest picture then same forum will curse that person as well. Pakistani kisi haal mey kush nahi rahta na dosray ko rahnay deyta hay and this is the real Pakistaniat

  24. Pervaiz Munir Alvi says:
    January 10th, 2007 2:54 pm

    Samdani: You and I agree on the subject of plurality. My post on Fred Bremner is about plurality and inclusiveness. Thank you for liking it. Ms. Bapsi Sidhwa on her own will chose to move to India and that is not to be held against her. We all should be free to make our choices. I did not say that she is anti-pakistan. I said she is not comfortable with the 1947 division of the British Indian Empire. Again she is free to feel that way like others are free to feel otherwise. The division tramautized her perhaps because her Parsi community was divided in the process. It is my hope too that Pakistani tent is big enough to accommodate all those who wish to be Pakistani. About Sharmeen, I have never seen her work so can not say much about her. My comments have more to do with the motives behind the funding and financing processes of such products than with these respectable ladies of Pakistani origin. I wish all of them good luck.

  25. Pervaiz Munir Alvi says:
    January 10th, 2007 3:08 pm

    MQ: I do not want to get too personal about the life of Ms. Sidhwa. It should not be our concern. I am more interested in her writing and ideology. There was a time when she moved to India. May be she does not want to talk about that period of her life and we all should respect her personal life. She and certain members of her family were involved with PPP politically. The Sitara-e-Imtiaz and advisory position are reflection of that involvement.

  26. Pervaiz Munir Alvi says:
    January 10th, 2007 3:19 pm

    Saadia Khan: Ms. Bapsi Sidhwa has always maintained that she is of Pakistani origin. She has also said that she is a citizen of the world and equally feels at home in India and in the USA. She has expressed these thoughts on the pages of Pakistanlink. You may check it. But let me say again. That is OK with me. At least she is honest about her believes. One last word. Friends, lets move on. We are splitting hair, including myself, for nothing.

  27. Salima says:
    January 10th, 2007 6:04 pm

    CONGRATULATIONS SHARMEEN.
    This is great achievement. We need more confident Pakistani voices talking to the World rather than only outsiders defining who we are for us. I hope this will inspire others to follow in your footsetps and speak to teh West in Pakistani termss. Congratualations.

  28. HJ says:
    January 10th, 2007 11:34 pm

    Alvi sahib: With all due respect, Bapsi Sidhwa’s work is as much a reflection of a “certain ideology” that goes against the concept of Pakistan as Jane Austen’s was in favor of the repression of English women during her times. I have read Ms. Sidhwa’s work but can’t really see where it seems anti-Pakistan.

    And whether Ms. Sidhwa lives in Pakistan, India or Mars, it doesn’t matter because her work focuses on the trauma of partition as experienced by a Parsi family from Lahore. What’s wrong with that – it is, afterall, her perspective?

    Nadir sahib: Not all movies/documentaries are “objective,” a much-abused word in the media. Documentaries are often a specific point of view, and trying to “balance” a point of view is not always needed or useful.
    HJ

  29. HJ says:
    January 10th, 2007 11:37 pm

    And, as Alvi sahib said, lets move on. I got so distracted by the interesting debate, I forgot the post was really about Sharmeen and her work.

    Congratulations, Sharmeen! Keep up the good work – as offensive or onesided as some may find it be.
    HJ

  30. Saadia Khan says:
    January 11th, 2007 3:42 am

    This is what I like best about Pakistaniat, we argue and we all have our point of view but at end we are ATP family, ..right? Alvi Saheb :-)

    HJ I agree with you well-made point.

    Adnan Siddique mostly I do not agree with you but for today I do, ah hum Pakistani, but at end who is perfect only God…right? MQ :-)

  31. January 11th, 2007 4:44 am

    Thank you Adil for writing up the post…Im encouraged by the comments left by ATP readers…I have in the last year and a half moved away from topics associated with terrorism and i wanted to draw your attention to that.
    In 2006, i worked on City of Guilt, a film about abortion in the Phillipines, then i produced a film about aboriginal Canadian women called “Highway of Tears, and in the second half of the year i worked on a film in Sweden and one in South Africa about black zenophobia.
    So hopefully some people on this forum will get a chance to watch those…

  32. MQ says:
    January 11th, 2007 5:05 am

    Sharmeen,

    Did you at any time work with a man named Claudio Von Planta? I happened to meet him a couple of years ago in New York when he had just returned from a round-the-world tour on a motorbike. I vaguely remember him mentioning your name in connection with something he did in Pakistan. Frankly, at that time I had not heard your name. But now it seems you are on your way to become a household word. Congratulations on making to Toronto Star’s Top Ten!

  33. MQ says:
    January 11th, 2007 5:14 am

    [quote ]“… but at end who is perfect only God…right, MQ? :-)[/quote]

    Saadia,
    Yes, right! But I cannot help wondering why did He have to create such an imperfect world.

  34. January 11th, 2007 5:41 am

    MQ, Claudio is a good friend and fellow filmmaker…I worked with him on “Pakistan’s Double Game” in 2005…And we hope to work again this year…!!

  35. Saadia Khan says:
    January 11th, 2007 5:51 am

    Sharmeen many thanks for the feedback, there are many among us who will love to watch your remarkable work, please keep it up!!

    MQ, its not he who created the imperfect world, its we who made it so imperfect. Its a long discussion we better do it outside the ATP ;-)

  36. January 12th, 2007 12:16 am

    Sadia you didn’t agree most of the time because I was attacking the ideology which you have been following for ages. You,me and others are free souls and have freedom to reject each others so it’s not an issue :>

    [quote post="517"]ah hum Pakistani, but at end who is perfect only God[/quote].

    It’s not about perfection. It’s all about appreciation,responsibility and maturity which is very uncommon in Pakistanis, why? I don’t know at all.

    [quote post="517"]But I cannot help wondering why did He have to create such an imperfect world[/quote]

    A creator will always be superior than the creature. Whether it’s a God,an artist or a software developer =).

    Sharmeen, I[we] have been waiting for some documentary to expose the dark[the only] side of feudalism in Pakistan. I wonder whether you have enough courage to work on this topic to show the real picture to Pakistanis?

    A bit off topic, GEO TV is going to release the tapes which they recieved from some UNknown person in which the person[if he's real] exposed the evils of Pakistani society. Today they are going to telecast its first episode. I know Geo can’t be like Thelka.com due to their old policy “Charhtay Sooraj ko Salam” but it would be intresting how do they expose things on a public channel.

  37. January 13th, 2007 1:06 am

    [...] Indeed, post 9/11 there is a real thrust of young Muslims in general, including young Pakistanis in the performing arts trying to build inroads into their host communities that earlier generations of Muslim, and Pakistanis, had so neglected to build (see ATP write-ups on Pakistanis abroad doing so in the theatre, in music (also here), in documentary film-making). [...]

  38. Shaheen says:
    August 15th, 2007 2:39 pm

    It is wonderful to know that a young Muslim Woman has made the Top Ten in Toronto. Bravo to Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy. I have seen many of her documentaries and she has worked very hard and gone to great lengths to produce such work. Why are we Pakistanis acting like ostriches, digging our heads in the sand and thinking our country has a SOFTER side? Look around you in Pakistan and you will see.. there is NO softer side. Much needs to be done to create a softer side. Every time we raise ourselves to a certain standard, we get hyper and go the destructive way. Unless we educate the masses, right from grass roots level, we have no hope… Taliban or no Taliban.

  39. Bapsi Sidhwa says:
    November 5th, 2007 5:10 pm

    Parviz Munir Alvi, I was appaled and hurt to come upon your libelous comments. This is to clear up the matter of my citizenship: as for your other venemonous remarks, I will let my novels and my Lahore anthology speak for me. I am grateful to Sadia Khan, Samdani, and MQ for defending me in their comments.

    I was born in Pakistan and my parents arranged my marriage at 19 to an Indian Irani and lived in Bombay for 4 years. I was divorced at 23 and returned to Pakistan and went through the whole process of re-acquiring my Pakistani Citizenship in the early 1960′s. I married my [present] Pakistani Husband, Noshir in 1962 in Lahore and remained a Pakistani throughout and still am. Although I got my American citizenship in 1994 I also hold a Pak passport because of my dual nationality. Please varify your information before spilling your hatred.
    Bapsi Sidhwa

  40. Dr. Haider says:
    February 5th, 2008 5:46 pm

    Ms. Sidhwa
    What you wrote about yourself was ofcourse your choice. But If I would be you I would never response to such stupid remarks. I think most readers including myslef were getting sick of this person’s comments about someone’s personal life.
    I personally believe that he has never heard or learned any manners. I am saying this after reading his comments about you and reading his blog about a boy who was selling coconut and Mr. Alvi started asking him why you don’t go to school. The kid replied, I just don’t and moved away from him. But he still took his picture when he was facing away from him (obviously without that boy’s concent) and published on this website. If you want to read that shameful blog of his you can click on the link http://pakistaniat.com/2008/01/09/coconut-seller/

  41. Rasheed says:
    March 17th, 2008 11:19 am

    Trying here not to take away from the achievements of Ms. Chinoy, and while it is great to see a young Pakistani get recognized, I would caution against ignoring another possible trend: where the west welcomes Muslims, especially younger beautiful women to criticize their own and expose our weaknesses to the world and recognizes them for these “courageous” acts.

    Presentations of most such works are prefaced by how courageous it was for this or that woman to speak out in spite of an oppressive Muslim society where women cannot speak out and so on and so forth. I wonder how successful Ms. Chinoy would be in airing a film in the west exposing their hypocricy in the hatefully and criminally anti-Muslim US foreign policy and in their so-called war on terror.

    Iranian Christianne Amanpour, married to Richard Boucher, if I’m not mistaken, is given great stature in the west; The Afghan woman Saira Shah who aired “Beneath the Veil” on CNN and now Ms. Chinoy. There are probably many more. And I don’t know where “Chinoy” comes from – hopefully not Mike Chinoy of CNN! – nothing particularly against Mike :)

    If this forum has Ms. Chinoy’s ear I’d like to caution her against being used by the West for their own agenda. I know this might sound less than flattering, but when it happens, it happens very gradually and one doesn’t realize how easily one slides off. I’ve experienced some of this in my local media.

    With all that said, congratulations on the good work, which, no doubt does take talent and courage to put together!

  42. Fatpurse says:
    August 12th, 2008 4:24 am

    Rasheed, what you have pointed towards does make sense.

  43. steve says:
    July 26th, 2009 11:06 am

    I mostly agree with Rasheed, but think that she doesn’t need warning. She knows exactly what she’s doing, and she’s doing very well out of it thank-you. The documentary business is like all the others it’s fiercely competitive. She is pictured above all cool, holding the tool of her trade. FAKE. Anyone could do it (what she does) and many much better.

    Being in the business I make it my business to watch everything made about Pakistan. The problem with this is that it’s just not very good. At best nothing we don’t already know, and at worse stereotyping and exaggeration for effect. She is never at risk any more than is John Simpson, only the crew who you never get to hear about are ever at risk. She like so many other documentary makers spend not one second longer in the country than they need to get the job done. Is it better than nothing? Why is nothing the alternative, anyone really think there couldn’t be better than this???

Have Your Say (Bol, magar piyar say)