Malala biopic director admits he still receives death threats

03:39 PM | 17 Jan, 2020
Malala biopic director admits he still receives death threats

 Amjad Khan’s upcoming directorial "Gul Makai" charts the courageous journey of Pakistani activist and Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai. The trailer came out on January 9, 2019, with the film slated to be released on January 31, 2020.

However, days before its release, the film-maker admitted that he has been receiving death threats over it, reported Prokerala.

Speaking to IANS, he revealed that "This film portrays her earlier life and the spine-chilling incidents that she experienced when she was living in Swat."

The film has already been screened in London about a year ago, organised by the UN. Malala and her father made an appearance at the screening as well.

"It was overwhelming to see the biggies giving a standing ovation. They liked it so much that even during the interval, no one left his or her seat. Each and every woman was crying," said Khan.

"Even though Malala's father was watching the film for the second time, he couldn't console himself. He said 'you made our nightmares come alive again'."

He also talked about Malala's reaction while watching Gul Makai, "She tightened her jaws and her fists, and continuously tapped one of her feet."

"At present people need inspirations, especially women. This film is all about being courageous and determined during the worst situation of life. Fear is like an elastic band. You keep stretching and it keeps expanding. And this film is not only about a girl who has won the title from the UN as the most inspirational figure of the decade but also a story of a father, a mother, a teacher, a soldier. Every person can relate to the story," said Khan.

"I never thought of backing out. I was worried about my artistes' security on set during the shooting in Kashmir. On the first day in Kashmir, I thought of terrorist alignments with the locals but I was wrong. Kashmiri people are more patriotic than us."

He revealed, "I still receive threat mails, abusive emails from unknown mail IDs."

He also shared some details regarding the selection of the cast initially, "I wanted to cast actors who resemble the real people. But at the same time, I wanted fabulous actors to portray the characters. And casting was really lengthy but I am happy that fine actors like Atul Kulkarni, Divya Dutta are part of my film. Unfortunately, Gul Makai is late Om Puri ji's last film."

The initial lead chosen had to back out left due to harsh opposition.

"Earlier, a Bangladeshi girl named Fatima was selected for the role. But then Muslim extremists stoned and vandalised her home. She backed out. Then, fortunately, we got Reem Shaikh who got into Malala's skin so well that I forgot her real name and existence. She went through a rigorous workshop where her accent and mannerisms got corrected," he shared.

When asked why he didn't go for Pakistani actors he responded, "At that time both the countries were going through tensed moments, and Pakistani performers were being banned from our country. I have no regrets on casting Reem though. She did her job fabulously."

Actor Reem Shaikh will star as Malala. The movie also features Divya Dutta, Pankaj Tripathi, Atul Kulkarni and Mukesh Rishi in pivotal roles.

Have more to add to the story? Comment below and stay tuned for more!