Indian filmmaker Alankrita Shrivastava is set to direct a movie based on model and social media star Qandeel Baloch, who was murdered in the name of honour six years ago.
The upcoming project will be made alongside producers Vikas Sharma of Toba Tek Singh, Sunny Khanna of Why Cheat India. According to Variety, the filmmaker and the producers have acquired the rights to the book The Sensational Life and Death of Qandeel Baloch by Sanam Maher.
Shrivastava, who is also known for her Netflix series Bombay Begums, told Variety that when Baloch, whose real name is Fouzia Azeem, was murdered in 2016, she was “shaken up”.
“It was a heinous honor killing. I couldn’t stop thinking about her. I started watching Qandeel’s videos repeatedly, and I was fascinated. She was so charming and full of life. A poor girl from a small village, who worked her way up to being provocatively famous. She was just 26 when she was killed. And ironically, it’s only after her death that she has been reclaimed as a feminist,” she said.
Shrivastava also said that she sees this film “as an ode to the courageous spirit of Qandeel Baloch” and that it will show her rise to fame. “I hope to piece together the memories of the rebellious, funny and vulnerable young girl, whose life was cut short because she shimmered too bright. The film will celebrate her spunk and lust for life by telling her story without judgment, hopefully the way she would have liked to tell it,” explained the filmmaker.
The producer of Qarib Qarib Singlle, Sharma also told the publication that Baloch’s story needs to be told “by a sensitive filmmaker who is passionate about women’s stories” and that Shrivastava is exactly that. “[It’s] not just because she is an award-winning feminist filmmaker, but because she has so much empathy for her characters. She tells their stories with candor and warmth,” he said.
For Khanna, “Qandeel Baloch’s story is important and relevant,” due to the fact that even today women often continue to be at risk when they “dare to express their individuality and challenge the status quo”. The Indian film producer believes the world needs to watch stories like this.
More details, including the cast and release date, haven’t been revealed yet.
Baloch was murdered in July 2016 by her own brother, who as of recent was acquitted by the Lahore High Court. She was 26-years-old when she became famous for her posts that were deemed suggestive and immoral by many in the country.