Good news for Pakistani women after Sharmeen’s Oscar

Good news for Pakistani women after Sharmeen’s Oscar

Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, the name has been evolved again in the history of film industry. Image Courtesy –

Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, the name has been evolved again in the history of film industry with winning the Oscar Award for 2016 for “A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness”. She made her name in the headlines of the top newpapers of Pakistan as well as in the world. People of Pakistan are really feeling proud for this talented filmmaker who has won the Oscar Award for the 2nd time in her career.

Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, a Pakistani journalist, filmmaker and activist, born at Karachi in Pakistan on 12th November, 1978. She completed her schooling at Karachi Grammar School and after that she did graduation in mass communication at Stanford University in California. Later she started her career as a filmmaker. Her first film was “Terror’s Children”.

This award winning film deals with the frequency of ‘honour killings’ in Pakistan. She has depicted a major issue through her film that more than 1000 Pakistani women die every year due to ‘honour killings’, with culprits being male relatives primarily. The film has a strong story of an 18-year-old woman, named Saba Qaiser, who was assaulted by her dad for getting married without their permission. She was shot by her relatives to retrieve their family honour and thrown into a river. Qaiser survived miraculously and figured out how to discover her approach to offer assistance.

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The issue of ‘honour killings’ is not a widely discussed subject in Pakistan. Because, in most of the cases, the crime reports are unavailable and victims remain unrevealed. So, as a journalist and activist, Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy selected the subject for her latest film. Sharmeen highlighted the capacity of silver screen in realizing social change in her award acknowledgement speech. She expressed gratitude toward her film’s hero, makers and the people who wanted women to come up in the society. She also told that this situation would come when determined women would join hands together.

In spite of Qaiser squeezing charges against the culprits, she was eventually compelled to pardon them because of societal weights and a law that permits relatives to overlook the ‘honour killings’.

Sharmeen won an Oscar in the year 2012 for making another short documentary on acid attacks in Pakistan. It is similarly a brutal act on women where “shamed relatives” or “rejected lovers” throw acid to their female victims to mutilate their good-looking face. This issue is also a burning issue in Pakistan which Sharmeen depicted in her film. Not only in Pakistan, Indian females are also facing the same problem in the male dominated society.

Ruqqaiya Perween at the Burns Centre in Karachi, after an acid attack that left scars on 22 percent of her face and upper body. Credit: Zofeen Ebrahim/IPS. Image Courtesy –

In her award winning speech, Sharmeen mentioned the recent decision of Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to change the law on honour killings after the film got an Oscar nomination. She considered the event as the power of film. The journalist-cum-filmmaker told that her film’s accomplishment was there to open a dialogue around honour killings in Pakistan, where the issue remained private issue for years.

Prior to the Oscars, she tweeted that irrespective of winning the award, they ought to be glad because they have begun a national dialogue about honour killings. They would also be pleased that the administration has recognized the issue and has been working on resilient enactment.

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Shalini Gupta

About Shalini Gupta

Shalini Gupta is a teacher at New Delhi with multifarious talents. She has passion for reading, writing, drawing, sketching etc. simultaneously with her teaching job. presently she is writing for Bigumbrella.

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One Comment on “Good news for Pakistani women after Sharmeen’s Oscar”

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