Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Besides being a faculty in the Media and communication department, Ms. Fokiya Akhtar is also a passionate and dedicated filmmaker. She has made more than 20-odd documentaries, also primed current affair programs, game shows, live shows and discussion boards.

Here’s a tête-à-tête with Ms. Fokiya Akhtar, director, scriptwriter and research analyst for her latest 25-minute documentary “All Alone and Lonely”.

Q: How did the idea of making this documentary- “All Alone and Lonely” come about?

FA: Being a passionate filmmaker, I constantly toss with a variety of ideas. This particular idea came about when I was in Kashmir. I had gone to this orphanage to give charity, when I came across these orphan boys playing, I felt sad for them as I realized there wasn’t anyone to voice their thoughts, and emotions. So, I went forward to make this documentary, in order to create awareness on widows and orphans and their sufferings.

Q: How long did the documentary take to complete?

FA: I started my research in the year 2005. It took time meeting officials from NGO’s, orphanages as well as interviewing widows and orphans. The script was written in 2006, while the shooting was completed in 2007. But if I have to be precise, during each year only 2 months in Kashmir were dedicated to making this documentary, making a total of six months.

Q: Were there any hardships/challenges you faced while making this documentary?

FA: Yes, many times I was found faced with a challenge. It was not easy making friends with the orphans, as I found it very difficult talking and getting to know these small boys and girls, as they are at an emotional level and when they see someone has come to meet them they are filled with hope as they see a saviour in that person. When I left, it really hurt me because they saw that person in me.

Q: How many widowed women and displaced children did you meet?

FA: I must have met a total of 550 widowed women and 850 orphans in Srinagar, Dardpora in Kupwara District and Ganderdal altogether.

Q: Would you be making a follow up on this documentary, as we have an audience who wish to know what happens to the children?

FA: I might, this is just the beginning. I was thinking of going a little deeper into the problem and bring out who is responsible for making them orphans in the first place. There is more to it than just blaming each other. The leadership and Society needs to address the issue and make sure that we don’t see the number of orphans increasing in the valley.

Q: Among all your documentaries, which one would you consider your best?

FA: Honestly, “ All Alone and Lonely” would be the one, as it is close to my heart. I have worked very hard for it. Being a Kashmiri, myself I was emotionally attached to it. I was also very passionately involved, as I understood the psyche of the people. Also, my Ostrich film, because at that point nobody was there to help me, it was practically a 3-man show with my husband, my daughter and me. So, considering the circumstances, I think the product of the documentary was my best.

Q: Have you planned any upcoming documentaries or films?

FA: Of course, I am an ardent filmmaker. Currently, I am thinking of doing a documentary on the Multi-culturism in Dubai, how people of different nationalities relate to each other, how they live away from their homes. My dream is to make a movie, preferably in Bollywood. I have written the script for it, but it lacks finance, but I am working on it. We take this opportunity to wish Ms. Fokiya Akhtar, Good Luck with her future projects.

by Megna Kalvani


Alifia said...

I found this blog particularly useful since I'm doing some research on Documentary-making by different people for an article that I'm penning.
Thank you.