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Gul Makai based on the life of Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, releases on Jan 31st. This should be a must watch with your kids.
A 15 year old Malala was shot by the Taliban for daring to demand that girls be allowed to go to school. In a world where religious fascism is increasing, the movie is a reminder of what is truly important.
“The extremists have shown what frightens them most – a girl with a book,” so tweeted Malala Yousafzai in 2018, after terrorists burnt down 12 schools, at least half of which were girls-only schools, in Pakistan’s Gilgit-Baltistan’s Diamer district. Of course, this came much later. By the time this happened, Malala was already a Nobel Prize winner (the youngest winner so far!). Her story of courage and determination is already well-known, and now it is coming to a screen near you.
Gul Makai, a movie based on her life, releases on the 31st of January. The film has been directed by HE Amjad Khan and produced by Sanjay Singla. It is presented by Jayantilal Gada and Tekno Films. Actor Reem Shaikh stars as Malala. The movie also features Divya Dutta, as her mother, and Atul Kulkarni as her father. Pankaj Tripathi, Mukesh Rishi and the late Om Puri also star in pivotal roles.
The filmmaker and his team worked for nearly four years to research and script the movie. While they were not able to get permission from Malala before they made the movie, they did screen it for her and her parents after completing it. “They all think that the film is a true depiction of the tragedy she has braved. The one thing that sticks with me after she saw the film was when she said ‘I feel bad looking at it as it makes me recall the tragedy'” the director is quoted as saying.
The film was also screened in London, for 450 dignitaries from across the world, including members of the UN and IIMSAM (Intergovernmental Institution for the use of Micro-algae Spirulina Against Malnutrition). Members of the Indian, Pakistani and British High Commissions were also reported to have been among the invitees, along with Malala and her parents Ziauddin Yousafzai and Toor Pekai. Another screening of the film is slated to be hosted in mid-February at the UN Headquarters in New York.
Unfortunately, the film will not be released in Pakistan, which is Malala’s home country. However, in India, the film has received an U/A certificate, which means that even children can watch the movie, with adult guidance.
“Gul Makai is rated as U/A which clearly conveys that it’s a family film and it will gives a strong message to everyone. It’s a remarkable tale of Ziauddin Yousafzai family who trained and encouraged his daughter (Malala Yousafzai) to write and attend the school,” the director said. “As the censor board too has supported and they believe that such important stories with message should be shown on big canvas. It will showcase the hardship Malala Yousafzai had faced to achieve the equal right for education. It’s not just a film it’s a message, an example of bravery and heroism,” he added.
Truly, Malala’s story is an inspiration. In times when religious dogma and fascism are making their presence felt increasingly, around the world, her story is a reminder that we must take a stand for our rights.
As adults, we want that the next generation has role models to look up to. Malala Yousafzai is one such person who is proof that there is no age for standing up for what one believes in. We always speak of the effect that movies have on children. Here is the chance to make a positive difference.
So take your children to the theaters today. Watch the movie together. Have conversations with them about what they’ve learnt from the movie and about their rights and duties as citizens. This is how we create active and aware future citizens.
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