Darya Kay Iss Paar wins big at the World Film Festival in New York

The film follows a young woman's descent into depression and other mental illnesses because of those around her and it lead her to committing suicide.

By Aliya Zuberi

KARACHI: An Urdu short movie Darya Kay Iss Paar picked up three awards at the World Film Festival in New York. The managed to bag the best director, best actress, and best story idea awards at the festival while competing with 96 other films.

The 30 minute short film follows a young woman from Chitral called Gul Zareen, whose mental health deteriorates over the years and results in her suicide by jumping off a bridge. The film chronicles her mental health issues and how those issues worsened because of the people around her. The short movie, Darya Kay Iss Paar aimed to and successfully managed to highlight all those factors that push women to their breaking points which leave them preferring death as a means to be at peace.


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The film’s writers Shoaib Sultan, Mir Hamza and Syed Tayyib Raza set out to bring awareness to the issues that women have to face and how distressed they can end up being. Gul Zareen played by Hiba Aziz, the main character of the film, had her onset of mental health issues in her teenage years which then became increasingly worse as she grew up and got married. She had to suffer mental and physical abuse at the hands of male family members including her husband and with no one to turn to for help, she ends up committing suicide.

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Social activist and producer Nighat Akbar Shah belongs to the Garam Chasma Valley of Chitral and wanted to use film media as a channel to create an awareness about the all those problems women face which contribute to the rising number of suicides. The team involved in the writing, directing and production of the film had all spent time in the picturesque Garam Chasma Valley doing their research for the movie to ensure that they understood the ground realities of the women living there.

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