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The woman journalists in Pakistan are few, yet bold, infused with initiative, courage and will to face the cruel world around and report about miseries and cries of the poor and the ones being wronged by the rich and powerful. All have withstood the pressures and gained acclaim both home and abroad.
Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy is one such bold journalist, filmmaker and documentarian, who has not only written many articles about Pakistan and many other countries of Africa and the Muslim world about the plight of women, children and the refugees, but has also used her talent in filmmaking to show to the world the destructive and heinous face of crime, especially when it comes to acid throwing on helpless women in countries, including Pakistan. And it is one of this effort of hers in the form of 52 minutes long documentary ‘Saving Face’ that has won her and her country Pakistan the first ever Oscar award at the 84 Academy Awards ceremony held on 26 February 2012. The beaming and jubilant Sharmeen raised her Oscar award and dedicated it to the women of Pakistan amid loud roar of applause by the audience. The film has been co-directed by American filmmaker Daniel Junge.
The film is a fine tribute to Sharmeen, who despite being a woman, dared to pick up this inhuman practice as subject for her short subject documentary ‘Saving Face’ and went to limitless end to research the issue by interviewing countless acid victims for making her documentary. It was a both sad and happy occasion that a woman of the soil wins Pakistan’s its first ever Oscar on a documentary film that is about a heinous crime committed in Pakistan. Although there are no reliable national statistics, but as per an estimate more than hundred cases are reported of people attacked with acid, majority of the victims being women. The figure could even increase if all incidents are reported and registered. The crime is generally committed against wives in the family home, by husbands or in-laws or by failed lovers. The life of the acid victims is a nightmare for the rest of their lives living with dis configured faces, burnt bodies and scars.
image from Indian Express Archives
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