Kiron Kher, Aamir Ali Malik, Arshad Mahmood
Sabiha Sumar’s insightful debut deftly explores the intimate drama of a woman struggling to survive in troubled times.
Set in 1979 Pakistan near the Indian border – just prior to ex-President Bhutto’s assassination, and as General Zia is beginning his programme of Islamisation – widow Ayesha (Kirron Kher – winner, Best Actress Locarno 2003), lives with her beloved son Saleem (Aamir Malik).
Like a lot of teenagers, Saleem is content but easily bored; he’s also madly in love with local girl Zubeida. But when two young Islamists move into the village, he finds himself attracted to their fundamentalist fervour, shattering family tranquility. Events escalate with the arrival of Sikh pilgrims from over the border and conflicts, past and present, are brought to a head.
A rare cinematic exploration of the political evolution of Pakistan, Silent Waters investigates the fragility of contemporary women’s rights and the personal traumas afforded by violent fundamentalism. Winner of the Golden Leopard for Best Film at Locarno Film Festival in 2003.