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Raza Rumi hosts film premiere

2016/02/09

The Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival will host its kick-off event with a one-time only screening of the internationally acclaimed hit feature narrative film SHAH (Pakistan, 2015). The screening is Sunday February 21 at 4:30 p.m. at Cinemapolis.

The first 50 people to arrive at the screening will be treated with free admission to this very special international event. SHAH trailer (in Urdu) here. The FLEFF screening will have English subtitles.

Adnan Sarwar, the film’s producer, director, screenwriter, actor, and composer, will be present at the screening.  Raza Rumi, City of Asylum Writer in Residence for the Ithaca College Honors Program, will moderate the post-screening discussion.

SHAH is a 2015 Pakistani biographical sports film based on the life of boxer Hussain Shah who won the bronze medal at 1988 Summer Olympics. He was the only boxer in Pakistan’s history to secure an Olympic medal in that sport.

The film stars Adnan Sarwar in the role of Hussain Shah. Sarwar trained for the role of the homeless boxer by undergoing a six month-long boxing training regime, where he lost 10 kilos of body weight to prepare for the role. The film cast also features Kiran Chaudhary, Sardar Baloch, Adeel Raees and Gulab Chandio.

Despite being produced as an independent film on a shoestring budget by a team of five people, SHAH has been hailed as “not only an achievement for Adnan Sarwar but for the whole Pakistani film industry. “ Sarwar was praised by critics for his portrayal of the Lyari born Pakistani boxing legend.

Adnan Sarwar (born in Lahore, Pakistan) is an actor, director, musician, screenwriter, and producer. Sarwar started his music career as a session guitar player for various Pakistani musicians such as The Trip, Mekaal Hasan Band, and Ali Zafar before forming the duo Club Caramel with singer Kiran Chaudhry in 2006.  He composed the soundtrack of his debut film SHAH.

The critically acclaimed independent Pakistani feature film SHAH is based on the true story of Olympian boxer Syed Hussain Shah. Hussain Shah started his life as a homeless child on the streets of Karachi and went on to become the 1st South Asian to win an Olympic Medal in Boxing at the 1988 Seoul Olympics. Soon after his Olympic success, Hussain Shah was forgotten by the people of Pakistan and fell back into the life of poverty where he started his life and ended as a homeless construction worker before being given one last chance for glory.  A story of triumph against all odds, SHAH was released to widespread acclaim in Pakistan on Independence Day 2015 becoming one of the biggest cinematic hits of the year.

Sarwar has commented on his acting method:  “I lived and breathed boxing. I had to go through functional resistance training and running in the morning and boxing drills in the evening with very little intake of food. It was tough.” The film production took place in Pakistan, United Kingdom and Japan.  The production team raised Rs. 2 million, saying “We’ve raised that 2 million and are going to give it to him because that’s a debt we owe him as a nation.” Sarwar has also set up a boxing scholarship for Lyari’s street kids, who are part of the film’s cast.

FLEFF’s 2016 festival kick-off event is also supported by the Honors Program at Ithaca College and the Keshishoglou Center for Global Communications Innovation in the Roy H. Park School of Communications.

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