The Pakistani, Bollywood and British film industries come together for the first time in Pakistan’s first-ever movie to be shot in Scotland titled ‘Sacch’, releasing worldwide under the banner of HUM Films on 20th December 2019.
Produced by renowned Scottish politician and former UK Parliamentarian Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh OBE, and directed by former model and British Asian filmmaker Zulfikar Sheikh who has previously directed more than 20 hit television serials in Pakistan, Sacch marks their maiden film venture under the banner of Elysee Productions. The film is scripted by award-winning Bollywood screenwriter Kumud Chaudhry, with dialogues by the celebrated Pakistani playwright Haseena Moin, highlighting the amalgamation of the Pakistani and Indian film industries on one cinematic canvas.
Sacch features an ensemble of top talent that includes Scottish debutant actress Elysee Sheikh who performs the leading role in the film opposite Asad Zaman Khan and Humayoun Ashraf. The film also stars veterans Javed Sheikh, Nauman Masood, Uzma Gillani, Fazila Qazi, Ayesha Sana and a stellar supporting line-up including Zulfikar Sheikh and Tasmina Sheikh. The film boasts of an eclectic range of music directed by Bollywood’s Simaab Sen with talented lyricist Fatima Najeeb penning the songs. A host of popular Indian and Pakistani singers have lent their voice to the movie such as legendary Pakistani singer Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Indian singing sensation Armaan Malik, with supporting vocals by Elysee Sheikh.
The title song by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan has already created waves by stirring a deep and meaningful emotional connect between the film’s narrative and music listeners. The heart wrenching melody of the song gives glimpses of the film’s lead characters’ great pain and despair and helps to raise the audience’s anticipation for the film’s upcoming songs.
The film revolves around Shazaib who leads two lives, one based in Scotland and the other in Pakistan and how the desperation of his wife Sareena and him wanting a child leads him to kidnap his child from his first wife Shabana living in Pakistan. Shabana leaves Pakistan to track back her lost son but instead kidnaps Shazaib and Sareena’s youngest child who they finally managed to conceive. The story changes times and fast forwards 25 years in which we can see both sons falling in love with the same girl called ‘Elysee’. Through various situations and circumstances the sons eventually find out they are brothers.
Sacch is the brainchild of Director Zulfikar Sheikh, a second generation Asian born in Glasgow to Pakistani parents, who made their home in Scotland in the Fifties and Sixties. The subject matter is a portrayal of his personal creative take on British culture to include its adoption by his Asian community. Speaking about the inception of Sacch, Zulfikar Sheikh says “The film encapsulates British Culture and a way of life by virtue of the fact that it seems a natural state of being for minority communities who live and work here. Sacch is a new and fresh piece of work which I have spent several years to make, based on real life experiences coupled with my previous creative experiences.”
Sacch typifies the cultural melting pot that is Britain, showcasing the best of East and West artistic talent. A film that aims to unify the Pakistani, Indian and British culture than to divide, Sacch’s narrative reflects its producer Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh OBE’s values of community respect and dignity. Recognised as a driver and instigator for change, Tasmina was influential in appointing the first BAME Serjeant at Arms, Mohammed Hajji, in the House of Commons and the first female and BAME Speaker’s Counsel that the House had ever employed. However, since losing her seat in the 2017 General Election, Tasmina has carved out a new role for herself broadcasting with her former Parliamentary colleague, Alex Salmond. Nevertheless, this has not stopped her from fighting for causes dear to her heart particularly in contributing towards having a positive impact on public life in the UK, especially during these uncertain times.
Speaking about the importance of a cross-generational film such as Sacch, that not only entertains but inspires, Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh OBE said: ‘The characters in Sacch consider their heritage to be British which is accepted by their immediate network, in turn demonstrating how British Society embraces everyone positively.” Tasmina further says: ‘Though the film doesn’t cover any historical events it depicts scenes in churches, a Christian wedding ceremony and friends of the characters from indigenous communities.’
For Tasmina, Sacch epitomises diversity, not only from a production perspective which she helms as Producer, but the screenplay writer, dialogue writer, wardrobe head, make up head and art director are all women and the talent, ability and strength this all brought to the production was tangible. Furthermore there are strong female characterisations in the film whether it’s Elysee’s leading role in her debut movie, to the two mothers in the film demonstrating true strength as they find a way to carry on as their children are taken away but also learn to love as their own, those children who are not biologically theirs but by virtue of love and understanding.
“From covering themes of gender empowerment, cross-generational and cultural religious understandings, to atypical professions that British Asians pursue such as a DJ vis-à-vis a doctor and sensitivities surrounding disabilities such as Alzheimer’s, Sacch is an honest portrayal of the dichotomies, trials and tribulations the Asian community in the UK experience. Sacch covers a range of topics as they impact on each character’s life and intertwine as they bring together a picture of life for so many British Asian families in the UK.” adds Tasmina.
Sacch is also a great example of British filmmaking. It brings on board not just creativity of the British director but also the British Producer, British Head of Production and British female lead. All of which is apparent from locations used, extras engaged, and range and type of equipment hired from Pinewood Studios allowing the creativity to be practically delivered on screen. The British Film Institute (BFI) has even passed it as qualifying as a film depicting the culture and heritage of Asians living in the UK.
Get ready to witness the heart-warming love saga of Sacch which will take you through an emotional rollercoaster ride.
Sacch is set to release worldwide through HUM Films on the 20th of December 2019.