It all started to bridge a gap between knowledge and ignorance, knowing and the unknown; bending the paths of people on the right path, giving them the best advice they could possibly get. As Islam was spreading in the last century, people resorted to saints for guidance which they happily gave; it was immensely beneficial till it was related from the Quran. The researchers and the historians can’t trace where we lost it and how we deviated from that simple activity of guiding the misguided to the so called “Peers” that reside among us, flourish among us, the people who took great advantage of the malleability and adaptability of human beings, shaped them into the freaks today who are okay with the fact that they place the lives of their children in these so called saints.
This sacred activity of guiding was taken off road to the valley of immorality and irreligiosity by desperate quacks and opportunists who didn’t care what the religion was used for, who were ignorant of the teachings, yet they succeeded in putting a cloak of saints and started using people for their miserable situations. One great fact about Pakistan, which cannot be denied, whatsoever the case might be: We are truly, madly, deeply in love with the tortoise’s pace when it comes to societal and scientific advancements. Our blind faith in saints and not having the courage to question got us cursed with these pseudo saints, who in the name of religion are creating an aura of immorality and brutality. The Peers are visited by a majority of people, from all sects and creeds, with the sole motive that “Peer Sahib” has this sacred tool box which can fix each and every problem I have. This is the problem with our society.
We began this degree not with a mindset of just completing it and then framing the degree on the wall, it was started so that we can learn how to be an agent of change and how to employ this powerful blessing of media that we have, to propagate change in our society. We intend to make a short film about the culture of Peer Fakirs in Pakistan and how they are maligning the societal values we have. The story of a 16 years old youngster, who is suffering from a dissociative identity disorder which is a sort of psychological disorder; her mother takes her to the Peer sahib; the peer categorizes her as been possessed by the Jinns. The Peer brutalizes the girl and not succumbing to her injuries, the girl passes away. Mental health is a taboo in Pakistan and this short film revolves and intends to break it.
The concept is to put humble effort in reclaiming the lost dignity especially of our women taken by the “fake Peers” by addressing their immorality and brutality.
Pakistan is country where different types of fake ‘peers’ have set up their businesses in the name of religion, while having no knowledge of even the basic teachings of Islam. These ‘peers’ take advantage of the illiterate women of our society and engage them in rather atrocious acts.
This short film revolves around the story of a teenage girl, who becomes a victim of a fake peer, resulting in her death, due to the lack of awareness and education of her mother.
This short film intends to use the media in the way it is meant to be used; a change bearing race car which will change and challenge the falsified norms taken up by the society. The only thing, we as students can do is to initiate an awareness drive and we intend to address it through this short film. Our biggest motive is to spread awareness among people, shred the cloak of these fake Peers and bring the truth in front of general populace. This is our humble effort for a “Naya Pakistan”. Through this short film, not even in Pakistan, but in South Asia, awareness can be generated. The film is aimed to attract international audience as well along with the national audience so that profession of media and reputation of Kinnaird College in this profession can flourish.
Need of the Project
The reason behind choosing this project is to give awareness to the people that how the fake peers are doing monstrous acts under the banner of Islam. There is a grave need for the people of Pakistan to be educated about how these peers trap the people, specifically women, and brainwash them into doing whatever they like. These women become the easy victims of these peers, sometimes digging their own graves. The innocent people are just a means of earning money for these peers. Hence, it is the need of the hour to educate the people about these frauds.
Clarity of the Topic
In the Pakistani society there are different taboos related to mental health. People are hesitant to seek medical help, and prefer taking help from peers for different problems in their lives. At present times, there are hardly any ‘peers’ and ‘fakeers’ who have the proper knowledge of Islam.Nowadays, becoming a peer and trapping the innocent people for different purposes has become a proper business. These fake peers not only deceitfully steal money from the public, but also abuse and sexually harass many female victims.
Through our short film, we aim to give awareness to the people about these fake peers, and educate them about the fraud businesses they have falsely set up.
A Pakistani drama ‘Dumpukht’ (2016) aired on Aplus, is a perfect depiction of peer and fakeer culture in Pakistan. The drama shows the deep rooted belief of people in peers, and how they consider them and their ‘taweez’ (amulets), the solution of every problem in their lives. Going against the peer’s commands is something they can’t even think about. They follow the instructions of their ‘leaders’ blindly, without thinking of the consequences. The drama throughout its story portrays the existing culture of peers in Pakistan.
Sum (2016) in his article titled as ‘Rising Issue of Immoral Peers and how they are Tricking Women in Pakistan’ described these peers as frauds, who have no knowledge of the teachings and principles of Islam. They take advantage of the people in every way they can, and in most cases end up molesting, abusing and harassing the women. They are not the ones who ask the women to come to them, but it is the women who willingly go to these peers for every problem they have, no matter how big or small. The article further states, “They (peers), indeed, are running businesses through their set up shops in the name of religion, disrespecting the ‘Awlia’ and the well-learned scholars of Islam in the past.”Zuberi (2011) in his blog ‘Pir, Fakirs and Other Freaks’ while describing how a fake peer traps his victims, writes that, “They grasp at ideas of cosmic consciousness, use lofty language, claim knowledge of esoteric secrets, prostituting their powerful clasp over the ‘unknown’ through dramatically staged displays of expertise, attracting a sizable clientele from the most beleaguered sect of social order.”Waqas (2018) in his article ‘Peers of Today’s World’ depicts how the fake peers tell the people that they will resolve all their problems and falsely claim that they can interact with jinns and saints. For all of this ‘work’ they demand a lot of money, and slowly make clients for a lifetime. While stating the reason of people becoming a source of income for these peers, the author states that, “Today’s human is exhausted because of several issues. Because of busy schedules and disappointing society, people seek a way which could happen in just a night; they want immediate solutions for their day to day problems.”
Sana (2014), a Pakistani citizen, while telling her story on Aplus told how after her marriage she started having anxiety and depression due to certain misunderstandings with her husband. Instead of taking her to a psychiatrist, her husband took her to a peer. The peer told the husband that eighty jinns have possessed her. The peer started to burn Sana by putting hot knives on her arms and legs. While she shouted, the peer told the husband that it was not her shouting, but the jinns possessing her. She further added how four to five men, including her husband used to grab her and sometimes even sit on her so she could not escape. Later, the peer started to demand sexual favors from her by threatening her with hot knives.
Significance of the Study
This project has a lot of significance for the eradication and rectification of erroneous norms that have seeped well enough in our society and gained their importance till date. This film is intended for raising concerns and being a voice against these freaks who are bombarding hard on our cultural and moral values. There is a great need to question the status quo, challenge the practices that are destroying the societal baseline of our community.
This short film is intended to display the power of media, what change media can bring, and how it is one of the most essential and vital tools for change. What good is project that doesn’t intend to solve a big problem; this project spells out our humble efforts in employing media as a tool for propagating change in the society.
Raising questions and concerns is still difficult besides being in the fast era of media advancement. Exposing and challenging the erroneous activities and norms of our societal block is still considered taboo. We want to break that and raise the concerns we have, being women, being a part of this society. This film is aimed to divert the attention of people towards societal and scientific advancements so that they can change their behavior and stop going to the Peers for every little thing they get.
This is not about masking off the menaces of our society; it is about changing mindsets, changing thoughts. Our aim is to change thoughts, change attitudes, the actions will change automatically.
The approach of our project is to give awareness to the people about different kinds of problems existing in the Pakistani society. This short film will consist of a story, which will educate the viewers about various phenomena, including mental health and fraud businesses. It aims to make people vigilant enough to not trust everyone, at least not with their lives. This film will provide an incentive among people to take mental health seriously, trust their family and listen to them and stay clear of the scams and frauds in our society.
The medium selected to convey our message, is short film. A short film is a fictional piece of drama, which basically showcases fictional stories. Similarly, this short film revolves around a fictional story of a girl who becomes a victim of a fake peer, due to negligence of her mother.
There are specific benchmarks which are meant to be obtained through the completion of this project. This project is aimed at refining the skills we have learnt in this degree and employ those skills in being the agents of change through appropriate use of media. We intend to generate awareness through this project, being the voice of many people who have been struck by the lightning of the fake Peers. The objective of this project is also to direct the attention of the influential lot of this country to spend their services on the eradication of these menaces from our society. This is what true role of media is, and we want to employ media in the best of ways.
The target audience of this short film is the overall population of Pakistan from the age group of 15 and above.
The demographic target of this film is both genders; male and female, belonging to the age group of 15 and above. The geographical target is the population of Pakistan and India. Moreover, we will add English subtitles in the film as well, for more and more people to watch it all over the world.
The short film aims to target the people who have superstitious beliefs and have a strong faith in peers and fakeers. It targets people belonging from all the social classes, whether literate or illiterate, because the problems shown in the film, are the ones which exist in all the classes of people.
This short film aims to educate the people about how these peers not always have their best interests at heart, so that they don’t blindly follow and believe in them. Moreover, the film will shed a light on the importance of mental health and certain taboos associated with it.
Shots/ Camera Angles
Keeping in mind that it is a short film, various types of camera angles and shots will be taken to give it a cinematic composition. Establishing shots will be taken to identify different locations. For shooting the scenes, three cameras will be placed, to shoot the long shot and over the shoulder shots of the actors respectively. Other types of shots in the film will include panning, medium shot, close-up shot, extreme close-up shot, wide angle shot, tilt up and tilt down.
Since there are different locations and different types of scenes, both natural lighting and artificial lighting will be used. To add depth and dramatic effect to certain scenes, a very dim light will be used. For different scenes which will be shot indoors, flickers will be used.
Locations of Shots
The decision of areas in which the film will be shot is an extremely delicate and important task. The location gives half of the idea, as what the writer and the film in specific wants to convey. We have done some serious brainstorming in highlighting the areas which will be appropriate for the story; we have been sauntering around in pursuit of appropriate locations which will highlight the ideas we want to convey through our short film. The initial phase will be shot primarily in Mughal Pura, Garhi Shahu and Baghban Pura. The story of the girl which is meant to be portrayed will be shown here; there are some areas within these selected areas which are very appropriate to portray the under privileged lifestyle of the girl and her family.
These parts will then be connected to a whole new location in which the Peer will be shown conducting his activities and for that we have chosen an area of Kasur. Kasur is also selected because the drive from Lahore to Kasur holds marvelous shots of both rural and urban sites which will be ideal for the short film.
For some time now, we have been indulging in great brainstorming regarding different parts of the project. We are well-aware of the fact that being resourceful is extremely vital in the pre-production phase. We have spelled out the tasks in detail so that there is no ambiguity in the later stages or during the start of the project. As we intend to carry on with more professional work after this, we are planning to sideline some equipment of our own so that we have resources at our disposal at any time.
We have also made most of our contact list and underlined appropriate actors and other people who can be of benefit to us in the film. We have also underlined the activities and intend to make a detailed Gantt chart so that we stay on track with time and activities.
The production phase demands that everything be in order, for the commencement of the project. We intend to cover the first month’s work before the project starts. We believe that our skills need more refinement to carry out the project by ourselves so we will give the steering wheel to a professional director who will guide us through the technical phase and help us implement our knowledge to the job.
The production phase also demands effective use of resources which we intent to achieve by using our equipment well enough and staying on time for the coming work. We also intend to keep notes of all the activities so that every scene we shoot; and the activities are monitored to branch out any discrepancies.
Post Production Co-ordination
Post production phase can be categorized as refining the raw material for appropriate use. It is like getting all the raw material for the dish and then combing them to great a delicacy on the table for dinner. Editing is a major part of post-production phase, we intend to use our skills for editing and learn new things on the way. Incorporation of scenes and voice overs where needed, is going to be one of the major tasks in this phase. Editing demands a lot of time and effort so we will keep this phase restricted on time so that the project can be timely delivered for submission.