Indian filmmaker Rahat Kazmi’s film “Lihaaf,” which premiered in July at the 16th Indian Film Festival Stuttgart in Germany, has added one more feather in its cap. The film, which had its U.S. premiere at the Montgomery International Film Festival last month, also won a special honor award.
A period drama, the film is based on Ismat Chughtai’s most celebrated story “Lihaaf” (published in 1942). The film weaves the plot of a same-sex relationship between a Muslim woman and her masseuse.
The story is told from the point of view of a small girl (played by Anushka Sen) who The lonely Begum starts to wither but is saved by Rabbo, her masseuse.
Rabbo is a servant girl who is not so pretty but very deft with her hands. When the narrator is left at Begum Jaan’s place by her mother, she realizes that despite her admiration for Begum Jaan, there lie many secrets with her.
At night, the great shadows formed by the quilt of Begum Jaan and her odd behavior in the absence of Rabbo bring to light their hidden relationship, traumatizing the narrator.
The film stars Tannishtha Chatterjee who has played the role of Ismat Chughtai, Anushka Sen as younger Ismat, Sonal Sehgal as Begum Jaan, Shoib Nikash Shah as Manto, Mir Sarwar as Nawab and Namita Lal as Rabbo.
Kashmir-based actor Mir Sarwar who came into limelight after playing main antagonist in “Kesari” is playing the nawab (male antagonist) while Nikash Shah plays the character of Manto in the film whereas veteran actor Virendra Saxen will be seen as famous urdu writer M. Aslam.
The film is co-written by Kazmi and Sonal Sehgal, and produced by Kazmi, Tariq Khan, Zeba Sajid, Namita Lal, Umesh Shukla, and Ashish Wagh and co-produced by Oscar-winner Marc Baschet and Cedomir Kolar.