Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy’s new short film taps into the artistic side of Peshawar

Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy's new short film taps into the artistic side of Peshawar
Documentary filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy

The oscar winner filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, after addressing pressing social issues through the medium of films and documentaries in ‘Saving Face’ and ‘A Girl in the River’  has this time struck a lighter note.

Her latest project titled ‘Lel’ is a tribute to the immensely talented local artisans in Northern Pakistan and Afghanistan. The short film attempts to showcase the talent of these local artists, to handcraft rigid stone into a beautiful work of art; all done under minimal resources.

This art form is known as Pietra Dura and is incredibly rare throughout the world. It has been practiced in Pakistan since the Soviet invasion in Afghanistan. When Afghan refugees migrated across the border and sought refuge in Balochistan and Peshawar. They brought with themselves the traditions, skills and talent that Lel shares. Today, decades later this art form is continually thriving and is recognized for its sheer beauty, intricacy and detailings.

Lel gives these local artists the due credit and recognition they are worthy of, in a subtle and awe-inspiring manner. While viewers are left amazed into seeing how a masterpiece is carved out of stone and marble.

The complete project of Lel is co-founded by the mother-daughter duo – Farhana Asan and Mehrunissa Asad. Who have learned the skill of Pietra Dura and teach them to other workers in their team.

To create works of beauty, to preserve a centuries-old art, in extremely violent times, in perhaps one of the most insecure places in the world, is a healing experienceMeherunnisa

The 3 minute short film backed up by beautiful vocals gives a great vibe of the artistic and pleasant culture of Peshawar and the nature of our Pashtun brethren; who are so often associated with turmoil and unrest which their region is continually struck by – Lel refreshingly taps into the artistic side of city and it’s people, visualizing how vastly talented our nation really is.