This is the strong comment made at the end of Ab Buss, a short film starring Sanam Saeed, depicting the emotional instability sparked by a woman’s recent rape on the Lahore-Sialkot highway. Yet since the tragic attack, more more comments have been made time and again.
short film Directed by Ali Hussain and Mahib Bukhari, the film follows the storey of a woman planning to embark on a long journey with her daughter, arming herself with drastic steps.
As protesters marched out in protest of the remarks and the act of rape and in defence of the victim, carrying placards filled with hard-hitting messages, there were incessant media debates.
However, often a visual tale will help bring the point home, offering you goosebumps with a storyline that advocates change.
Ab Buss, released on the See Prime channel on YouTube, is a short and easy tale, told in less than 10 minutes and kept together with the help of suspense and some very fine acting.
“It’s a film written really smartly; plain, impactful, with a punchline right at the end,” Sanam says. “That’s the magic of short films; their power lies in dynamically and clearly transmitting a message,” she says, adding that the filming took just half a day.
“Actually, even when a short film is well done, you wish it could be a little longer.”
As an artist, does it also bother her when a project she is proud of is not available to a mainstream audience via TV and can only be viewed on the Internet instead?
Yeah, it’s frustrating because I agree that such programming should be made accessible to mainstream markets, giving a wider viewpoint on what viewers see on their TV screens every day. At the same time, the internet has allowed a wide, international audience to see the film.
How was working on the internet different from that?
“This makes for a higher artistic licence; there is no red tape, no politics, and there is a broader variety of subjects to deal with.”
Does this particular discussion focus on how a woman feels unsafe to travel alone, particularly with Sanam as a woman, ring true?
I still believe there is a sense of vulnerability, but for most women, including myself, taking care has become second nature. I was lucky; I have never been tracked or threatened and I like to drive alone at night, but I will still unintentionally pick a road with more traffic or local police or rangers. If possible, I would take a longer route and I wouldn’t be loitering on the road alone. You’d have convenient access to my car key and house keys.
“Such precautions, she adds, are not limited to Pakistan.” I wouldn’t like to ride the train in the US late at night or go on a late night walk in the UK. Anywhere in the world where they may become victims of predatory behaviour, women feel vulnerable.
All the more ground for the rhetoric about building a better world for women to be continually moved forward. A short film broadcast on mainstream TV, with solid, crisp narration, could assist with this.