It’s wonderful to have a clear out – except mine is an on-going process! Flicking through a stack of publicity material (invitations, postcards, leaflets sent to me over the years) I unearthed a beautiful leaflet of a film directed by Nasser Aslam. Funded by the Arts Council of England and released in 1994, the film still holds vivid and evocative imagery. “What good is the Myth if Man is not good enough” read the publicity material – turning it over revealed a wonderful cinematic image of the film “Iqbal” with a by-line “Two or Three Things I Know About Him”
Shot in black & white, the film centred on Allama Iqbal, who is attributed with the creation of Pakistan. The film is a journey into the last days of Iqbal and his decline into insanity. A profound piece of work and way ahead of his time, Nasser Aslam’s film suffered due to the lack of exposure to wider audiences in Britain. Perhaps if it were released today, Nasser Aslam and his team would receive an all together different and far more positive response to this remarkable short film. Artistic, imaginative and thoroughly inclusive, the film brought to the viewer the final days of Iqbal, questioning the creation of Pakistan.
It maybe an idea for the Arts Council to release all the short films they have commissioned over the years on DVD – or least have the work available as part of an archive open to the public, charging a small fee for viewing – that way such amazing and artistic work need not die and be consigned to oblivion before their time.
Extract of Poems by Iqbal:
“Since love first made the breast an instrument
of fierce lamenting, by its flame my heart
was molten to a mirror, like a rose
I pluck my breast apart, that I may hang
this mirror in your sight
Gaze you therein.”
“Look upon my simplicity and see that I desire only you”
“Reach such heights with your deeds and actions that God himself will come to you to ask “tell me what it is that you desire”
For more information on Nasser Aslam go to BFI.org