Amjad Khan, director of Malala Yousafzai’s biopic Gul Makai has revealed that he is still receiving death threats from fundamentalist groups, ahead of the film’s release on January 31.
“I never thought of backing out. I was worried about my artists’ security on set during the shooting in Kashmir. On the first day, I thought of terrorist alignments with the locals but I was wrong. Kashmiri people are more patriotic than us. I still receive threat mails from unknown IDs,” said Amjad while talking to Express Tribune.
The director added that the making of the film itself has been a hard task and he had to go through a lengthy casting process to find the right people. In the initial stages, a Bangladeshi teenager Fatima who was supposed to play Malala had to back out due to security reasons.
“Extremists stoned and vandalised her home. She backed out. Then, fortunately, we got Reem Shaikh, who got into Malala’s skin so well that I forgot her real name and existence,” told Amjad.
Gul Makai mostly portrays Indian actors as Amjad could not get hold of Pakistani artists due to the conflicts between the two countries. However he stated that he does not have any regrets and got the best talent.
“I wanted to cast actors who resemble the real people. But at the same time, I wanted fabulous actors to portray the characters. And casting was really lengthy but I am happy that fine actors like Atul Kulkarni, Divya Dutta are part of my film. Unfortunately, Gul Makai is the late Om Puri ji’s last film,” the director said.
Despite the obstacles, Amjad is contended that the film will see daylight by the end of this month. Earlier a screening of the film was held in London last year by UN. Malala and her father both attended the event.
“It was overwhelming to see the biggies giving it a standing ovation. They liked it so much that even during the interval, no one left his or her seat. Each and every woman was crying,” recalled Amjad.
He added, “Even though Malala’s father was watching the film for the second time, he couldn’t console himself. He said, ‘You made our nightmares come alive again’.”
Talking about the film, the director said, “At present, people need inspirations, especially women. This film is all about being courageous and determined during the worst situations. Every person can relate to it.”