Sarmad Khoosat unveils ‘Manduva’, a curation on Pakistani cinema

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Kamli director-producer Sarmad Khoosat has unveiled his recent curated project, titled Manduva, on his Instagram. The curation, in collaboration with the Lahore Biennale Foundation and British Council Pakistan, aims to highlight the history of Pakistani cinema. The curation was launched at the National College of Arts (NCA) yesterday.

Manduva is an exploration of seven and a half decades of Pakistani cinema. An attempt to initiate archiving and reading of our very indigenous cinematic syntax. We have loved and owned it sometimes but also hated and abandoned it intermittently. It’s our heritage and let’s reclaim it, to inspect, dissect and interpret,” Khoosat wrote, introducing the curation to his followers.

Speaking to The Express Tribune over a phone conversation, Khoosat explained the curation in more depth, saying “This is primarily for the Lahore Biennale Foundation’s Virtual Museum, which has several components. My component is cinema, and I’m calling it Manduva.”

Explaining his thought process behind naming the curation, the Manto actor said, “Manduva is the Punjabi word for cinema. And it’s not only for cinema per se, as in, what you see on screen, but the whole experience of cinema. A cinema house can also be called a manduva, for instance.”

“The inspiration or, you could say, the ethos of it is how back in the day, people used to also do these touring theatres, touring movies. There was another interesting Punjabi word called tourentaaqi, which is again, a kind of twisted or mispronounced version of touring talkies. So as opposed to cinema being just a space where you have to go and then watch stuff, that space can come to you too, like in a tent which just a projector and speakers,” he continued.

The trailblazing director has curated three components within his section on cinema, which is then broadly called Manduva. Shedding light on each of the three components, Khoosat said, “There are three parts to it – one is a bit called Seven and a half, which are the reels created by these newer, younger filmmakers kind of sifting through decades and decades of films, looking for themes. Each filmmaker has picked one theme and then edited these montages or reels. Another is called Uncensored, which is this kid called Usman Allauddin from Beaconhouse National University (BNU), who has done an interesting thing on Zindagi Tamasha. And then there is Hamid Ali Hanbhi, who is a painter and mixed medium artist, and has done a scene depicted in a painting.”

“We don’t have many virtual museums, I don’t think. I’m assuming it’s almost like the first of its kind,” the Joyland producer concludes.

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