Zinda Bhaag wins four awards in Toronto festival

Toronto: Pakistani film Zinda Bhaag has won four major awards at the the Mosaic 2013 (MISSAF) festival in Toronto.

The festival is Canada’s largest South Asian event and includes a music and film festival featuring some of the top names from the region. Among the contenders this year were Meera Nair’s adaptation of Mohsin Hamid’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist.

Zinda Bhaag, produced by Mazhar Zaidi and written and directed by Meenu Gaur and Farjad Nabi, won the prestigious best film award. Amna Ilyas bagged the best actress award and veteran Naghma Begum the best supporting actress for their roles in the film, that also features the Indian icon Nasiruddin Shah. Sahir Ali Bagga won the award for the best music/soundtrack for his work.

Speaking to The News, writer and director Meenu Gaur said the team back home was “hugely excited by news of this wonderful achievement”.

Producer Mazhar Zaidi, who is currently in Canada, was present at the opening night screening and conveyed the overwhelming response to the film to the team in Pakistan. She said that just as encouraging as the awards was the encouraging response from the Canadian audience that gave the film a rousing reception and “managed to grasp most of the nuances of the dialogues and situations”. She added that she had received innumerable calls and congratulatory messages from people in Canada since the screening.

Zinda Bhaag, a gritty story about three young lower middle class friends set in a Lahore mohallah, is due for release in Pakistan on September 6.