Bhashaili (Adrift)


Bhashaili tells the stories of Pakistani Bengalis living in Karachi as they find love and heartbreak, dare to dream, and strive for their identity in Pakistan. The stories follow their everyday lives, capturing their pride, heritage, and hopes.



Bhashaili, the Bangla word for Adrift explores the everyday stories of Pakistani Bengalis living in Karachi, including their loves, losses and the challenges they face.

“The bustling megacity of Karachi is home to a vibrant community with deep
connections to the sea—the Pakistani Bengalis. Residing primarily in specific neighborhoods, this community enriches Karachi life with its cultural diversity.


In Bhashaili – Adrift we delve into the daily narratives and story of young and old Pakistani Bengalis. As they pursue their dreams, find love, champion justice, and confront despair resulting from their lack of recognition.

Meet Shahid, a bright and charismatic individual who has already garnered a significant following on social media. In his twenties, he has found his soulmate, Zehra, and they recently tied the knot. Together, they enjoy creating entertaining content for TikTok,
much to the chagrin of some members of their community. Shahid employs humor as a navigational tool through life’s challenges. His mission is to deliver the freshest fish to customers across affluent and underprivileged neighborhoods in Karachi. Qazi Nasir Ahmad Nizami, affectionately known as Muna Bhai, takes immense pride in his heritage and frequently finds solace in the dilapidated halls of Nazrul Academy—a government library.

Here, alongside fellow enthusiasts, he tirelessly endeavors to preserve the works and uphold the legacy of the renowned Bengali poet and activist, Qazi Nazrul Islam. Muna Bhai serves as a reminder that historical events, continue to profoundly impact the everyday lives of Pakistani Bengalis and their quest for identity recognition.

Advocate Farzana shares this sentiment vehemently, and we accompany her as she
navigates the complexities surrounding citizenship, making her way to court.
Sonya and Anwara, teenage sisters residing in the expansive urban settlement of Machar Colony, intimately understand this struggle. Their father, Nazrul Islam, a former
fisherman, has faced a lifelong battle to obtain an ID card and desires nothing more than for his daughters to thrive. The family toils diligently to ensure their education at Khel School, where the girls have discovered their passion for gymnastics. Machar Colony is perhaps the least expected place in Pakistan to find an award-winning gymnastics team. Situated by the coast, this settlement caters primarily to fishermen, and life here is arduous. We follow their journey as they tenaciously refuse to surrender their dreams for the future. ‘Bhashaili,’ the Bengali word for adrift, encapsulates the tale of a marginalized community that, amidst the ever-evolving city of Karachi, finds room to dream and aspire.”

Director & Producer        

Jawad Sharif

Produced by  

Humera Iqbal, Syeda Kashmala, Anushay Malik

Based on Research by

Dr. Humera Iqbal, Dr. Anushay Malik, Dr. Maria Rashid, &  Arooj Aurangzeb

Released year



Urdu, Bangla, English

Music videos

Bhashaili (Adrift) Documentary Film - Stills

Bhashaili (Adrift) - Behind the scenes