Director Jawad Sharif's Statement on his film - Bhashaili (Adrift)



The focus of our film Bhashaili is the Bengali community residing in Pakistan since the partition that led to the creation of Bangladesh. Now in their fourth generation, the Pakistani Bengali community’s culture and identity are deeply rooted in Pakistan. Despite enduring struggles for citizenship and other challenges, they possess a profound sense of belonging to Pakistan—a strong connection like that of a soul to a body.

Whilst the media has covered the Pakistani Bengali community and its struggles, the human stories within this narrative have remained largely untold. Our film, “Bhashaili,” aims to rectify this by bringing onto the cinematic canvas their everyday lives, stories, struggles, hopes, and aspirations.

In my point of view, bringing these human stories to the screen is an important part of tracing the history of the Pakistani Bengali community and their place within Pakistan. Through the journeys of our characters, we witness their resilience in the face of citizenship challenges and their deliberate choices that determine the path they wish to tread in life.

Throughout the film capturing the true essence of the Pakistani Bengali community’s everyday life has been at the core of our filmmaking process. We filmed families and individuals in their homes, their neighborhoods – called Bengali paras, recreation centers, and workspaces. This honest depiction offers insight into their lives, the love stories they live, the dreams they pursue, the songs they sing, and their perspectives on Bengali culture’s famous black magic. We have made a conscious effort to present people in their unfiltered realities, capturing the essence of their real lives, and weaving a tale of diverse individuals from the Pakistani Bengali community.

This film has given me an opportunity to intimately experience the lives of the Pakistani Bengali community going beyond what is covered in mainstream media.  When we lose something, we find ways to keep a connection alive and hold it dear. Bhashaili serves as a connection and bridges the distance between the separated parts of a whole, enabling viewers to understand the depth of the human stories.

This film will serve as a silver lining for the Pakistani Bengali community by offering a genuine depiction of their lives fostering a closer bond with the people and the country, they call home.