Filmi 21! Virtual Edition
Filmi Toronto’s South Asian Film Festival Celebrating 21 Years!
December 27th, 2020
21st Filmi: Toronto’s South Asian film festival
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Rishta explores the conflicting romantic ideals of Eastern and Western cultures. The short film is set over the course of one evening after Saba has reluctantly agreed to meet a potential suitor identified by her parents. The experience forces Saba to reconcile her own views with the expectations of her traditional Pakistani family.
Silvet Ali is a Montreal-based journalist and filmmaker who graduated from Ryerson University’s Chang School Film Program in 2018. She completed her BA in Journalism with a Minor in Film Studies at Concordia University and joined the CBC Montreal team as a journalist and producer in both radio and television in 2009. After nearly a decade of working at CBC, she decided to explore her love for film and now divides her time between Montreal and Toronto, working in both broadcast journalism and film. Ali was inspired to tell the story of Rishta based on her personal experience growing up as the daughter of Pakistani immigrants in Montreal and navigating societal pressures.
Rishta is a personal story that I feel will resonate with many first-generation South Asians. It delves into the debate of love vs. arranged marriage, and a Pakistani woman feeling pressure to go the traditional route. The protagonist, Saba, is obsessed with Hollywood’s depiction of romance, and I wanted to depict the story of an arranged marriage using traditional rom-com tropes, with references to When Harry Met Sally, Romeo + Juliet and My Fair Lady. It’s a story I’ve wanted to share for a long time, to give others insight into the societal pressures women from traditional backgrounds can face.