Shrivastava, along with producers Vikas Sharma (“Toba Tek Singh”) and Sunny Khanna (“Why Cheat India”), has acquired the rights to the book “The Sensational Life and Death of Qandeel Baloch,” by Sanam Maher, published by Aleph, it was revealed ahead of the Cannes Film Market.
Shrivastava’s credits include feminist films “Lipstick Under My Burkha,” which was briefly banned in India in 2017, Busan selection “Dolly Kitty and Those Twinkling Stars” and Netflix series “Bombay Begums.”
Baloch, whose real name is Fouzia Azeem, had stoked controversy in Pakistan by living a Westernized lifestyle and posting her thoughts on social media, including Facebook and Twitter. Divorced from her husband, she had been nicknamed “Pakistan’s Kim Kardashian” and “Pakistan’s first social media star.”
“When Qandeel Baloch was murdered in Pakistan in 2016, I was shaken up,” Shrivastava said. “It was a heinous honor killing. I couldn’t stop thinking about her. I started watching Qandeel’s videos repeatedly, and I was fascinated. She was so charming and full of life. A poor girl from a small village, who worked her way up to being provocatively famous. She was just 26 when she was killed. And ironically, it’s only after her death that she has been reclaimed as a feminist.”
“Qandeel’s story needs to be told by a sensitive filmmaker who is passionate about women’s stories,” Sharma said. “Alankrita is just the filmmaker for it. And not just because she is an award-winning feminist filmmaker, but because she has so much empathy for her characters. She tells their stories with candor and warmth.”
Khanna added: “Qandeel Baloch’s story is important and relevant. Even today women often continue to be at risk when they dare to express their individuality and challenge the status quo. I believe the world needs to watch stories like this.”
Shrivastava noted: “I see this film as an ode to the courageous spirit of Qandeel Baloch. It will chronicle her sensational and astonishing rise to fame. I hope to piece together the memories of the rebellious, funny and vulnerable young girl, whose life was cut short because she shimmered too bright. The film will celebrate her spunk and lust for life by telling her story without judgment, hopefully the way she would have liked to tell it.”
Tulsea represents Shrivastava and will be packaging the film, which is currently in development.
Patrick Frater contributed to this report.