Faryal Mehmood’s ‘Wakhri’ Set to Challenge Stereotypes in Theaters Nationwide

The “One of a Kind” draws inspiration from the late Qandeel Baloch.

The thought-provoking film Wakhri: One of a Kind, starring Faryal Mehmood, is gearing up for a nationwide theatrical release on January 5, following its world premiere at Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea Film Festival.

Inspired by the late Qandeel Baloch, the film directed by Iram Parveen Bilal challenges cultural stereotypes surrounding women and trans-people in Pakistan. The film was well-received at Saudi Arabia Red Sea Film Festival last year, despite criticism from some over it’s controversial subject matter.

Government censors in Islamabad have given the green light to Wakhri, set to be distributed by Karachi-based Mandviwalla Entertainment. The film, which does not specifically focus on the tragic killing of Qandeel Baloch but draws inspiration from her spirit and those of other women challenging patriarchy, is expected to make a significant impact.

Starring Faryal Mehmood and Gulshan Majeed in their debut roles, Wakhri follows the story of Noor (played by Faryal Mehmood), a young widow striving to raise funds for a new girls’ school. Gulshan Majeed portrays Gucchi, Noor’s cross-dressing best friend.

The plot takes an intriguing turn as Noor adopts the provocative persona “Wakhri” in her social media posts, challenging societal norms and creating a viral sensation in her society.

Faryal Mehmood, paying tribute to Qandeel Baloch through her performance, believes that the social media star was a misunderstood figure. She aims to inspire and empower women and minorities in Pakistan with her portrayal.

Director Iram Parveen Bilal intentionally steered away from making a film solely about Qandeel Baloch’s tragic demise. She emphasizes that Wakhri addresses the broader issues surrounding strong women and the societal impact when they face adversity.

Bilal collaborated with Pakistan’s Gender Interactive Alliance and feminist groups to ensure the film delves into the complex dynamics of social media fame and its effects on society.

Every time a strong woman is taken down, we are all taken down with her. When Qandeel Baloch was killed, so many other women retreated into the shadows — so this film is for them.

Check out the trailer here.