“My film is called Among the Believers and I am the producer, director and editor of the film, I am Hemal Trivedi! The co-director is a Pakistani and his name is Mohammed Naqwi”
Above lines are from a brave lady called Hemal Trivedi, made a documentary feature “Among the Believers” is about Maulana Abdul Aziz Ghazi and his activities at the Red Mosque in Pakistan.
The documentary, co-directed by Pakistani filmmaker Mohammed Naqvi, has been shot in Pakistan and profiles the hardline activities of Aziz who operated the Red Mosque and the adjacent Jamia Hafsa madrasa.
At Tedxwalled city, we interviewed Hemal Trivedi about her biography and experiences. Let’s have a look what she said.
About Hemal Trivedi ?
The one word that describes Hemal Trivedi is a “lover”. “I love to fall in love. I think love is the only emotion that makes sense to me!” she says. Hemal is driven by her passion and believes in doing things that are most dear to her and she tries to do her work out of love. She uses her art and craft abilities to earn but with her ideologies of love and pureness, she made this non-profitable movie. The film has not yet launched in India and she expects people to see it out of love, and inspire conversations, conversations among the believers. This sets the only goal and expectations of Hemal from this film.
Among the Believers –
The film profiles Molana Abdul Azeez, who is one of the most radical clerics of Pakistan who runs a network of Madrasa, called Red Mosque Madrasa Network, having 30 branches and about 10,000 students. The film profiles 2 of its students- Talha, a 12-year-old boy, residing and studying in Madrasa and Zareena, another 12-year-old girl who jumped over the wall of Madrasa and hopes to be a doctor. The film shows a thorough study made over how the education and environment changes their look at the world and also how Pakistani society has become more unstable and it implodes as a result of Azeez’s quest for power.
The idea of the film was originated back in November of 2008 when Hemal lost a very dear friend to her in Mumbai Terror attack. Just like every other Indian, she was furious and her heart was full of anger towards Pakistan.
“Just like everyone else who lost someone at the attack, I experienced this extreme hate towards the entire country. I often wondered why Pakistani hates us so much. I even looked upon the country as a country that promotes terrorists!”
Over a period of time she eventually realised, the hollowness of her accusation over the country. The curiosity to know more about the country and its insights startled her and she finally started looking into the Mosques and Madrasa in the country. She eventually realised how deeply divided the country is. “Pakistanis are the biggest victims of terrorism” she said. “When these facts lighted me up, my anger eventually turned into empathy and I decided to make a film on ideological conflict shaping Pakistan.”
The area which is divided deepest is the area of education. The ideologies and method of teachings to those going to school and those to Maddersas were totally different. Being a Hindu lady, and hence prohibited the access to mosques, she collaborated with Mohammed to complete the movie.
All she expects from Indian and Pakistani audience who will watch the film is to embrace each other, accept each other. Yes! Terrorists and terrorism are the enemies, but the people of Pakistan are not. Stop hating them, stop demonising them! Learn to love. “It’s through books and not the bombs the war of terror can be won”, she believes.
Hemal currently working on another film in Chhattisgarh for past two and a half years about how the tribal there and how they are stuck in the crossfire between the government and the Maoists, which is still a work in progress.