The Silences of My Life.
This is the story of Bapsi Sidhwa, the eminent Zoroastrian writer who overcame a lonely and painful childhood scarred with illness to become an internationally acclaimed novelist.
One of the first women writers to write in English from the Indian subcontinent, Bapsi’s life takes us across thousands of miles, between continents and cultures from South Asia to the United States -- and touches us personally. Her story also lifts a curtain on the almost extinct and hidden community, the Zoroastrians. Bapsi Sidhwa’s writing, work, and life story will delight and inspire.
Bapsi grew up in Lahore with her parents in a community of Zoroastrians – peace-loving followers of one of the oldest religions on earth, whose compassionate but gentle culture will delight and inspire. Her uniquely observant mind was galvanized at a young age through her battle with polio, which she contracted when she was two. This challenge and her eventual recovery at age 11 would ultimately shape her spirit in ways that are life affirming and representative of the power of a family’s love. Bapsi’s early experiences during the violent Partition of India inspired characters for her later novels, and contrast starkly with the ideals of her native Parsi Zoroastrian community. Her subsequent challenges throughout college, marriage, migration, divorce, re-marriage, child rearing, cultural assimilation, and achieving professional success reveal an enlightened soul whose infectious passion for creativity will invigorate audiences.
Bapsi’s story highlights our ever-present ability to connect through art, and reminds us that our own individual challenges have the power to transform us and open our hearts to life’s infinite potential for transcendence through artistic expression.
Bapsi is a resident of Houston, Texas. Her 5 novels: Cracking India, The Pakistani Bride, The Crow Eaters, An American Brat, and Water, have been translated and published in several languages. Her anthology City of Sin and Splendour: Writings on Lahore was published in 2006.
Among her many honors Sidhwa received the Bunting Fellowship at Radcliffe/Harvard, the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Writer's Award, the Sitara-i-Imtiaz, Pakistans' highest honor in the arts, and the LiBeraturepreis in Germany and the 2007 Primo Mondello Award in Italy.
This film will humanize and bring forth the unique, peaceful and distinct community of Parsis, through celebrating the life of a brilliant, creative genius of this community. It will include exciting animations of worship, stories of migration, of a country being split in two and the streets and rich culture of Lahore, the ancient city and heart of Punjab in South Asia, Pakistan. The documentary records her sensitive narratives of her experiences of a childhood sickness that presented an unusual twist to life, memories of the split of the Indian subcontinent, and her final migration as an accomplished and celebrated writer to the United States.
The vision is to produce a visual narrative of through the personal story of a creative mind of Sidhwa. A story that takes the viewers through the historical city of Lahore. The ancient beliefs and traditions that still prevail amongst the Parsi community and their journey of migration. Bapsi's development as a writer having a unique perspective on life due to a childhood illness. One that is life affirming, and inspirational especially for youth – our future decision makers and the underserved communities, we never know where a window is opened and a life is enlightened.
Production company: Explore Their Stories. Chicago, Illinois USA
Director: Sadia Uqaili
Shooting Format: 4K and Full HD
Shooting Location: South East Asia, historic city of Lahore, hills of Murree and Houston, Texas USA 2017
The project is in the development phase.