Saving Pakistan’s face

Saving Pakistan’s face

Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy made Oscar history late Sunday, as she became the first Pakistani to win the coveted award for her documentary film Saving Face.

Chinoy’s triumph is, rightly, being celebrated with much vigour and the country’s prime minister has announced the highest civilian award for the filmmaker.

The film, which beat competition in the form of documentaries based on Japan’s deadly tsunami and the Iraq war among others, is the story of acid-attack victims punished by men and are then given reconstructive surgery by a British surgeon. Showing the real ‘face’ of the Pakistani society, where men resort to such heinous crimes, the film touched many a heart.

Back at home, a bill was passed against such acts of violence against women, last month. While the bill has been hailed as a great achievement, it remains to be seen how effective it will be in restricting violence against women.

By going on to win an award on the biggest stage of them all, Obaid has taken a brave step towards making it known that such acts are intolerable.

Will this Oscar win and the subsequent attention on the subject, help bring an end to such barbaric acts?

While it is unfortunate that it took such a humiliating subject to bring Pakistan its first Oscar, is Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy’s Oscar win the biggest moment in the history of Pakistan’s arts and entertainment industry?


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207 Responses to “Saving Pakistan’s face”

  1. Zubair says:

    It’s good we have an oscar, much to be appreciated. But in my view some scenarios which helped in achieving this oscar is more defamation for Pakistan, this kind of thing is happening in other countries as well . In Iranain case , the hidden factor might be tense US-Iran relationship.

  2. Ali says:

    we should get our records correct. Ms. Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy is the second Pakistani to get an Oscar the first was Mir Zafar Ali from Karachi.

    • sarmad says:

      Thanks for breaking this news. He did not get much publicity probably, he was a man and secondly he did not do anything so sensitive like this. An unsung hero

  3. Mohammed Iqbal says:

    One more important event that happened at Oscar is that Iranian movie called “SEPRATION’ won the Best Foreign movie of the year 2011. It is remarkable. We, Pakistani should look at Iranian, they are making much better movies than Indian. Look at their dress code, the Iranian actresses wear hijab and still look beautiful and graceful. Sound, story, direction, acting in all these fields they are doing much better. Forget India and Indian movies for good.

    • Aliya says:

      Is anyone holding you at gunpoint to watch Indian films.Its their country ,their wish to make what they want.Its your choice to watch Iranian ,Hollywood,Egyptian or Saudi Arabian cinema if that makes you a better Muslim.

      • Omar Haroon says:

        Fully agree with this. Whether or not Indian movies are worth watching, it’s my personal choice as to whether I want to watch them or not. I really don’t need other people enforcing their “opinions” upon me and intruding in my personal space. Kindly mind your own business.

      • peace says:

        well said aliya, i am sure a remote will do precisely that .

  4. shiva says:

    Congrats to Ms. Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy – clearly a very talented and classy lady. Good for Pakistan – hope she belongs to the right sect/religion that gets her the recognition in Pakistan also (unlike Dr.Abdus Salam).

    • sarmad says:

      Dr. Abdus Salam is son of soil for many of us. He was with us at the wrong time and at the wrong moment. A day will come when he will be fully owned

  5. Excellent work. Congrats to Sharmeen for exposing this social evil.
    Slum dog Millionare movie was on similar bases. It did not lower the image of the country, instead made the Government pay a little more attension to the problem. Good Job Sharmeen and we are all proud of your work.

  6. Waqas Shaikh says:

    Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy should be recognized and congratulated for producing an extraordinary documentary film about a serious issue facing Pakistani society. Her religion does not matter anything at all. The only thing matter is her work and she did it very well.

  7. Amar Singh says:

    Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy
    Her face is more Indian than otherwise !
    Congratulations again. Definitely will have impact on the society there.

  8. zafar says:

    Thank you

  9. Youshay says:

    If barbaric acts including the throwing acid on someone face does not end, then this award and this movie have not taught us a thing. What we do to end this horrible and cowardly act is what matters. Question is, “What are we going to contribute to achieve zero tolerance for such barbaric and insane act?” Unfortunately for most of us, we will claim this glory, like we are now, enjoy our time in the sun and move on. This award recognizes all the women who have suffered needlessly. I say, No more no more, no more.

    Thank you

  10. Arshad Hamza paracha says:

    She brough shame for Pakistan. This is western conspiracy to malign Pakistan.

    • rashidzaidi CA.USA says:

      Backward thinking people like you Arshad keep Pakistan gloomy. People like Sharmeen are the kind who enlighten us to think more respectably of half our population whom we treat less than our cows and goats. Take out this tribal mentality.
      Islam teaches us to treat our women at equal basis and yet we practice regional culture. What a shame.

    • raika45 says:

      Arshad sahib.People like you are the crab grass in Pakistan’s lawn of peace,progress and success.

    • Mahesh says:

      Shame on you… everywhere you seek conspiracy of west…

    • Sameer says:

      Not a very sensible comment in the first sentence. Shame is brought by the perpetrators of these heart rending crimes not those who expose them.

    • Jean Verlander says:

      Do you really believe that. You are the sort of person that will hold Pakistan in its barbaric ways. Get civilised.

      • kazim naqvi says:

        civilisation should be start from one’s self. as for as this documentary is concerned my question is simply why this one? if we want to stop these act we should change ourselves and our society and we should not only condem these acts but also demand justice. this documentary earned a name for it self but bring a shame for a nation. can you mention any country where there are no crimes? but which nation is proudly showing its shameful acts?

        • Iftikhar Majid Malik says:

          It takes a lot of courage to admit the wrong. In USA the names of the child molesters are in County and Parish records and posted in such a way that any one can find the names of such people. Pakistani society also has many child molesters. Mr. Naqvi do you think it will bring shame to Pakistan if the names of child molesters or people who subject woman’s face to acid are kept confidential.

        • Aliya says:


          Many pakistanis were going gaga over slumdog millionaire and still assume India is whats shown in the movie.I havent been to India but find many pakistanis callign indians as slummies,slumdogs etc after the movie..Lets set our house in order..

  11. Sam101 says:

    Hope this Oscar will bring some change in the Nation of Manly society. This is a message of every man of Pakistan to consider Women is a human being.

    Govt has known this issue since the beginning but keeping their eyes and ears closed and has not done anything. It is up to the youth of Pakistan to decide what kind of future do they want… Terrorism/backwardness or Progressive and Free society….. Good Luck.

  12. Ali says:

    How can a muslim have the last name Chinoy?

    • Omar Haroon says:

      Good God. I can’t believe someone had the audacity to pose such an inane question… Contrary to popular Pakistani opinion, a name does not make you a Muslim. If you honestly think that way about being a Muslim then you really need to introspect a bit more upon your own faith.

    • Muhammad says:


      What a nonsense question When we have musims with the surnames or last names like malik, thakkur, Chattha, Chaudhary, Chawla, Cheema, Virk, Waraich on so on then why not Chinoy do you have some problem with her last name?

    • Abdul Khalique says:

      Either she is a Muslim or Hindu, it doent matter, we are proud of her work.

      • Mahesh says:



        • Spurthi says:

          How does it even matter if she is Muslim/Hindu/Pakistani/Indian. She has done a great service to humanity by highlighting this grave injustice. Every society has shortcomings and the brave and truthful must call attention to it- shame is brought when we try and hide it in the name of safeguarding the ‘honour’ of our family/society/nation.

          There is no honour in perpetuating or being silent on such issues. Acknowledging them is the first step towards challenging such practices.


  13. Amp says:

    Acid attacks also happen in India, and there are more documentaries made in India about Women’s rights there. Not a single one has won an Oscar. This documentary is given an Oscar just to advertise a small dark spot on the bright face of Pakistan. Sharmeen would be better off if she can make a documentary about say the achievement of women of Pakistan, or the unprecedented rate of economic growth and overheated economy, which is growing at a much faster rate then the west!

    • Junaid Maniya says:

      Agree with you completely. If she really cares about Saving Face, then she should fight with our government to introduce laws that will stop this barbaric act. Really no need to show the world and make a mockery of ourselves. This movie will not introduce any new laws in Pakistan against such acts, so what is the point. I see lot’s of comments about how proud they are of Chinoy works, but you can tell by thier names that most of them are not Pakistanis. So Ofcourse they’ll be proud of it because if humiliates Pakistan. I bet if Chinoy would have won an Oscar for Showing something good about Pakistan (She would have never won Oscar for showing Pakistan’s bright side) none of these comments will be here of how proud they are of Chinoy, except from Pakistanis.

    • faraz says:

      Agree with you!

  14. Hassan Raza says:

    Even as we rejoice at this honor, I am deeply embarrassed by the subject of this documentary and the larger message (injustices towards women in our society) that will be reinforced in West. I yearn for the day when an artistic endeavor extolling the best Pakistan has to offer, makes it way to Hollywood.

  15. Bilal says:

    Well depends on where Sharmeen Obaid is settled, because the documentary was a collabration, pretty much what danny boyle did for ar rahman. I can think of another documentary which aired on ABC australia last year titled “Married in Pakistan”, very thought provoking, detailing the lives of UK girls who were brought to Pakistan and forced to marry, the events leading upto and after that, and how one woman is fighting for thier rights.

  16. rahmat says:

    congratulation great job …but work just started ..we need real store like that .so we can fight injustice discremination and radicalisation .. i be saying that for a long time ….it’s not just pakistan or iran or afghanistan or the Arab world…… it’s about every comon sense people that whants to live their live ..we dont want to be control by anybody it’s our live we want to live the way we want …

  17. Asif Waziri says:

    The most significant aspect of the accomplishment by ‘Saving Face’ is that inspite of it being made in Pakistan, it managed to win the most prestigious film award in the world. This fact in itself is astonishing. For once secularism has succeeded in Pakistan. I hope it is not the last.

    Pakistan’s crisis is one of transition. When Pakistan achieves a 50% femal literacy rate, things will likely take a turn towards even more turbulence. Thereafter lies a hope for a society where everyone can try to be rational. With rationality will come stability. With stability, Oscars and Grammys.

  18. Mohsin Patel says:

    For Irfan, There is a very good side to this documentary that it bring out the story of great work that is being done by of Dr. Mohammad Jawaid a Pakistani doctor. This will inspire others to fight and help others to come to Pakistan to do the same,thus improve Pakistani Society and more contribution by Overseas Pakistanis. Hiding and running away from evil does not solve any thing.

    To Sharmeen, Thank you and congratulation for giving something to the nation to celebrate and feel proud of with all that fight, anger and gloom that people are living with. May you have more success. (Amin) Thank you very much again.

  19. Mazhar says:

    Hat Off Sharmeen and good luck in future documentaries. Acid attacks are not good and should be treated as a very big crime. But I would suggest all Indian Folks that they should help Nakushas in their country and stop baby girl killers and parents who name their daughters as Nakusha. Indian is the only nation with more men then women in the country. we need to stop crime against women in our culture and in both countries. I would suggest to give some oscar award to women and men which are helping Nakushas in india.

  20. Syed says:

    Unfortunately, this is not the face of Pakistan. What is our nation’s objective? Any thing which is prestigious in West doesn’t mean that we also should be proud of. In my personal view I am unable to find any thing productive or benificial in this for our nation

  21. sk says:

    What she can do?
    She just wanted that award and nothing else!

  22. Hamza says:

    It certainly is a big acheivement however the issue at stake won’t really be taken care of. It’s good to be recognised globally but it’s the issue that has been covered, and that’s what the award is for.

    The acid throwers wouldn’t even know what an Oscar is.

  23. Muhammad says:

    Wonderfull Sharmeen you are a rare talent we are really proud of you God bless you.

  24. Harshad says:

    There cannot be anything better than this.It’s a proud moment for us Asians that Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy from Pakistan brought this proud moment for us.I am from India and we Indians are proud of this golden lady from Pakistan.

    • Susan Koshy says:

      Well done Sharmeen. Your interview in Dawn is also very insightful. As Hardshad says, we are proud of you as Indians.

  25. Aasma Qamer says:

    Well the Sharmeen’s Oscar winning must be an achievement for Pakistan’s entertainment industry but unfortunately acid burning in Pakistan is an attitude problem and change of attitude is not possible with a single Oscar winning but it needs to change the hearts and mindset. I wish Pakistanis tolerance and behanviour change. on Facebook on Facebook