“Some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall” – Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure.
Directed by Ahmed A. Jamal and written and produced by Mahmood Jamal, Rahm (Mercy) is a Pakistani drama-thriller film that (I’ll admit, I didn’t expect!) has Shakespeare written all over it: identities are swapped, lies and deceit are manifest, power becomes the source of disorder and corruption, new truths are revealed and, like many of Shakespeare’s endings, order is neatly restored. It’s no surprise then that Rahm is an adaption of the playwrights Measure for Measure, which, for anyone who’s familiar with the play, or any of Shakespeare’s works in fact, is going to be a incredible tale filled with all the ingredients that make Shakespeare’s plays so captivating and relevant till today.
Rahm’s film plot revolves around a Governor (Sajid Hasan) who goes into hiding after appointing a puritanical and corrupt deputy, Qazi Ahad (Sunil Shanker) in his place. Following this event, a virtuous woman, Sameena (Sanam Saeed) discovers that her brother is to be executed for fornication under the deputy’s demand. The ultimate tragedy is that she has to choose between maintaining her honour or saving her brother’s life by succumbing to Qazi’s immoral desires.
Credit must be given to Ahmed A. Jamal and Mahmood Jamal for staying true to the origins of the play by following the Measure for Measure plot. The characters in both face parallel trials following the enforcement of tyrannical laws by a deceptive ruler and the themes of justice, morality and religion are tackled throughout. The change in Rahm’s social and cultural setting gives the tale a particularly unique flair that makes it freshly original despite its Shakespearean template. Parallels between the Pakistani, Islamic society in the city of Lahore and Elizabethan England adds that extra bit of depth to the concept of the film that viewers are bound to appreciate. Mahmood Jamal states that when Shakespeare wrote Measure for Measure, the historical situation in England was similar to that of the contemporary Muslim world, making the transition from Shakespeare’s England to Muslim Lahore almost seamless which I can’t deny.
Rahm is a plea for tolerance from Muslims who are struggling to defend themselves against the injustice of extreme Islamists, which makes this film particularly relevant in today’s world. Maintaining faith in God’s plan and not bargaining this for anything is vital in Rahm, no matter the consequence; and who better to demonstrate this level of high virtue and morality than the strong-willed heroine Sameena who is not only a strong Pakistani woman (which is already a great start) but also an example of strong, religious woman who does not succumb to desire and sin thrusted upon her despite Qazi’s demand.
Rahm is a highly-praised film with so much to offer that it just can’t be missed! So come and witness this captivating, drama-filled adaption of Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure with a clever, south Asian cultural twist, at Regent Street Cinema on Tuesday 14th March 2017, 7:00 PM – 9:30 PM. You definitely won’t regret it!
By LAFF2017 Blogger Rim Karama ~
Rim Karama is a 3rd year English and Film Studies student from Queen Mary University, published author, poet and film enthusiast.