Dubai: In what is a first for the Daily Sun News Media Group, a story carried by its sister publication XPRESS last November is now being turned into a Bollywood film.
The yet-to-be-titled movie, to be directed by Ribhu Dasgupta and produced by Arslan Goni, Sam Fernandes and Rajat Shrivastav, revolves round the true story of a helpless UAE resident Zainab Fawad, whose plight was reported by XPRESS Editor Mazhar Farooqui in a cover story on November 17, 2016.
Abused, rendered homeless and jailed, the 44-year-old Indian expat was divorced from her Pakistani husband and separated from her four-year-old twin boys following a catastrophic turn of events.
She was living on the brink at the time, even as she contemplated ending her life.
But following an overwhelming response to the XPRESS report, Zainab’s twins Mustafa and Muzammil, who were stranded in Pakistan since April 2014, not just got reunited with their mother in Dubai, but were also able to go to school for the first time.
Speaking to XPRESS from Mumbai, Goni said, “When we came to know about Zainab’s story through XPRESS, we realised it had to be told. As they say, every film has its own destiny.”
Goni said soon after, he travelled to the UAE to seek Zainab’s consent for the project.
“We spent over a week in Dubai meeting Zainab, Mazhar, Farhat Ali Khan and Juhi Yasmeen Khan who played a key role in turning things around. The film will be based on actual events and everyone who has been part of the story will be duly represented.”
He said the script is still under construction and it is early days yet to talk about the cast.
Zainab, who is still coming to terms with the development, said, “XPRESS has changed my life. I thank Allah, Mazhar Farooqui and bless each one of you for reuniting me with my kids.”
She said, “I hope the film will do well. It is an encouragement to every woman never to lose hope – after all it is not easy for an Indian woman to get her children back from Pakistan.”
Farooqui said, “It is not every day that you hear of a newspaper story turning into a movie. I am curious to know who will play my role, can’t wait for the release.”