(Harune Massey, Pakistan/USA, 2016, 93mins) With echoes of Romeo and Juliet, Gardaab is a taut and stylized thriller about two lovers caught in a web of family and gang warfare in the underbelly of Karachi. Harune Massey’s restrained direction takes real life stories and anecdotes collected on the streets, and turns them into a compelling meditation on the fragility of human life.
In a city haunted by violence, turf wars and class divisions, a romance blossoms between Shahbaz, the protege of a drug lord, and Parveen, the daughter of a powerful rival clan. Caught in a whirlpool of desire, deceit, and obligations, the lovers struggle to break free. However, Shahbaz harbors a dark secret from the past that could very well be his undoing.
Massey’s debut feature points to an exciting new wave of Pakistani filmmakers on the horizon. Before this foray at the helm, he has been Assistant Director to some of the most celebrated filmmakers living and working in Pakistan, such as Sabiha Sumar and Meenu Farjad.