Pakistani short film Darya Kay Iss Paar has bagged three major awards at the New York City International Film Festival. The short film won awards including Best Short Film, Best Director and Best Leading Actress (Khaba Aziz). The film is based on the stigma attached to mental health.

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As per the description available on YouTube, Darya Kay Iss Paar (On this side of the river) is the story of a young girl named Gull Zareen, who lives in the Northern areas of Pakistan. The plot of the film revolves around the life of Zareen who has “nothing but alienation in her life.”


“The aloofness in the air of the mountainous area is adding more depression in her life. There is a gradual increase in her mental stress starting from school life to the married life. No one is ready to bother about her feelings and thoughts,” reads the official description.

“Rigid social values and norms further add fuel to the fire. Resultantly, the increasing mental stress compels her to commit suicide. The story depicts the stereotypical behavior of society towards mental illness. Certainly, it is a roller-coaster ride of strong emotions inspired from real events where the story can force a viewer to, at least, think about the issue,” it adds.


The film has been produced by Nighat Akbar Shah and directed by Shoaib Sultan.

New York City International Film Festival was founded in 2009 to celebrate the arts of film.