“Dukhtar” by Afia Nathaniel

This article is also available in: Italiano

We continue the week dedicated to Netflix products with a Pakistani film: Dukhtar. The film tells us about the escape of a young mother ready to do anything to prevent her daughter from premature marriage with an old tribal chief. A journey that will take us from the Gilgit-Baltisan mountains to Lahore, exploring different aspects of Pakistan.


The very young Allah Rakhi is forced to leave Lahore to marry the elderly chief Daulat Khan who lives in the rugged Pakistani mountains. Two decades later, Daulat Kahn decides to offer his ten-year-old daughter in marriage to his rival Tor Gul, but Allah Rakhi flees with his daughter to save her from a fate already sadly known to her. Mother and daughter will be escorted by a colorful truck driver, who despite him will find himself involved up to his neck in the journey to Lahore.

A travel to Pakistan

The film is an extremely interesting attempt to show Pakistan in its entirety and in its complexity, both for the places and for the diversity among the inhabitants. Of course, a 90-minute film can’t completely exhaust everything, but it still manages to cover a very wide range of aspects. Naturally, the difference between life in the mountains and in Lahore is highlighted, literally two different worlds that coexist in the same nation. Naturally, the social denunciation is very strong, highlighting an unfortunately absolutely topical problem such as that of child brides.

Honorable mention goes to the scenarios of the film, shot mainly in the Gilgit-Baltisan region. Impossible not to be enchanted by the scenarios shown in this film, an integral part of the journey of the 3 and a delight for tired eyes with many subtitles. The film is in fact present on Netflix only in the original language, an effort that, if you are interested in this area, can absolutely be worth doing.

A consideration (spoiler)

From the first scene of the film we are shown the enormous fear that the mother feels for her daughter’s marriage, which is absolutely normal and sacrosanct, a pity that it seems that it really only interests her. We explain better: in the film the searches of the men of Tor Gul stop around the 2nd / 3rd day, leaving the hot potato to a man with Daulat Khan’s brother. From the very first scenes, however, we are shown the greed that he feels towards Allahi Rakhi and it is therefore immediately clear to us what his real final goal is. The interest in the child will then completely cease with the death of the clan leader, organized by his henchmen just before the planned marriage.

Allah Rakhi and her daughter Zaineb

This makes us think how, paradoxically, child brides are just one of the many consequences of a major underlying problem: the value of human life. We are shown, in fact, how much the life of all these women is worth almost 0 for the local men, transformed into a sort of goods to be exchanged and / or captured. A merciless scenario for the normality with which it is faced and to which only the driver, Sohail, seems to act as a counterweight. Having become mujahid at 14, he will abandon everything for the love of a woman, who unfortunately died shortly after. The love of life that triumphs over the brutality of man.

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