WHAT is believed to be the first Pakistani film shot in Scotland has just had its premiere and will go on release across the UK from today.

Sacch is a ground-breaking movie in that it features talent from Pakistan, India and Scotland.

In movie speak, it is a mixture of Bollywood and Lollywood, with an intriguing Scottish connection thrown in.

Bollywood is the nickname of the massive film industry centred on Mumbai, formerly Bombay, in India while the L in Lollywood stands for Lahore, once the thriving centre of the film industry in Pakistan but now overtaken by Karachi, though the nickname Lollywood has been retained.

Bollywood famously makes more movies per year than Hollywood, and Lollywood is on the rise again after years of problems caused by stricter Islamic laws in that country.

Given the religious differences between the two countries, Indian and Pakistani crews and actors rarely work together and part of the motivation in making the film here in Scotland was that talent from all three countries could get involved.


WE can reveal that The National columnist Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh is the producer of what is very much a family affair. Her actor husband Zulfikar Sheikh directed the film and came up with the original story, while their daughter Elysee makes her debut on screen in a leading part for which she has already had good reviews.

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Elysee was a student of microbiology when she was offered the role, and having also studied musical theatre at Glasgow’s Royal Conservatoire of Scotland she decided to take on the challenge of being in the film and studying for her Master's degree.

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IT'S a first full-length feature film behind the lens for Zulfikar but he has made 17 serial dramas for Pakistani television, all of them set in Scotland.

Both Zulfikar and Tasmina also have on-screen roles in the film.

The cast includes veteran Pakistani actors like Uzma Gillani, Javed Sheikh, Nauman Masood, Fazila Qazi, and Ayesha Sana.

The final script is by the award-winning Bollywood screenwriter Kumud Chaudhary, while the dialogues have been written by Pakistani playwright Hasina Moin, who has previously worked with the Sheikhs and Bollywood royalty the Kapoor family.

Intriguingly the music – all Bollywood and Lollywood films feature music and usually songs written specially for the movie – was composed by Indian musician Simaab Sen, but the songs are sung by a mix of Bollywood and Pakistani singers, most notably Armaan Malik and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan.


WITHOUT giving away too much of the plot, we can say that Sacch – the word means truth – involves a love triangle and a family secret involving a Pakistani-Scottish man whose two sons fall in love with the same woman.

Extensive use is made of locations across Scotland including Loch Lomond and the Forth bridges as well as the centre of Edinburgh. Pollok Park and Kelvingrove Museum in Glasgow are featured as are the walkways on the banks of the River Clyde. All credit to the Sheikhs and their camera crews – this country looks ravishing in every shot.


AMIR Khan certainly thinks so. The former world champion boxer said: “I have seen a teaser (trailer) of the film Sacch and it looks amazing.”

In a way, Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh has gone back to her roots with this film – she was once an actress before becoming a solicitor and politician.

The former SNP MP has been working on the Alex Salmond Show for the RT channel, but says she always wanted to produce a film with international appeal set in Scotland.

She said: “We wanted to produce something that young Scottish Asians could watch as well as an elder generation and indigenous Scots.

“It does not matter what colour your skin is, where you come from, what religion or none, the issues you face are exactly the same.

“I also want young Asians to feel proud of their background and not ashamed of it.”

Zulfikar Sheikh says he wants to do more films in Scotland so that the world can see the great locations here.

Without a doubt one of the film’s great strengths is the Scottish locations.

Now if only we had a decent film studio, how many more Bollywood-Lollywood films could be made here?


FILM critic Yvonne Ridley attended the premiere and sent us this: “[Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh’s] passion for Scotland is reflected in the scenery of Sacch as the storylines unfold in Glasgow and Edinburgh and some of Scotland’s finest dramatic scenic landscapes drawing in lochs, rivers, coastlines and mountains.

“Although she is the film’s producer Sheikh also appears on the silver screen next to her daughter Elysee, who makes her own acting and singing debut and does it very well. With such a forceful character as Sheikh behind the scenes it is not surprising all of the female screen roles portrayed reveal strong, independent characters.

“The film clocks up a number of firsts including one from me – this was my first ever Bollywood premiere and now I’m completely sold on the glitz, glamour and drama; I can’t wait for the next one!

“Next to the highly talented members of the Sheikh family, the biggest star for me was Scotland which did itself immensely proud with its distinct city architecture, dramatic mountains, lochs and natural scenery ... there was even sunshine!”