LAHORE: Pakistani biopic film Salute premiere was held on Wednesday at Luxus Grand Cinema where almost all Lahore based Lollywood film directors, actors, and producers were present to support Shahzad Rafique’s film based on the life of martyred Aitzaz Hassan Bangash, who sacrificed his life to foil suicide bomber’s attempt to blow up the school in village Ibrahimzai of District Hangu, Khyber Pakhtun Khawa. Aitzaz was 15-years-old when he gave the great sacrifice of his life for Pakistan and saved lives of his 2,000 schoolmates gathered for morning assembly. The tragic incident took place in January 2014 when a Taliban suicide bomber clad in school uniform was on his way to school with plan to detonate himself among school children but his attempt was prevented and confronted in no time when he asked for the school’s way from ninth-grade Aitzaz, who was also on his way to school to attend the morning assembly. Aitzaz sensed the suicide bomber’s evil designs and grabbed him tightly. Subsequently during the scuffle suicide bomber pushed the button of his suicide jacket. Both died on the spot.  

Salute has been directed, written and produced by Shahzad Rafique. Ajab Gul has played role of the father of Aitzaz. Saima Noor has played role of his mother and Ali Mohtesham as Shaheed Aitzaz Hasan. Other actors include Imran Khan as Taliban, Adnan Khan, Nayyar Ejaz, Rashid Mehmood, Pervaiz Kaleem, Jalal Haider and Sardar Shaukat. The film will be distributed by IMGC Global Entertainment nationwide on December 2, 2016. The Government High School Ibrahim Zai was renamed with Aitzaz Hasan Shaheed High School.

Shahzad Rafique told The Nation on premiere night that the film is to highlight our real heroes and bravery of a child who laid down his life to save lives of other children. “The film shooting took place at real locations to make the film more realistic. I have nothing to say anything more but government should include the story of this brave child in school’s curriculum.”

Film started with the scenes of birth of Aitzaz’s elder brother on which the whole family celebrated and rejoiced and his father Mujahid Ali prayed for another son whom he named Aitzaz Hassan even before his birth. Salute’s cinematography is the prime element of the film which gathered the attention of viewers from beginning till the end. The scenic northern areas are shown in all their glory in this film.

Mujahid Ali’s wife went into state of shock when she heard that her husband had got Dubai labour visa. Mujahid started working in Dubai. The absence of his father shrouded the personality of the Aitzaz throughout his life but his mother was always there to shower him with her love and affection. Aitzaz was called as ‘fat boy’ in his childhood but his mother Ghuncha Bibi gave him unwavering support and told him that he should be proud of his father honest earning.

Movie song ‘Mera Khaloona’ sung in melodious voice in the backdrop of the scenic Miurpur in Azad Kashmir depicts the endless love between son and mother. To carry out the film’s plot Shafqat Rafique relies on parallel story about planning and plotting of the terrorists who are working against the Pakistan. Several foiled attempts of the terrorists were shown in the film including failed attack on Shrine of Hazrat Shah Rukan-e-Alam in Multan. Another one was foiled in Lyari, Karachi on Intelligence Base Operation (IBO).

Salute movie addressed the most burning issue of our society that is terrorism. A scene in the film highlighted that nexus of clergy and terrorists that has made the situation worse.

In the meanwhile, terrorists group which was portrayed in film as working from somewhere in Waziristan got no other option but to hit the school of Shia majority area Ibrahimzai and to convey massage of fear because all of their attempts were foiled by the security agencies. They sent a 20 to 25-year-old suicide bomber to blow up the school in Hangu. Aitzaz complained to his elder brother the night before the tragic incident that he could not go to sleep for some unknown reason. The most emotional part of the film was when Aitzaz was leaving for the school from his home. His mother Ghuncha combed him and put oil in his head and gave blessing that her son will look most beautiful among other students today. On the morning of January 7, 2014 he confronted the suicide bomber and laid down his life.

Pakistani cinema is in state of transition and making of films on such topics is encouraging others also to make films on our heroes. Mujahid Ali told said that if his son was alive today and the film were made on any other son of soil. “I would say to my son to follow in the footsteps of that brave person,” he said with tears in his eyes.