Sarmad Masud, also known as Sam Masud, is a British filmmaker whose 2017 movie My Pure Land was the first Urdu language film nominated by the UK for a Foreign Language Oscar.
After graduation, Masud wrote and directed Adha Cup (2009), a short film in Urdu about two men ineptly trying to reunite the cast of a Bollywood musical. According to the Macau Daily Times, it was "the first Urdu-language drama commissioned by British broadcaster Channel 4, which was later developed into a six-part series at the BBC." One reviewer called it "a delightful comedy adventure, a sort of bilingual Bollywood Blues Brothers by way of Nottingham."
Two Dosas (2014) was Masud's second short film as a director (he co-wrote it with Nikesh Shukla) and was funded by Film London. It is a comedy of an awkward date in an Indian restaurant, where Pavan had hoped to impress his English girlfriend. The film won both the London Calling Plus 'Jury Award' (2014) and the Aspen Shortsfest's 'Best Comedy' Short Film.
My Pure Land (2017), Masud's first feature-length film, was filmed in Pakistan. After reading a 2012 news story titled "Meet Nazo Dharejo: The toughest woman in Sindh," Masud wanted to make a movie about her armed defense of her family's land against her male relatives. The movie was filmed in Urdu rather than Sindhi. Sindhi classical dancer Suhaee Abro played the lead role of Nazo Dharejo. Masud's wife Caroline Bailey was the film’s production designer. Masud describes the film as "a modern-day feminist Western set in Pakistan, based on the extraordinary true story of one woman and her family who defended their home and land from 200 bandits."
After its debut showing at the 2017 Edinburgh International Film Festival, My Pure Land was selected as the British entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 2018 Oscars. It was the first Urdu-language film submitted by the UK for a Foreign Language Oscar. It did not, however, advance to the Academy's shortlist.
In 2017, Masud told an interviewer that he was planning two more movies to be filmed in Pakistan as well as "a feel good underdog sports film."
- Safdar, Anealla (2 October 2017). "Sarmad Masud on feminism, My Pure Land, and Pakistan". Al Jazeera. Retrieved 21 January 2019.
Hailed as a groundbreaking Pakistani feminist western, My Pure Land tells the tale of Nazo Dharejo, the most powerful force of a female trio fighting to protect the family home as her father and brother languish in jail.
- Parfitt, Orlando (2 October 2017). "Stars of Tomorrow 2017: Sarmad Masud (director)". Screen Daily. Retrieved 21 January 2019.
After graduating, Masud’s big break was 2009’s Adha Cup, a black-and-white comedy drama in Urdu funded by Channel 4’s Coming Up scheme. Following this he met Nikesh Shukla and together they wrote Masud’s next short, Two Dosas, which was funded by Film London. It won the London Calling Jury Award in 2014, as well as awards at other festivals including Aspen and London Short Film Festival
- Nosheen, Iqbal (7 September 2017). "'Anything is possible in Pakistan – but everything is impossible': Sarmad Masud on filming My Pure Land". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 January 2019.
That it even got made and is complete, 16 years after he graduated in television and film design at the Hull School of Art and Design, is still something of a revelation to him. Everything that could have gone wrong with the shoot, he says, did. The majority of funds were raised from family and friends and he had a six-week filming schedule to get it all wrapped up.
- Carter, Ashley (7 September 2017). "Interview: My Pure Land director Sam Masud". LeftLion. Retrieved 29 December 2018.
- Robertson, Andrew (20 June 2009). "Adha Cup". Eye for Film. Retrieved 21 January 2019.
This is a delightful comedy adventure, a sort of bilingual Bollywood Blues Brothers by way of Nottingham.
- "Quality and diversity in the competing films – 1". Macau Daily Times. 4 December 2017. Retrieved 21 January 2019.
Masud also wrote and directed Adha Cup, the first Urdu-language drama commissioned by British broadcaster Channel 4, which was later developed into a six-part series at the BBC.
- Munday, Rob (December 7, 2018). "Two Dosas". Short of the Week. Retrieved January 16, 2019.
it’s easy to see why Masud’s film won the London Calling Plus ‘Jury Award’ in 2014 and the ‘Best Comedy’ Short Film at the 24th Aspen Shortsfest.
- Roxborough, Scott (14 September 2017). "Oscars: U.K. Selects 'My Pure Land' for Foreign-Language Category". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 21 January 2019.
The U.K. has picked My Pure Land, an Urdu-language feature from first-time director Sarmad Masud, as its submission for consideration for the 2018 Oscars in the foreign-language film category. This marks the first time Britain has submitted an Urdu-language title to be its Oscar hopeful.
- Pond, Steve (14 December 2017). "Oscars Foreign Language Shortlist Includes 'The Square,' 'A Fantastic Woman'". The Wrap. Retrieved 21 January 2019.