Lyari Notes

The Guitar School

  • Maheen Zia, Miriam Chandy Menacherry
  • India, Pakistan
  • 2015
  • 80 min
  • World Premiere
  • Panorama
Lyari is a neighborhood in Karachi, Pakistan. It’s the most violent part of the city, terrorized by gangs engaged in armed conflict with the police. Each week, 11-year-old Aqsa and her three friends get a ride from here to the Music, Art and Dance School in another part of town. The school was founded by the famous Pakistani rock musician Hamza Jafri and his wife Nida Butt, whose mission is to use music as a creative means of expression and a tool for communication in a country under constant attack by extremist forces. For the children from Lyari these lessons are free, but first their parents have to be convinced; after all, music is sinful according to Islamic law. In Lyari Notes, the school is preparing for a performance while various external threats become increasingly worrisome. A sound check for a music festival gets interrupted because of security concerns, and everyone is taken aback when the Taliban attack a school in Peshawar, killing 135. Nevertheless, the kids go to music lessons every week. It’s an act of rebellion and a clear ray of hope in their dire circumstances.


  • 80 min
  • color
  • DCP
  • Spoken languages: Urdu, English, Hindi
  • Subtitles in: English
Maheen Zia, Miriam Chandy Menacherry
Miriam Chandy Menacherry for Filament Pictures, Maheen Zia for Filament Pictures
Executive producer
Iikka Vehkalahti
Maheen Zia

IDFA history

World Premiere
Supported with €17500 for Classic: Production & postproduction
Supported with €5000 for Classic: Development

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IDFA history

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