Alisha is a second-generation British girl of Pakistani origin from a religious and conservative Muslim family. Raised as a ‘good Muslim’ girl, she has battled with an internal conflict most of her young life. Alisha is attracted to and has fallen in love with Ranu, her soulmate. On a night-out with Ranu, while celebrating their graduation, a relative takes a picture of Alisha and Ranu kissing and sends the picture to Alisha’s brother, Amjad.
The next morning Alisha faces an aggressive inquisition from her father. Her father, Tariq, a respected and religious member of the local Muslim community is deeply ashamed that his only daughter is a Lesbian. He castigates Alisha for bringing his family’s name and reputation into disrepute. Batool, a submissive Muslim housewife, ashamed of her daughter’s secret life of sin, is blamed by her husband and son for raising a sinful daughter and is in despair for Alisha’s damned soul.
Alisha is imprisoned in her room, isolated from the outside world while her family deliberates her fate. Tariq presents Alisha with two possible futures. Either Alisha agrees to marry her maternal first cousin, Ali, and live the rest of her life in Pakistan, or, Alisha spends six months at a holy-man, Peer Haji Furqan’s retreat in Pakistan. Furqan is known to successfully exorcise the demon of lesbianism from young girls. Alisha is aware of Furqan’s method, which involves getting young girls addicted to heroin in order to make them docile and obedient. Alisha knows of Sadia, a former resident of Furqan’s retreat, who was cured and subsequently married in Pakistan. Alisha pleads with her family to not make her marry Ali. Undeterred, Tariq leaves the choice to Alisha. Batool uses acute emotional blackmail to convince her daughter that the only way to save her soul and avoid eternal damnation in hell for her parents is to accept her cousin Ali’s hand in marriage.
During her online engagement ceremony, Ali confides in Alisha that he has made arrangements for Alisha to be cured of her lesbianism at Furqan’s retreat after their marriage. Alisha realizes that even in her marriage there’s no escape for her.
On the day of her marriage, after recording her proclamation of love for Ranu, Alisha decides to take her own life.
Director: Usha Sharma
Writer: Usha Sharma
Producer: Usha Sharma
Festival Status: Winner, Best LGBT Film
The Square Circle