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July 17th, 2003
The Rock Star and the Mullahs
Introduction

About the Film

Salman Ahmad is the charismatic lead guitarist for the popular Pakistani rock group, Junoon. Inspired by the ancient Sufi tradition, the band’s music and lyrics reflect the moderate, liberal side of Islam. He has also become a Special Representative for UNAIDS, and he and the group have publicly advocated the cause of peace with India. But a coalition of fundamentalist Islamic parties has made recent gains in Pakistani elections, and Junoon’s high profile places them in conflict with the hardliners. WIDE ANGLE follows Salman Ahmed as he journeys to the tolerant, ancient city of Lahore and the fundamentalist stronghold of Peshawar to reveal the internal religious and political conflicts of nuclear-armed Pakistan. The mullahs want to ban the music but Junoon’s fans, among them Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, have made Salman a rock idol. From this trip emerges a rich portrait of modern day Pakistan, a pivotal nation in the war against terror.

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