a FILM producer will reunite with the Kirk minister who helped his family after tragedy struck in Bangladesh more than 50 years ago at the Edinburgh premiere of his latest production.
Neville Raschid’s film, White Chamber, is being launched at the Edinburgh International Film Festival and the Rev Margaret MacGregor will be welcomed as a guest of honour.
Mr Raschid, 61, grew up in India and East Pakistan, in what is now Bangladesh, and has strong family ties to the Kirk’s mission in Calcutta dating back to the 1930s. Miss MacGregor spent her career in India as a missionary and gave help to Mr Raschid’s family following the tragic murder of his father by insurgents whilst he was working in a tea plantation.
The two haven’t met since Miss MacGregor, who now lives in Edinburgh, provided the blessing at his wedding in 1990.
Mr Raschid’s mother, Dolly, spent her early life at St Ninian’s, a school and orphanage run by the World Mission Council in Cossipore, in the north of Calcutta, as she was born illegitimate.
Alexa Scott, who headed the school from the 1930s until the 1960s, was approached to provide a stable upbringing for Dolly after her mother was ostracised by her Indian family.
Mr Raschid said: “My mother was mixed race, which in the 1930s was very rare.
“My grandfather was a high- ranking white British inspector-general of police and had a liaison with a high-caste Hindu woman.
“My grandfather asked if Alexa Scott would raise Dolly – St Ninian’s became her home,” he said.
After St Ninian’s Dolly met Paul Raschid Sr, a Bengali who had also been adopted by a missionary couple, the Ewarts, and the two later married.
After a happy start and three children together, Paul Raschid Sr was killed in the former East Pakistan.
As a result Dolly turned to the Church of Scotland for help. “We were given sanctuary by World Mission once again,” he said.
By this point Alexa Scott was about to retire but Miss MacGregor had recently arrived at the Mission.
Miss MacGregor, who spent 35 years of her career in India and published the first guide to learning Greek in Bengali, supported the family in the immediate aftermath of his father’s death. She said: “It was a difficult time for the family. Neville’s mother regarded Cossipore as her home, which is why she came back.”
Asked if she is looking forward to the screening, Miss MacGregor said: “I’m looking forward to seeing Neville and his son. I haven’t seen him since his wedding.
“It’s a great thing for his film to be premiered at the film festival.”
His father’s foster parents the Ewarts also supported Mr Raschid, and he finished his education in the UK at Gordonstoun School followed by Cambridge. Mr Raschid, who lives near London, became an accountant before setting up a company as a film producer.
White Chamber is a collaborative effort with his son, Paul Raschid Jr, who wrote and directed the film. It will be shown in Edinburgh at 8.30pm on Thursday, June 21 at Cineworld and at 6.10 pm on Friday, 22 June at the Vue Omni.