The last few years have seen monumental growth in Pakistan’s entertainment industry, especially when it comes to television, music, fashion and film. The film industry, everyone would agree, has grown exponentially. It’s only natural that Pakistani films, made by a new generation of contemporary filmmakers, would find an audience around the world, especially amongst the Pakistani Diaspora and to ensure this awareness, Dr Maleeha Lodhi – Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United Nations – hosted the second edition of Pakistan Film Festival in New York this weekend. Film enthusiasts were treated to some of the top-rated movies over the weekend and they even had a chance to meet and mingle with leading Pakistani stars.
“We have organized our film festival to both acknowledge the remarkable revival of Pakistan’s cinema and to showcase and celebrate it,” Dr Lodhi told a large and enthusiastic audience at the Asia Society premises.
The Pakistan Mission to the United Nations organized the festival, as it did in 2016.
On Saturday, 7 Din Mohabbat In, Parchi, Verna and Cake drew packed houses, while on Sunday Na Band Na Baraati, Punjab Nahi Jaungi and Lala Begum were shown.
Beyond the screenings, Academy award winner Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy participated in a special segment titled ‘Beyond the Oscars’ in which she discussed her present and future work as well as challenges faced by Pakistan’s film industry. Sharmeen spoke about her upcoming film on Lahore activist Syed Ghulam Fatima, who is tenaciously fighting for the rights of men, women and children working at brick kilns in poor conditions.
The festival saw some of Pakistan’s biggest stars fly out for the event. Ayesha Omar hosted the show while Mahira Khan, Mikaal Zulfikar, Mehwish Hayat, Aamina Sheikh and others came with their films.
“This revival has been spearheaded by a new wave of young filmmakers and actors; they have produced a devise array of movies that have been pushing the boundaries and charting and breaking new ground by tackling bold themes and using digital technology,” Ambassador Lodhi said, hoping that the festival would contribute to that process, and that this celebration of films from Pakistan would “convey the energy, dynamism and optimism that define today’s Pakistan.”