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Fatima Bhutto, Fawad Khan, Bilal Lashari in committee to decide Pakistan’s Oscar entry

PASC Chairman Mohammed Ali Naqvi has officially announced the names of the star-studded committee

By Our Correspondent
September 08, 2023

(From left to right) Actor Ahmed Ali Akbar, author Fatima Bhutto, cinematographer Bilal Lashari, director Saim Sadiq, PASC Chairman Mohammad Ali Naqvi, event organiser Frieha Altaf, director-producer Mehreen Jabbar, Actor-producer Nadia Afgan, film star Fawad Khan, filmmaker Madeeha Syed and Haya Fatima. — PASC
(From left to right) Actor Ahmed Ali Akbar, author Fatima Bhutto, cinematographer Bilal Lashari, director Saim Sadiq, PASC Chairman Mohammad Ali Naqvi, event organiser Frieha Altaf, director-producer Mehreen Jabbar, Actor-producer Nadia Afgan, film star Fawad Khan, filmmaker Madeeha Syed and Haya Fatima. — PASC

KARACHI: What do Fawad Khan, Fatima Bhutto, Bilal Lashari and Saim Sadiq have in common? All four of these talented individuals are part of this year’s Pakistani Academy Selection Committee (PASC) that is set to choose Pakistan’s official entry for the Oscars in the Best International Feature Film category.

PASC Chairman Mohammed Ali Naqvi has officially announced the names of the star-studded committee. Naqvi himself is no stranger to talent, having stepped into the role of PASC chairman this year as a talented filmmaker, succeeding Oscar-winning filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, the previous chair of the PASC.

The PASC is responsible for selecting Pakistan’s official entry for the Oscar for Best International Feature Film. The PASC 2023 comprises some of Pakistan’s finest talent, including Fatima Bhutto — acclaimed author, commentator, and an advocate and activist. In an Instagram post, Bhutto posted about her PASC membership: “Am really happy to join this year’s Oscar committee and proud of the quality of films we are producing..... hope the world will see much more work from Pakistan.”

Known as Pakistan’s biggest male actor, Fawad Khan is also part of the committee, adding glamour but also considerable international work experience in Bollywood and the West. Khan’s The Legend of Maula Jatt is the most memorable film he has done recently. The Legend of Maula Jatt’s award-winning director and cinematographer Bilal Lashari is also among the PASC members for this year. The Legend of Maula Jatt was produced under the joint venture of Encyclomedia and Lashari films, with Geo Films as the exhibiting partner. Released in 2022, The Legend of Maula Jatt became a roaring success, managing to create history for Pakistan’s film industry.

Last year’s official entry for the Best International Feature at the Oscars was Joyland. The film’s director Saim Sadiq — who has had the distinction of getting a Cannes award for his film — too joins the PASC committee this year. Another award-winning director Mehreen Jabbar, known both for her films but also for her substantial work in TV, will also be part of the Oscar selection committee.

Also joining the PASC 2023 is the versatile Ahmed Ali Akbar, of Lal Kabootar and Paizaad fame, along with veteran actor Nadia Afghan. Event director and producer Frieha Altaf, and filmmakers Haya Fatom and Madeeha Syed complete the committee members’ list.

According to reports in the media, the PASC will be reviewing eligible films over the next month and the official announcement regarding Pakistan’s selection for the 96th Academy Awards in the Best International Feature Film category will be made by October.