The phrase ‘revival of Pakistani Cinema’ has become part of our daily jargon. It has also become a little annoying. Many filmmakers claim to be riding the revival wave. Others argue that their works in some way aid the alleged movement. But recently the country hasn’t been putting its best cinematic foot forward.

Pakistani Cinema and the alleged ‘revival’

Many like to trace the roots of the touted comeback to 2007, when Shoaib Mansoor’s film Khuda Kay Liye made its way into cinema halls. The film was met with a ton of acclaim and also became the first Pakistani film to be released in India in 40 years.

Call it a smart marketing ploy or a stroke of luck, but the words ‘revival of Pakistani cinema’ made their way into popular publications. Many claimed that this one film would singlehandedly undo decades of stagnancy.

Of course a single film couldn’t reignite an entire industry. So while some interesting independent ventures did see the light of day (Zibakhana my favourite amongst these) Pakistani cinema was in no way ‘revived’ after Khuda Kay Liye. But it did start a movement, as a generation of television actors, directors and producers were suddenly willing to try their hand at feature films.

A surprise resurgence

Cut to 2013 when the much awaited action film Waar broke records across the country (some would argue via controversial means). And Pakistan submitted Zinda Bhaag for the Oscars. Its first official entry in decades.

Then in 2015, more than ten films were released in a single year (the highest number in recent times). These included Bin Roye and the critically acclaimed Moor.

But then 2017 came around and dredged up some bizarre remnants of Pakistan’s film archives. Syed Noor’s awkward take on romance in Chain Aye Na became a notorious, viral sensation even before its release. While other films that looked promising failed to deliver once they were released. Amidst all of this it is tempting to ask whether the much talked about ‘revival of Pakistani cinema’ is over. Or did it even exist?

Watch our video and let us know what you think.

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