General Information[edit | edit source]


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During the 1930s, films made in Lahore were strongly influenced by those made in Hollywood, not just with respect to their stories or action or drama, but also the acting, the makeup, and the wardrobe selection.

With this progressive intention, A.R. Kardar ass M. Ismail started a studio named United People’s in Lahore.Actors who worked for the studios included Heera Laal, Gul Hameed, Nazeer, Pran and Ahmed Deen, while the actresses were mainly Kaushalya Devi, Gulzaar and Mumtaaz. Many of the films produced had English titles, although Urdu titles were also used. Indian cinema workers succeeded in equipping themselves with the needed technology, and started producing films with sound earlier than the Pakistani cinema did.

In Lahore, the pioneer of films with sound was Hakeem Ram Parsaad, who made Heer Raajha (1932), starring M. Ismail, Rafiq Ghaznavi, Nazeer, and Anwari. This was the last film directed by Kardar in Lahore; from here, he moved to Calcutta and then to Bombay.

The 1950s

The first Pakistani feature film, Teri Yaad, premièred at the Parbhat Theater in Lahore. It starred Asha Posley as the heroine and Nasir Khan, who was Dilip Kumar's brother, as the hero. The lyrics were written and the music was composed by Inayat Ali Nath. The film was produced by Dewan Pictures, owned by Dewan Sardari Lal, and directed by Daud Chand.and LUQMAN

Over the next few years, the Lahore-made films would establish audience patronage in the local theatres. On April 7, 1950, a film called Do Ansoo was released and became the first Pakistani Urdu film to celebrate Silver Jubilee from the Pakistani film industry. It starred Santosh Kumar, Ajmal, and Allaudin as well as the newcomer actress Sabiha Khanum, who had also appeared in several other films over the previous months. The music was composed by Mubarak. Sheikh Lateef produced the film for Naubahar Films, and it was directed by Anwar Kamal Pasha.

On April 29, 1951, a film called Chanwey became the first film made by female director, Madam Noor Jehan. It starred her, along with Santosh Kumar, Jahangir, and Ghulam Muhammad. The music was composed by Feroz Nizami. The film was produced by Madam Noor Jehan's husband Syed Shaukat Hussain Rizvi for their own Shahnoor Studios, and the script was written by Imtiaz Ali Taj.

Another landmark was achieved in the film industry, when an Urdu film called Sassi was released in June 3, 1954. It became the first Pakistani film to run for over 50 weeks and the film attained Golden Jubilee status. It starred Sabiha Khanum, Sudhir, Asha Posley, Nazar, and Saleem Raza. The music was composed by Baba G.A. Chishti. The film was produced by J. C. Anand for Ever Ready Productions, and directed by Daud Chand.

On March 12, 1956, a film Umar Marvi, was released by Fazlani Films. It became the first film made in the Sindhi language. It starred Nighat Sultana and Fazlani. The music was composed by Ghulam Nabi Lateef. The film was produced by Fazlani and directed by Shaikh Hasan.

On July 17, 1958, film journalist Ilyas Rasheedi launched an annual event called the Nigar Awards for outstanding performance in various categories of film-making. The event was showcased to give awards recognizing the achievements of all who worked in the industry. It has become Pakistan’s premier movie award.

The 1960s

During the 1960s, the film director Munshi Dil and the film producer Agha G.A. Gul's Urdu ilm Azra was the first coloured film of Pakistani cinema. All the songs of the film were hits[citation needed] which were performed by (Jan-e-Baharan) Neelo, Ejaz, Laila, M. Ismail, and Naeem Hashmi.

The film director Zahir Raihanalso made the Urdu film Sangam, which was the first Pakistani full length and coloured film.It was released on April 23, 1964. It starred Rozi, Haroon (actor)|Haroon, Samita, and Khalil. It is also said by some people that the film Mala was the first Pakistani, colored cinemascope film[citation needed]. Santosh Kumar and Sabiha Khanum starred in Naila, one of the first colored films from West Pakistan. The music was composed by Ataur Rahman. The film was produced and directed by Zaheer Rehan for Sunny Circle Presentations.

On May 26, 1961, Kay Productions released a film titled Bombay Wallah, the only Pakistani film to have the same name as one of the cities of India.This film was censored by the censor board of Pakistan.

In 1962, a film on the Palestine issue by the name of Shaheed was made, starring Talish. It was an instant hit. During this same period in 1963, Mussarat Nazir, a popular actress jerked the film industry and broke countless hearts by emigrating to Canada after marrying a doctor at the height of her career. Her last film Bahadur was left unfinished, but during this time, Syed Kamal's debut as an actor in the film Tauba became an instant success.

In September, 1965, following the war between India and Pakistan, all Indian films were taken off the screen from cinemas in Pakistan and a complete ban was imposed on the Indian films[citation needed] .This ban still exists. However, the CDs of these Indian films are easily available in Pakistan.These Indian films can also be enjoyed on television on certain private channels of Pakistan. The 1960s saw the introduction of Waheed Murad, who joined the Pakistani film industry and launched his cinema career with a bang and became the Marlon Brando and Elvis Presley of Pakistan[citation needed]. In 1966 the film Armaan was released and became a super-hit and one of the most memorable films of the Pakistan film industry[citation needed]. It was also the first Pakistani film to complete 75 weeks (Platinum Jubilee) in the cinemas[citation needed]. Armaan's musical score was written by Pakistani composer, Sohail Rana.

Actor Nadeem (real name Nazeer Beg), received instant success with his debut film Chakori in 1967. Looks and mannerisms similar to those of Dilip Kumar accompanied by his personal charisma allowed him to secure a prosperous career. He was a very professional actor. His professionalism was also accepted by his colleagues.In 1967, film director Habib conceived the idea to make the first Pakistani horror film, Zinda Laash which received great reviews and became a big hit in the industry . It was also the first X-rated film in Pakistan.It starred Nadeem, Shabnam, and Rehan Qavi.

Eastern Films Magazine, edited by Said Haroon, became the most popular magazine for film buffs in Pakistan. Its peak coincided with The Golden Age of Karachi Cinema. Among the interviews, film reviews, and gossip was a cheeky questions and answers section, Yours Impishly, modeled by the sub-editor Asif Noorani after I. S. Johar's page in India's Filmfare magazine[citation needed] .

On January 3, 1969, Neela Parbat, the first adult's Pakistani film, was released[citation needed] . It starred Mohammed Ali, Husna, Shahnawaz (Senior), Komal, Talish, and Kamal Irani. It was produced and directed by Ahmad Basheer for Film Utopia and the music was composed by Piya Rang Qadir.

In October, 1969, writer, producer, and director Riaz Shahid offered the distribution rights of Zarqa (released October 17) in the Middle East to the Palestinian guerrilla organisation, Al Fatah , whose activities were also depicted in the film. The film also featured a sequence where the actress Neelo was forced to dance against her will, apparently based on the real life incident that had taken place on February 12, 1965. The song that goes with this dance was Habib Jalib’s famous poem Neelo, inspired by that incident:

Raqs zanjeer pehen ke bhi kiya jata hai. . . . Urdu: رقص زنجیر پہن کے بھی کیا جاتا ہے۔ ۔ ۔ English translation: "One can also be made to dance in shackles..."

The 1970s Released on February 7, 1971, Dosti turned out to be the first Lollywood film to complete 100 weeks of success at the box office. It was named the Diamond Jubilee film of the Pakistani film industry. It starred Ejaz Durrani, Shabnam, Husna, Rahman, and Saqi. The music was composed by A. Hameed. The film was produced by Ejaz Durrani for Punjab Pictures, and directed by Shareef Nayyar.

The makers of Tehzeeb, released on November 20, 1971, were asked to change the lyrics with a reference to Misr (Urdu word for Eygpt) that might prove detrimental to diplomatic relations of Eygypt and Pakistan.

In 1976, the first Balochi film, Hamalo Mah Gunj was due to be released, but could not be released, as an angry mob in Quetta burned down the cinema hall at which it was meant to be displayed.

Javed Jabbar's Beyond the Last Mountain, released on December 2, 1976 was Pakistan’s first venture into English film-making, and seemed destined to be its last. The film, as well as its Urdu version, Musafir, bombed at the box office. It starred Usman Peerzada, Zahoor Ahmad, Subhani Bayounus, and Raja Jameel. The music was composed by Sohail Rana.

Aina, released on March 18, 1977, marked a distinct symbolic break between the liberal Bhutto years and the increasingly conservative Zia regime. It starred Nadeem, Shabnam, Rehan, and Qavi. After over 400 weeks in the box office, the showing of Aina came to an end as the film was taken off the 'Scala' in Karachi, where it ran for more than 4 years. It has been the most popular film in the country's history so far. The music was composed by Robin Ghosh. The film was produced by A. R. Shamsi for Kashif Films Ltd and directed by Nazrul Islam.

The 1980s

Following the new registration laws for film producers in 1980s, which required film directors to be degree holders, the film industry took a sharp nose-dive. Films dropped from a total output of 98 films in 1979 (including 42 in Urdu) to only 58 films (26 in Urdu) in 1980. With the release of Maulajut in 1979, which tells the story of its eponymous hero's blood feud with the local gangster Noori Nath, the 1980s saw the rise of the Punjabi film industry and growing censorship, which slowly killed off the Urdu film industry. Punjabi cinema over-shadowed the large screen, boosted by the growth of Punjab's smaller towns and large-scale rural-urban migration. Violence, rather than sex, became the driving force of films as middle-class audiences drift away from increasingly dilapidated and rowdy cinemas.

The icons of this new cinema were Sultan Rahi and his statuesque counterpart in countless films, Anjuman. At the same time, soft core pornography became the forte of Pushto films, courtesy of Musarrat Shaheen, Chakori, and powerful politicians whose cinemas are able to get around the censor's sharp scissors. This Gundasa culture and mild pornography threw away the soft and romantic image of Lollywood.

1984 was the year of Waheed Murad, the chocolate hero. The year saw an unprecedented revival of his films on the silver screen, some of which were showing to pack audiences, forcing the director of his unfinished film, Hero to complete the film for release early in 1985, with a number of "cheat" shots.

Saeed Rizvi's Shaani, was Pakistan's first science fiction film. With elaborate special effects, it surpassed everyone's expectations. It starred actors Sheri Malik, Babra Sharif, and Ghulam Mohiuddin, and was released in 1987. Later, this film was also selected for the International Film Awards in Russia.

The 1990s

There were 11 studios in the 1970s and 1980s that made over 100 films annually. The growing trends of cable television had sapped the Lollywood's strength. The annual output got dropped to around 40 films, all produced by a single studio.

Most of the Lollywood films were independent productions. Studio productions were there, yet very few of them were made every year. Lollywood peaked in the mid 1990s, a period during which films such as Syed Noor's Jeeva and Samina Peerzada's Inteha (Urdu word for Extreme) were released. These revived the Pakistani cinema, but only for a short time. Other films of this period worth mentioning were, Deewane Tere Pyar Ke, Mujhe Chand Chahiye, Sangum, Tere Pyar Mein, and Ghar Kab Aao Gey.

Controversy was also raging over the filming of Jinnah in the late 1990s, a film produced by Akbar S. Ahmed and directed by Jameel Dehalvi. Objections were being raised over the choice of actor Christopher Lee as the actor portraying Jinnah, inclusion of Indian Shashi Kapoor in the cast, and the experimental nature of the script.

In the late 1980s, Anjuman got married to Mobeen Malik and quit signing any new films. Then came the thunderbolt that stunned the industry: Sultan Rahi was murdered in 1996. Lollywood became immersed in a river of sadness.The Punjabi film production came to complete halt. The industry was saved from complete destruction due to the Urdu films that still remained in the production. However, even Urdu films were in a rut as renowned director Sangeeta was at home tending to her children. Javaid Faisal was pursued by producers, but nothing came of it, and meanwhile, Nazrul Islam expired, dealing another massive blow to an already reeling industry.

Thus the path was cleared for an ambitious Syed Noor to step up and attempt to fill the directorial vacuum. Then came Choorian, a Punjabi film. The Punjabi film industry was revived by the storming success of Syed Noor's film in 1998, starring Saima and Moammar Rana. It grossed Rs. 180 million. Suddenly, the famous industry guns that had fallen silent following Sultan Rahi's death, returned with a roar of new announcements signaling an exciting new wave of Punjabi cinema. People realized that whatever the case, life was meant to go on, even after Rahi's loss.

[edit] The 21st Century

In July 2002, Javed Sheikh's Yeh Dil Aap Ka Huwa(Urdu for This Heart is Yours) starring Moammar Rana and Ayesha Sana, was released and had grossed over Rs. 200 million (US $3.4 million) across Pakistan. However, the short period of successes in the industry could not keep the cinemas afloat, and the same industry that at one time produced more than a 100 films annually a decade ago was now reduced to merely 32 per year, in the year 2003[citation needed], with only one partial success called Larki Panjaban] (A Punjabi Girl). In August, 2007, a new movie titled Khuda Ke Liye was released. It became popular due to its controversial theme of the current problems faced in Pakistan. It was also released internationally, including in India, where it became the first Pakistani film released after four decades.

Issues[edit | edit source]

Indian film ban n September, 1965, following the war between India and Pakistan, all Indian films were taken off the screen from cinemas in Pakistan, and a complete ban was imposed on Indian films. This protected Pakistan's film industry from its competition in India. However, Indian films are still easily available in Pakistan. Loss of Dhaka After the 1971 war, Pakistan lost its East wing which contained a film studio in Dhaka. This was the second major mishap that happened to the Pakistani cinema industry within a short period of time.

Rivalry instead of Competition

A few years later, a rivalry began between Lahore and Karachi film production centers and the healthy environment started to fade out. Lahore had some sort of an edge over Karachi and soon film people began to move to Lahore. Although the best film processing lab of Pakistan was located at the International Studios in Karachi. The Karachi centre began to lose its colour.

Loss of Cinemas

On the other hand, as a city, Karachi began to grow at a fast pace, and the price of the property shot up significantly. At the peak of Pakistani cinema industry in the mid 1970s, Karachi alone had more than 100 cinema halls and more than 200 films were produced and released each year. Now, fewer than ten of these houses remain. The same happened a little later in Lahore as well. This caused the film industry to loose a lot of revenue, making the industry even less attractive for investment. Many professional financiers left the cinema industry of Pakistan.

Taxes Another problem had been the rate of taxes on the film industry as a whole. This has made investors reluctant, and going to the cinema expensive.

Censor policy Still another problem was the censor policy, which had become very strict in Gen. Zia-ul-Haq's tenure as President (from 1977 to 1988).

VCR introduction

Introduction of Video Cassette Recorder in the late 70s and early 80s provided yet another blow to the already ailing Pakistani cinema. Now, Pakistani film viewers had options:

1) They could watch Indian films which had been banned for about a decade, and the Indian film industry had improved a lot since then.Pakistani film goers fell in love with the Indian films, especially since they were made in Hindi/Urdu and the culture of both Pakistan and India had a lot of similarities, as they both were a single country just a few decades back.

2) They could watch films at the luxury of their own homes.

3) They could watch those films at very inexpensive rates; the whole family could watch any films for a 24-hour rental of Rs 10 (US$ 1 at that time) only, while the cinema ticket cost was about Rs 12 per head. As a result, most people stopped going to cinema halls altogether. Revival attempts

Another attempt of reviving the industry is underway by producing some high quality movies with proper advertising campaigns. Even a few Indian movies are permitted for release. Some people are trying to co-produce films with India, while others from outside the industry, but belonging to the related fields like television and advertising, are also trying to make movies that are different and better from the ordinary films produced in the film industry, now located mainly in Lollywood.

Khuda Kay Liye (In the name of GOD)[edit | edit source]

Main article:khuda kay liye

Shoaib Mansoor's Khuda Ke Liye is a film released on July 20, 2007. The film bundles Pakistan's most established stars with some of the most promising newcomers. Iman Ali, Fawad, Shaan, Naseeruddin Shah, and Hameed Sheikh make their celluloid debut with Khuda Ke Liye while the film will also establish television director Shoaib Mansoor's cinematic first.

The film is about the difficult situation in which the Pakistanis in particular and the Muslims in general are caught up since 9/11.It has been endorsed by Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, who has personally seen the movie. It also became the first movie to be released in India, ending a four decade ban.

Festivals[edit | edit source]

Main article:Kara Film Festival

Languages[edit | edit source]

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  • Urdu
  • English is used very extensively as a medium of expression, thought and business.

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Other Major Languages[edit | edit source]

Ethnic Groups, etc.[edit | edit source]

Organizations[edit | edit source]

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Websites[edit | edit source]

Pakistan's Cultural Events Guide[edit | edit source]

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