List of Pakistani submissions for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film

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Pakistan submitted its first film for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1959, three years after the incorporation of the category.[1] and submit second time in 1963. The award is given annually by the United States Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to a feature-length motion picture produced outside the United States that contains primarily non-English dialogue.[2] The "Best Foreign Language Film" category was not created until 1956; however, between 1947 and 1955, the Academy presented a non-competitive Honorary Award for the best foreign language films released in the United States.[3]

After the submission of first two films, there was no any submission for fifty years because of the sudden collapse of Pakistani cinema.[4] The growth of Pakistani cinema began from 1947 to 1958 and went through the golden age of films between 1959 and 1977, where good productions were uplifted by many directors, producers and writers. In 1977 the county's political condition became critical due to the overthrowing of the government of Zulifiqar Ali Bhutto by Zia-ul-Haq who bring Sharization in Pakistan.[5] Since then, the Pakistan film industry went through many obstacles and was unable to overcome the consequences, good productions in industry were stopped and Urdu films were merely reached to the cinema. According to the Federal Bureau of Statistics there were at least 700 cinemas operating in the country but the number had declined to less than 170 by 2005.[4]

In 2007, Geo Films took the initiative with concerted efforts for revival of cinema in Pakistan. In 2007, Geo Films released Shoaib Mansoor's Khuda Kay Liye, which became the fresh breath of energy for Pakistan film industry. This single initiative gave confidence to investors and slowly, more multiplexes were built in Pakistan. In 2011, Geo Films further upped its efforts with the launch of Bol. Bol quickly became the highest box office grosser of Pakistan, a record that was held by any other film until the launch in 2013 of the Indian film Dhoom 3, which was distributed by Geo Films in Pakistan. Even though Khuda Kay Liye and Bol were box office hits and critically acclaimed, they couldn't be submitted as Pakistan's entry to Oscar due to the non-functioning Pakistani Academy Selection Committee.

In 2013, Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy was appointed by Pakistani Academy Selection Committee as its chairman to choose one film among those released that year to be submitted as Pakistan's Official entry to Oscars for a nomination for "Best Foreign Language Film" the following year.[6][7] The chosen films, along with their English subtitles, are sent to the Academy, where they are screened for the jury. Before 2013, as no committee was formed, films were sent by directors by themselves. The 1958 Urdu film Jago Hua Savera was Pakistan's first submission, but the film was not selected from the selection process to shortlist and to final five nominations. In 1963 second film Ghunghat also failed to compete in selection process. Since then, no such film was submitted which met the criteria until 2013's Zinda Bhaag which became the first film that was sent for 86th Academy Awards, after the very long gap of submission than any other country.[8] On September 17, 2017, PASC submitted Saawan as an official entry to Oscars for 90th Academy Awards.[9]


The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has invited the film industries of various countries to submit their best film for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film since 1956. The Foreign Language Film Award Committee oversees the process and reviews all the submitted films. Following this, they vote via secret ballot to determine the five nominees for the award. Below is a list of the films that have been submitted by Pakistan for review by the Academy for the award by year and the respective Academy Awards ceremony.

As of 2009, one hundred different countries have submitted films for Oscar consideration in the Best Foreign Language Film category. Pakistan was among the first countries to reenter the competition (countries were first invited to send films in 1956; Pakistan sent its first film in 1959), that have not sent any films in the past forty-five years. Of the one-hundred participant countries, 88 of them have submitted films in the past ten years, while 99 have submitted films in the past forty years. Pakistan is the only country to be absent for such a long time. In 2013 Pakistan submitted their third film after a gap of 50 years.[8]

First film was submitted by Pakistani legendary director and producer Akhtar Jang Kardar and second was submitted by veteran director and music composer Khawaja Khurshid Anwar. The first two Pakistani submissions were musical-dramas in Urdu.

Film title used in nomination Original title Language Director Result Ref.
The Day Shall Dawn Jago Hua Savera - (جاگو ہوا صویرا) Urdu A. J. Kardar Not Nominated [10]
The Veil Ghunghat - (گھونگٹ) Urdu Khawaja Khurshid Anwar Not Nominated [11]
Zinda Bhaag Zinda Bhaag - (زندہ بھاگ) Urdu
Meenu Gaur, Farjad Nabi Not Nominated [12]
Dukhtar Dukhtar - (دختر) Urdu
Afia Nathaniel Not Nominated [13]
Moor Moor - (ماں) Urdu
Jami Not Nominated [14]
Mah e Mir Mah e Mir - (ماہ میر) Urdu Anjum Shahzad Not Nominated [15]
Saawan Saawan - (ساون) Urdu Farhan Alam Not Nominated [16]
Cake کیک Urdu Asim Abbasi Not Nominated [17]

Pakistan's first Oscar submission, The Day Shall Dawn was very much a co-production between the two halves of what was then a geographically divided Pakistani state (now independent Pakistan and Bangladesh). The movie was filmed in Dhaka, East Pakistan (contemporary Bangladesh) by the East Pakistan Film Development Corporation (EPFDC) by a A.J. Kardar from Lahore (in West Pakistan) [10] and scripted in the Urdu language, which is native to the West. The film, which won a major award at the Moscow International Film Festival, was about the daily lives of East Pakistani fishermen. Pakistan's second submission, The Veil,[11] is about the disappearance of a veiled young bride on the day she is scheduled to be married off to a rich young man. The third film Zinda Bhaag was the Punjabi-language comedy drama film, that encounters the life of three young-men trying to get rid of the life miseries[18] and the fourth Dukhtar was a drama-thriller film,[19][20] about a mother and her ten-year-old daughter,[21] who abandon their home to save the girl from an arranged marriage to a tribal leader.[22][23] In 2016, semi-biographical drama film, Mah e Mir was submitted which follows the life of a troubled poet who obsessed himself with 18-century legendary poet Mir Taqi Mir.[24][25]

See also


  • "List of Pakistani Submissions for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film". Pakistani Academy Selection Committee and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy Films. Retrieved 20 December 2014.
  1. ^ "History of the Academy Awards – Page 2". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Archived from the original on 6 April 2008. Retrieved 7 April 2013.
  2. ^ "Rule Thirteen: Special Rules for the Foreign Language Film Award". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Archived from the original on 22 August 2013. Retrieved 2013-08-26.
  3. ^ "History of the Academy Awards – Page 1". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Archived from the original on 13 April 2008. Retrieved 26 July 2012.
  4. ^ a b "Deteriorating Cinema of Pakistan". Diplomatic circle. 19 December 2014. Retrieved 20 December 2014.
  5. ^ Jones, Owen Bennett (2002). Pakistan : eye of the storm. New Haven and London: Yale University Press. pp. 16–7. ... Zia rewarded the only political party to offer him consistent support, Jamaat-e-Islami. Tens of thousands of Jamaat activists and sympathisers were given jobs in the judiciary, the civil service and other state institutions. These appointments meant Zia's Islamic agenda lived on long after he died.
  6. ^ "Sharmeen selected by PASC to its chairman, to seek the oscars after fifty years". NewsWeekPakistan. 19 December 2014. Retrieved 20 December 2014.
  7. ^ "Call For Oscar Submission For Pakistani Filmmakers by PASC". Media Poondi. 3 August 2013. Retrieved 11 December 2014.
  8. ^ a b "Pakistan sends official entry to Oscars after 50 years". Arab News. Retrieved 2013-08-26.
  9. ^ "Saawan selected as Pakistan's submission to Oscars 2018". Dawn Images. Retrieved 14 October 2017.
  10. ^ a b "First Pakistani Picture, made its way to oscar". Dawn News. Retrieved 20 December 2014.
  11. ^ a b "Second film of Pakistan, on the way to Oscars". Retrieved 20 December 2014.
  12. ^ "The Pakistani Academy Selection committee nominates Zinda Bhaag for Oscar consideration". Apnahub. Archived from the original on 21 September 2013. Retrieved 13 September 2013.
  13. ^ "Dukhtar selected for Oscar consideration by Pakistan Committee". 18 September 2014. Retrieved 18 September 2014.
  14. ^ "Oscars: Pakistan Enters 'Moor' in Foreign-Language Film Race". The Hollywood Reporter. 10 September 2015. Retrieved 10 September 2015.
  15. ^ "Mah-e-Mir selected as Pakistan's official submission to 2017 Oscars". The Express Tribune. 22 September 2016. Retrieved 22 September 2016.
  16. ^ Frater, Patrick (17 September 2017). "Desert Drama 'Saawan' Selected by Pakistan for Oscar Contention". Variety. Retrieved 17 September 2017.
  17. ^ "'Cake' submitted as Pakistan's official entry to Oscars 2019". The Express Tribune. 18 September 2018. Retrieved 18 September 2018.
  18. ^ "Zinda Bhaag reflects new generation of Pak filmmakers and viewers: Meenu Gaur and Farjad Nabi". Sirijana Mitra Das. The Times of India. 23 September 2013. Retrieved 20 December 2013.
  19. ^ "Catching Up With Afia Nathaniel, Director of Dukhtar". PASTe. Valentina. Retrieved 9 September 2014.
  20. ^ "Afia Nathaniel on Rugged Journey to Bring Pakistani Child Marriage Drama to Screen". Variety. Retrieved 9 September 2014.
  21. ^ "Dukhtar: A Woman's Story in Pakistan". The Diplomat. Soniya Rehman. Retrieved 23 August 2014.
  22. ^ "From a mother to her dukhtar". The Express Tribune. Rafay Mahmood. Retrieved 11 July 2014.
  23. ^ "Dukhtar - a voice against unwilling tradition". Voice of America (Urdu). Retrieved 17 July 2014.
  24. ^ "Pakistan Sends 'Mah E Mir' to the Oscars". Variety. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
  25. ^ "Pakistan selects Mah-e-Mir as entry for 2017 Oscars". Geo News. Retrieved 22 September 2014.

External links

  • The Official Academy Awards Database
  • The Motion Picture Credits Database
  • IMDb Academy Awards Page
  • Shermeen Obaid Chinnoy films, PASC
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