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2 Aug

Is any Pakistani film worthy of an Oscar selection this year?

With the Pakistani Academy Selection Committee sitting once again to select an official choice of film for Oscar consideration in the ‘Foreign Language Film Award’ category at the 90th Academy Awards, it will mark the fourth consecutive year that a film has been sent for the coveted Oscars.

However, while in the last few years we have had films like Zinda Bhaag, Dukhtar, MOOR, and Mah-e-Mir representing the best of Pakistani cinema to the Academy –which focused more on the art of film than the business side of it – do we have anything this Oscar year –which runs from October of last year to this year’s September– that could be celebrated on a platform like the Academy Awards?

Although the committee will choose their selection by September, here are our picks from the rather limited options of films that can possibly make the cut:

Jeewan Hathi

 

Starring Samiya Mumtaz, Hina Dilpazeer, Naseeruddin Shah, Saife Hassan, and Adnan Jaffar, the film’s promising cast was not enough to win the hearts of the audience. However, its dark-humour and outlook of the frailty of modern day relationships could make it a possible entry this year. Plus, if nothing else, the stellar acting by almost everyone in the film, makes it a worthy contender.

 

Rahm

Based on William Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure, the film starring Sanam Saeed, Sunil Shankar, and Sajid Hasan became yet another narrative that didn’t do well for the audience, partly because of its dark ethos. However, hailed by critics as a nuanced interpretation of a Shakespearean ‘Problem Play,’ the film may be an interesting option for the committee to select.

 

Chalay Thay Saath

Although made as a film that was hoped to do well commercially, Chalay Thay Saath is one of the very few examples of Pakistani cinema, which stood out more for its aesthetic sensibilities than the script. However, with a cast like Syra Shahroz, Canadian actor Kent S. Leung, Mansha Pasha, and Zhalay Sarhadi, not being able to save it, the delightful visuals of Hunza and Northern Pakistan may still be able to work its magic on the committee.

The committee is chaired by two-time Academy Award winning filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, and includes other members such as Jerjees Seja, Nadeem Mandviwalla, Asim Raza, Momina Duraid, Talat Hussain, Sakina Samo, Rizwan Beyg, Mohammad Hanif, and Ali Hamza.

Shahjehan Saleem

The author is Deputy Editor at Something Haute as well as a professor in the Media Sciences department at SZABIST, Karachi. Socio-cultural theories and geography fill up the rest of his time.