Pakistan nominates first film for Oscar in 50 years

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Pakistan’s struggling film industry has put forward a film for the Oscars for the first time in half a century, officials said on Monday.

This move shows a potential for revival of the film industry.

“The Pakistani Academy Selection Committee has selected ‘Zinda Bhaag’ as the first Pakistani film in over fifty years to be submitted for Oscar consideration in the ‘Foreign Language Film Award’ category at the 86th Academy Awards,” said a statement issued by the selectors.

In addition to Zinda Bhaag (Flee Alive), a further three films were submitted by Pakistan’s film industry to for consideration: Chambeli, Josh and Lamha.

The selection is a comedy-thriller about three young men trying to escape boredom in their everyday lives.

The film is directed and written by Meenu Gaur and Farjad Nabi, and is produced by Mazhar Zaidi, featuring Indian born Bollywood stalwart Naseeruddin Shah, as well as Amna Ilyas and Khurram Patras in leading roles.

Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, chairwoman of the selection committee, hailed the nomination.

“Pakistan will finally have a film in contention this year at the Academy Awards and I feel proud that today we are taking a small step towards recognizing our own film makers,” the statement quoted Chinoy as saying.

“Zinda Bhaag is proof of the fact that sheer will, passion and talent can achieve incredible feats, and I would like to congratulate the team behind the film on a compelling and cinematic film,” she said.

Zaidi, the film's producer, added: “For the Zinda Bhaag cast and crew that comprised mostly of first-timers to film making, this is a superlative achievement. This will be a great boost for the newly regenerating Pakistani film industry.”

Pakistan has previously submitted just two motion pictures for Oscar consideration.

In 1959, “Jago Hua Savera” was submitted by Director A.J. Kardar and in 1963, the film “Ghunghat” was submitted by Director Khawaja Khurshid Anwar. But neither film secured an Oscar nomination.

The movie hits the cinemas on September 20.

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