Pakistani Cinema at World Stage 2022

“Joyland”, “Pasoori” and Arooj Aftab Have Carried Pakistan to the World Stage in 2022


Pakistan seems to be having a rare moment on the world stage where all the buzz is positive. One hopes this momentum gives way to even further growth and recognition. Right now, is the time to revel in our success, but also to remember that we have a long way to go.

An article counting down the feathers in our collective cap that have made 2022 Pakistan’s year on the world stage!

Arooj Aftab’s Grammy Win

Arooj Aftab’s Grammy win for Best Global Music Performance echoed throughout Pakistan. Her incredible rendition of Hafeez Hoshiarpuri’s beautiful “Mohabbat Karne Waalay Kam Na Hongay” showed that she had incredibly respect and admiration for its depth.

Arooj Aftab has been making music for nearly a decade now. However, she gained public attention when former US President Barack Obama featured her on his playlist.

She’s given traditional classical and folk music a very unique expression through her music. Please listen to her rendition of “Man Kunto Maula” if you want to know more.

Pasoori’s Global Appeal

We’ve all been enraptured by Ali Sethi’s composition for Coke Studio, and also by Shae Gill’s incredible vocals. However, “Pasoori” became a global hit beyond anyone’s imagination.

Currently sitting at 151 million views and counting, the song has gone on to become a hit in India, Bangladesh, and the US. It even cracked the Spotify Global list as well as the Spotify Viral 50.

It’s poetic justice that a song fueled by the frustration of existing borders has cast a spell so far across the pond.

There seems to be no stopping the song yet, and it’s on its way to becoming one of the biggest music videos of the year.

Joyland at Cannes

“Joyland” is Pakistan’s first film to be screened at Cannes in 40 years (the only previous entry being “Blood of Hussein”). While that is a great honour, the film receiving a 10-minute standing ovation as well as the Un Certain Regard Jury Prize is spectacular.

Saim Sadiq’s directorial debut stars veterans like Salman Peerzada (the Hussein from Blood of Hussein) Sania Saeed, and Sarwat Gilani. However, it’s Alina Khan, Rasti Farooq, and Ali Junejo who are the centre of the film that challenges gender norms and our preconceived notions about love and society at large.

“Joyland”, “Pasoori”, and Arooj Aftab’s Grammy win are just tastes of what Pakistan has to offer the world. They all share the common theme of love breaking borders. There are still so many stories and subjects right beneath the surface that we can cast our unique perspective on.

More Pakistani Representation on the World Stage

Along with our own projects, Pakistanis are also getting greater representation in purely commercial projects in the digital space.

Ms. Marvel

“Ms. Marvel” is the next Disney + series airing soon. It stars Iman Vellani, a Canadian-born Pakistani making her small screen debut.

The show has been co-directed by Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, and also co-stars Nimra Bucha, Fawad Khan, Alyy Khan, and Mehwish Hayat have been confirmed as cast members. PTV veteran Samina Ahmed is also rumored to be in the cast.

The Crown

The hit Netflix series about the life of Queen Elizabeth II will star Humayun Saeed in its fifth season. Humayun Saeed will play the role of Dr. Hasnat Khan, a British Pakistani surgeon who was known for his romantic relationship with Princess Diana from 1995-97.

Resident Evil (The Series)

Ahad Raza Mir will be making his Netflix debut shortly as well with the Resident Evil Netflix series. The series is going to be a far cry from the film series which was not based on the storyline from the games.


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A post shared by Ahad Raza Mir (@ahadrazamir)

Written by Yousuf Mehmood


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