2022 has been a roller coaster year for Pakistani cinema. While the year started off with some duds, filmmakers released projects that they had been working on since the pandemic started. As the year ends, we at PakistaniCinema.Net have compiled a list of our favourite films of the year.
These are in no particular order:
The Legend of Maula Jatt
Let’s get the obvious out of the way. “The Legend of Maula Jatt” has been a bona fide critical and commercial success. It’s the highest grossing film in the history of Pakistan and it’s still chugging along.
It has set the bar high when it comes to action choreography, screenplay writing, cinematography, and simply delivering epic cinema. Bilal Lashari and Nasir Adeeb Sahab have delivered the hit of the decade. The Legend of Maula Jatt has placed itself among the classics of Pakistani cinema.
As Noori Natt put it, “Swaad Aaya Hai Sohneya”.
Sarmad Sultan Khoosat’s meditation on female frustration and loneliness left the audience spellbound. While by no means a blockbuster, “Kamli” sustained a near 2-month run with consistent returns and grossed nearly twice its budget.
The film included a career best performance by Saba Qamar, and an incredible performance by Sania Saeed which is arguably one of the best ever in the history of Pakistani films.
“Kamli” used folklore and subtle storytelling to bring us one of the best films, not just of the year, but of the history of Pakistani films.
A Cannes darling, a national controversy, a celebrated and reviled oddity; “Joyland” is all of these and more. A film with so many detractors and so many supporters, probably has something interesting about it. And it does.
Saim Sadiq’s debut feature, which he himself described as reminding one of the average family (a remark for which he received a lot of ridicule and vitriol), lays bare a lot of problems with Pakistani society which lie just beneath the surface.
“Joyland” is about a specifically Pakistani experience. It talks about problems which are rooted in Pakistani society. It’s just the latest in a long line of art which has been part and parcel of Pakistan’s cultural history from Manto’s “Siyaah Haashiye” to Siddique Salik’s “Pressure Cooker” to Josh Malihabadi’s “Yaadon Ki Baaraat”.
For simply being that; something you can’t ignore; it is one of the best films of the year.
“Doda” gave a voice to Balochi cinema after 50 years. It wasn’t just a new film, it was a celebration of Balochi arts and culture, past and present. “Doda” didn’t just feature a great script, it also featured some of the best actors from Balochistan; faces that you or I would’ve never gotten to see if not for “Doda”.
With a relatable, underdog story, the film tackled poverty, addiction, the plight of the working class, and relished in the joys of everyday life. It’s the first film I’ve seen personally which harkened back to the days when everyone from the labourers to the elite could gather to enjoy.
The fact that almost no one from the film industry supported this film, and that it wasn’t promoted as a revival of regional cinema is an eyesore. “Doda” deserves better. It’s one of the best films of the year.
London Nahi Jaunga and Quaid-e-Azam Zindabad
The only two dependable teams in Pakistani cinema came together this Eid Ul Azha to give us smash hits. Humayun Saeed’s “London Nahi Jaunga” and Nabeel Qureshi and Fizza Ali Meerza’s “Quaid e Azam Zindabad” brought audiences rushing into theaters to see what was in store.
While neither film was the best product of either of the two teams, but they definitely edged out most of what Pakistani cinema had to offer this year. Quaid e Azam Zindabad’s fantastical plot and London Nahi Jaunga’s commercial appeal guaranteed a fun experience for the entire family.
We at PakistaniCinema.Net hope 2023 brings even better films for all of us to enjoy, and to show the world what we are capable of.