10 Years of ‘Zinda Bhaag’; The Film Now is More Relevant Than Ever

Spetember 20 this year marked 10 years of the release of Pakistani film ‘Zinda Bhaag’. The film holds immense significance in the history of Pakistani cinema and here we will take you down the memory lane to re-visit some of ‘Zinda Bhaag’ memories and to see why it should be celebrated even ten years after its release and how it is more relevant today than ever.

Pakistan’s First Oscar Submission After a Gap of 50 Years

Though ‘Zinda Bhaag’ is not the first ever Pakistani feature to be submitted for Academy awards as earlier ‘Jaago Hua Sawera’ (1959) and ‘Ghoongat’ (1963) were also submitted by Pakistan. However, after ‘Ghoongat’, no other Pakistani film was sent for Oscar consideration for next fifty years until ‘Zinda Bhaag’ in 2013. Since ‘Zinda Bhaag’, Pakistan has submitted 9 films over the period of 10 years for Oscar consideration with ‘Joyland’ being the most recent.

Debut Film of Meenu & Farjad

‘Zinda Bhaag’ was debut film of filmmaker duo Meenu Gaur and Farjad Nabi. The duo later helmed ‘Jeevan Hathi’ (2016) and Mahira Khan starrer ‘7 Din Mohabbt In’ (2018). Their next project together was a web-series for Zee5, ‘Qatil Haseenaon Key Naam’ (2021). Meenu later helmed two episodes of season 2 of BBC’s ‘World on Fire’ and is now directing the screen adaptation of Agatha Christie’s novel ‘Murder is Easy’.

Cinema Debut of Amna Ilyas

Though Amna Ilyas shot Sabiha Sumar’s ‘Good Morning Karachi’ way before filming Meenu & Farjad’s ‘Zinda Bhaag’, however, the latter released first in September 2013 and proved to be the cinema debut of acclaimed fashion model who went on to prove her acting prowess later in films like ‘Gardaab’ (2016), ‘Baaji’ (2019) and ‘Ready Steady No’. Her most recent cinema appearance is in ‘Teri Meri Kahaniyaan’.

Winner of Three Lux Style Awards

Out of four film category Awards at LSA 2013, ‘Zinda Bhaag’ won three; Khurram Patras got ‘Best Film Actor Male’ award, Meenu and Farjad received ‘Best Film Director’ award and also the film won the award for “Best Film”.

Naseeruddin Shah’s Comeback After ‘Khuda Ke Liye’

‘Zinda Bhaag’ also represents the part of history of Ind-o-Pak relations when cultural exchange between the two neighbouring countries was at its peak and when artists from both sides of the border were free to work on either side. While many Pakistani musicians, singers and actors were making their mark in Bollywood, Naseeruddin Shah in those days was here in Lahore, not just shooting for his part his part in the film but also for a week long acting workshop with all debutant actors of the film. Can we bring those times back? Sigh!

The Subject is More Relevant Now Than Ever

‘Zinda Bhaag’ centres around the desperate urge of Pakistani youth to find a better future abroad. It explores the business of illegal immigration and how the agents lure unemployed youth with false promises of money and luxury. Pakistan these days is going through sky high inflation with high rates of unemployment and inadequate wages. The brain drain situation of the country has reached new highs as just last year 7,65,000 people left Pakistan for better future. While the educated ones are going through the legal means, those who are underprivileged are often left with no choice but risk their lives through illegal immigration only for the hope of making their family’s lives better (that’s only when they survive the process).

Written by Azadar Kazmi


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