NEW YORK: The second edition of the Pakistan Film Festival in New York came to an end on Sunday night, after enthusiastic audiences were treated to some of the highest-grossing Pakistani films over the last two days.
Many popular Pakistani celebrities participated in the festival as well. It kicked off on Saturday when four film, namely 7 Din Mohabbat In, Parchi, Verna and Cake, were screened to packed houses. On Sunday, three more films, Na Band Na Baraati, La La Begum and Punjab Nahi Jaungi — were shown.
“It has been exciting hosting the second Pakistan Film Festival and movie artists from Pakistan and ensuring our latest movies find an international platform,” Pakistani Ambassador to the UN Maleeha Lodhi said in her concluding remarks at the Asia Society hall. “This festival is special, as it brought our films to a global audience, showing Pakistan in a light that the world rarely sees in Western media.”
Lodhi added, “The energy and dynamism of our emerging film industry reflects the energy and spirit of the people of Pakistan.”
Ambassador Lodhi profusely thanked the stars, including Mahira Khan, Mikaal Zulfikar, Mehwish Hayat and Aamina Sheikh, for taking time out of their busy schedules and traveling to New York to participate in the festival. “You did Pakistan proud,” she said, as loud applause rang out.
Lodhi also congratulated the officers and staff of the Pakistan Mission in New York for their hard work in ensuring the success of the festival. On behalf of the visiting actors, Zulfikar thanked Lodhi for her initiative to hold the festival as part of the efforts to promote cultural diplomacy and project Pakistan’s soft power.
One of the highlights of Sunday evening was an animated conversation with the two-time Oscar-winner Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, who discussed her future documentary projects. The film-maker revealed an upcoming film about Lahore activist Syed Ghulam Fatima, who is tenaciously fighting for the rights of men, women and children working at brick kilns in poor conditions. Another documentary is about women being trained in counter-terrorism operations in Nowshera, Khyber Pukhtunkhwa. In addition, Obaid-Chinoy said she is working on Home 1947 – a documentary on the impact of partition on migrating populations.
The event was conducted by Rachel Cooper, director for Global Performing Arts and Special Cultural initiatives. It was rounded off with a sterling performance by singer Zeb Bangash, who entertained the gathering with some of her hit songs. Bangash is part of the first generation of Pakistani musicians to have established themselves internationally.
Since assuming charge as Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to UN, Ambassador Lodhi has undertaken several cultural projects and organised a series of events to promote Pakistan’s image and highlight its modern and vibrant culture, as well its ancient roots.
“Cultural diplomacy is a vital part of any diplomat’s job, which is aimed at winning hearts and minds,” she said, adding Pakistan has much to offer in this regard and that it is a diplomat’s responsibility is to ensure that this is projected in the international arena.
Have something to add to the story? Share it in the comments below.