Zinda Bhaag: Pakistan nominates first film for Oscar in 50 years

Published: September 16, 2013
 In addition to Zinda Bhaag, a further three films were submitted to the committee: Chambeli, Josh and Lamha. PHOTO: FILE

In addition to Zinda Bhaag, a further three films were submitted to the committee: Chambeli, Josh and Lamha. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has put forward a film for the Oscars for the first time in nearly 50 years as its struggling film industry shows signs of revival, officials said Monday.

“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,” a statement issued by the selectors said.

In addition to Zinda Bhaag, a further three films were submitted to the committee for consideration: Chambeli, Josh and Lamha.

The selection was made last week through secret ballot and Zinda Bhaag was the “overwhelming film of choice of the Committee members”.

The film is a comedy-thriller about three young men trying to escape the drudgery of their everyday lives through the use of unconventional methods available to them.

The movie hits the cinemas on September 20.

The film’s narrative is familiar to everyday Pakistanis. The protagonists have unfulfilled desires to achieve feats that are out of their reach and a yearning to prove themselves despite the hurdles places before them.

Yet an inescapable sense of melancholy sets in when they discover their opportunities are dictated by forces outside of their control.

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

Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, chairperson 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 recognising our own film makers,” the statement quoted Chinoy as saying.

In 2012, Chinoy herself became the first Pakistani to claim Hollywood’s most coveted gong for co-directing a documentary about victims of acid attacks.

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 AJ Kardar and in 1963, the film “Ghunghat” was submitted by Director Khawaja Khurshid Anwar. But neither film secured an Oscar nomination.

A record number of 71 films were submitted for Oscar consideration in the Best Foreign Language Film category at the 85th Academy Awards held in 2012.

The number of internationally submitted films for this category is expected to be even greater this year, according to the the Pakistani committee.

Only five films from across the world can make the final nominations.

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Reader Comments (34)

  • expaki
    Sep 16, 2013 - 3:21PM

    Zinda Bhaag YES, yes but where?


  • Water Bottle
    Sep 16, 2013 - 3:39PM

    Please. This is a nonsensical and misleading title.

    The film is just an official submission to Oscars. It’s not nominated anywhere.

    It’s like me applying for the post of an astronaut. it doesn’t mean, I am going to be on mars.


  • Sep 16, 2013 - 4:18PM

    It’s a great honor for Pakistan. After so many years Pakistani film industry can survived now. I’ve heard that some of actors in this movie are auto-rickshaw drivers.


  • Anon
    Sep 16, 2013 - 4:24PM

    The problem with our country is, that we over-appreciate everything we do. I think it might be linked to inferiority complex our nation feels. Like “Water Bottle” said its a submission but every other TV channel/newspaper is saying nomination. Use common sense Oscar nominations aren’t even out yet people.


  • Cheeko Beeko
    Sep 16, 2013 - 4:28PM

    “The actual name of the film should have been “Jan bacha kay Zinda Bhaag”.


  • Ramis
    Sep 16, 2013 - 4:36PM

    @Water Bottle
    Yes, but what if hundreds of people from all over the world apply for the post of astronaut each year, but you are the first Pakistani in 50 years to apply for this post? Won’t it be newsworthy for fellow Pakistanis?


  • J
    Sep 16, 2013 - 4:43PM

    Good Job… at least a start


  • freud
    Sep 16, 2013 - 4:54PM

    @Water Bottle – Read the headline again. It says, “Pakistan Nominates…”.
    It is like out of submissions made to a committee, Pakistan nominates you for a degree in English but it doesn’t mean you will ever be able to do it.


  • Abdullah Shirazi
    Sep 16, 2013 - 6:28PM

    Yes it is a great development. The story has correctly represented the fact. Those doubting check google. Every year India also submits one film and its a great honour for that film. Aamir Khan’s Lagaan was submitted by India and last year it was Barfi. Pakistan has done it first time in 50 years and its a positive development. Stop creating nonsensical arguments. Lets enjoy this positive step for local filmmakers.


  • Water Bottle
    Sep 16, 2013 - 6:38PM


    Sorry. Pakistan cannot nominate anything to Oscars.

    Pakistan can only submit.


  • Plaintalk
    Sep 16, 2013 - 7:01PM

    Some committee filled up a form and sent it to the Academy and it makes ET news not once but repeatedly. Like applying to Harvard and then pretending to have graduated with a doctoral degree. This for a film no one has seen. Talk about grasping on straws.


  • gp65
    Sep 16, 2013 - 7:14PM


    @freud: “@Water Bottle – Read the headline again. It says, “Pakistan Nominates…”.
    Nomination and submission is not the same thing at all. This movie has been submitted to Oscar by Pakistan. Only the Oscar committee can nominate a film so the headline has incorrectly used the word nominate.

    @Abdullah Shirazi: “Yes it is a great development. The story has correctly represented the fact. Those doubting check google”

    YEs please check google. Any non-Pakistani source will say that Pakistan submitted a film for Oscar. Any country can do so based on criteria outlined by Oscar. A film being nominated implies that it has been shortlisted among the top 5 movies in that category. That has not happened as yet. The headline therefore is misleading.

    @adnan ahmad: Why is it an honour for Pakistan if they submit a film for Oscars? It is not as though it has been short listed by the Oscar committee? If you say that this is a positive development, I can certainly understand. I also find it strange that the submission for Oscar is a movie that has not even been released in Pakistani cinemas yet.


  • np
    Sep 16, 2013 - 7:17PM

    @Ramis: It can be newsworthy. What is being questioned is not whether this is newsworthy or not. What is being questioned is whether the headlne is accurate or not. OScar submission is not the same as Oscar nomination (which implies that the movie has been shortlisted by Oscar committee). I doubt @Water Bottle would have written anything if the headline had said ‘Pakistan submits first film” instead of “Pakistan nominates first film’.


  • Anon
    Sep 16, 2013 - 7:20PM

    Whatever status and popularity this film has achieved is only because of one good Indian actor in it. Otherwise Pakistani actors are just duds.


  • Siddiqui
    Sep 16, 2013 - 7:26PM

    The film must have lot of satire and sarcasm on the current state of affairs of Pakistan. Take the example of ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ and ‘Saving Face’. The film got to have lot to oxymoron story which taunts and tarnish the country’s image but the vibes seems like they are the factual reality. Anyways best of luck to the film and best of luck to the resurgent and reincarnated Pakistan film industry.Recommend

  • Saeed
    Sep 16, 2013 - 9:20PM

    Zinda Bhaag Team & TV channels & Newspapers are misleading the Pakistanis. It violates many rules of oscars nomination. it can bring very bad name to Pakistan & Pakistan film industry. Read brief details here.


    u can find more detail at academy awards site.


  • expaki
    Sep 16, 2013 - 10:17PM

    @Saeed: “it can bring very bad name to Pakistan” Saeed Sahib, with all due respect and honor to your comment, do you think group of three four can add more to that?


  • Raj - USA
    Sep 16, 2013 - 10:27PM

    Don’t know about “Zinda Baag”, and probably won’t be able to watch it in USA, but I watched “Wadjda” yesterday. It is a very good movie, written and directed by the first Saudi Arabian female filmmaker and is about a 10 year old Saudi Arabian girl who wants to ride a bicycle in Saudi Arabia. Performance of Waad Mohammed, the 10 year old girl who acted as Wadjda was excellent. All others also did very well. I am sure most in Pakistan, with the exception of religious extremists will like it. Watch it if you can. I recommend it highly.


  • freud
    Sep 16, 2013 - 11:05PM

    @saeed with due respect, why did you not speak up for the last 50 years when there was no Pakistan committee for Oscars ? now some people have made an effort and done something positive, you are suddenly patriotic ? if you care so much about ‘bad name’ etc. then get up and do something about it. i am a proud pakistani and i am proud of this achievment by our young filmmakers. we should encourage every success instead of picking out faults.


  • really?
    Sep 17, 2013 - 1:57AM

    SO you are proud that they selected a movie that d not meet documented criteria (it should have run in the cinema of home country for 7 days minimum – whereas it has not even been released)? proud of the fact they are breaking Oscars rules and using the submission itself for advertising, proud that the movie producers are misrepresenting themselves as having been nominated to Oscar (i.e. shortlisted among top 5) when no such thing has happened? Those are the points that @saeed was making.

    It is quite different if you express happiness that after 50 years, the country finally has an Oscar submission. There is no need to lie. Also if you had read the url you would have realized that movie is not truly Pakistani. The director and writer is Indian, the editor is Indian, thetop actor (who also is an investor and made many changes to the script) is also Indian.


  • Rashid
    Sep 17, 2013 - 3:48AM


    Thanks for the recommend. I will definitely try to watch this movie. Is it available in the net? for a fee?


  • Raj - USA
    Sep 17, 2013 - 10:16AM

    I am not sure if it is available on the net. It could be available in Netflix. If not I am sure it will become available in Netflix soon. You may try Hulu also. I watched it in a theater and it is screened in all major cities in USA. It is also attracting a good crowd. Hope you are able to watch it.


  • Murthy
    Sep 17, 2013 - 1:03PM

    Pakistan decries everything western and especially the US. Then how is it that they are submitting a film to an organization in an enemy country? Only sports and politics can’t be mixed, but cinema and politics can be! Is it so?


  • optimist
    Sep 17, 2013 - 4:06PM

    Calm down everyone… The film is being released soon. Watch and make up your mind if it is worth it or not.
    Why criticise it so heavily without even watching it?


  • Rashid
    Sep 17, 2013 - 7:16PM


    Thanks Raj, thanks a lot.


  • Fingolfin
    Sep 17, 2013 - 10:04PM

    Sounds like a remake of Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara


  • Omar Khan
    Sep 18, 2013 - 11:17AM

    haters will hate, go Pakistan for NOMINATING the first movie in 50 years for oscars :)


  • Sagi
    Sep 20, 2013 - 4:00AM

    @Murthy: your information is based on very limited resources or probably only what you wanted to know otherwise Pakistan is working on many projects with USA and other western world, it is Pakistan who helped NATO in afghanistan if you know!
    based on the opinions of few people you cannot judge that everyone does so!


  • Sagi
    Sep 20, 2013 - 4:24AM

    @really?: your information is false, apart from one actor all are Pakistani actors, producer and director are Pakistani as well, we all know that Pakistani cinema is struggling for a long time this is the reason everyone is excited and liking it, in order to prove your claim what information do you have apart from having an Indian actor in the movie? is that it? don’t forget we are trying to survive in a region where we are up against India, yes India whose media is so powerful that they have changed so many concepts and mind sets by just spreading lies!!!


  • Fact
    Sep 20, 2013 - 7:56AM

    @Sagi: So, here are the facts

    Meenu Gaur – Director and writer is an Indian
    Naseerudin Shah – Lead Actor is from India
    Shan Mohammad – Editor of the film is from India
    Satya Rai Nagpaul -Cinematographer from India
    Vipin Bhatti – Sound designer from India
    Post Production of the movie was done in Mumbai

  • Sep 22, 2013 - 9:34AM

    Zinda Bhaag is for sure one of the best efforts from Pakistan in 2013 … but with 4-5 mainstream movies getting made in a year – not much to compare it against!! Oscar nods, foreign team all is kind of secondary …

    Anyhow – here is my review of the movie, for those who do want to know what the movie is about: http://samramuslim.com/movie-review-zinda-bhaag/


  • iqra
    Sep 29, 2013 - 6:17PM

    i really love this movie . i want this movie go for oscarRecommend

  • saqib RAJ
    Oct 2, 2013 - 4:57PM

    HOW WE CAN download this movie?


  • Saad Soom
    Oct 7, 2013 - 8:49PM

    Its an article on Wikipedia I have copied…
    Zinda Bhaag[1] (Urdu | زندہ بھاگ) is a Pakistani film in Punjabi, directed by Meenu Gaur and Farjad Nabi, and produced by Mazhar Zaidi. The movie had a premier show on September 19, 2013 and a wide release on September 20.[2] The film has been selected as the Pakistani entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 86th Academy Awards,[3] the first in over 50 years.[4] The film also won four other international awards at International South Asian Film Festival in Canada.


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