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Film Studies: National Cinemas

This guide highlights selected resources for various national cinemas.


Before the partition that followed India’s independence from the British Raj in 1947, filmmaking in the regions of the country that were to become Pakistan was negligible. While some filmmakers migrated from India, establishing Lahore as a production centre, Pakistan has always been overshadowed by India in terms of film production: despite sporadic protectionist moves, Indian imports have usually dominated local cinema screens. The Urdu-language Teri Yaad/Memories (Daud Chand, 1948) is credited as the first film made in post-independence Pakistan. This and the early Bengali-language feature Mukh-o-Mukhosh/The Face and the Mask (Abdul Jabbar Khan, 1956) were hits with their respective audiences. Until the mid 1960s, few Pakistan-made films met with success at the box office, a rare exception being a 1962 film made in Urdu, Chanda (Ehteshamul Haq). Pakistani cinema did begin to find a voice in the 1960s with ‘folk cinema’—adaptations of popular folktales which attracted villagers to cinemas for the first time. Among the most popular of these were the Bengali-language Roopbaan (Salahuddin, 1965), based upon a popular ‘village operetta’, and Behula (Zahir Raihan, 1966). By the late 1960s, the popularity of the folk trend had waned, giving way to increased interest in ‘social’ films. While the film industry of East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) was overwhelmed by Bengali-language films from India, West Pakistan was able to implement tighter control on the inflow of imports, boosting film production in Lahore (now sometimes dubbed ‘Lollywood’) and Karachi. By 1970, some 130 films a year were being made in Pakistan.   ...

Kuhn, A., & Westwell, G. (2020). Pakistan, film in. In A Dictionary of Film Studies. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 17 Mar. 2021

In the library's collections/Searching the online catalog

Introductory reading(s)

Selected book title(s)

Other library resource(s)

Finding scholarly articles and journals

Selected movie titles

Find more Pakistani films in the library's collections.

Internet resource(s)