Zinda Bhaag (Urdu meaning feel alive) is a comedy thriller all set to hit the screens on September 20. A Pakistani film to compete in the “Best Foreign Language Film” category in the 86 Academy Award ceremony to be held next year.
Zinda Bhaag, has been made in collaboration with Bollywood, the Indian film industry. It is directed by Meenu Gaur, written by Farjab Nabi and produced by Mahzar Zaidi.
Naseer uddin Shah, a stalwart Bollywood actor is one of the main characters in the film. The other notable stars of the film are Amna Ilyas and Khurram Patras.
Zinda Bhaag, is the story of three young men dreaming big and employing unconventional methods to achieve their dreams. The climax of the film has them coming to the bitter realization that all is not as it appears and nothing is in their control. It is the ‘powers that be’ in the society that pull their strings as a puppeteer does with his puppets.
The selection committee which nominated Zinda Bhaag for the Oscars was headed by Shirmeen Obaid Chinoy, the recipient of the Emmy and the Academy Award for her documentary about the victims of acid attacks in Pakistan, last year.
There were four films in the running, namely: Josh, Chembali, Lamha, and Zinda Bhaag. In the secret ballot conducted to choose the film to be nominated for next year’s Academy Award ceremony, Zinda Bhaag proved to be the overwhelming favorite.
It is after five decades that a Pakistani film has been selected to represent the Lollywood film industry. The previous two attempts, the first one in 1956 by Kardar and the second one in 1963 by Khawaja Masroor Anwar, both failed to make the final cut, but this time round the makers of Zinda Bhaag are confident of winning a spot in the “Best Foreign Language Film” category.
They are confident because Zinda Bhaag, at the Mosaic MISAFF festival held in Toronto, Canada in August, won four awards in three categories.
The Pakistani film industry, at one time a competitor of Bollywood, due to the repressive rule of General Mohammad Zia-ulHaq during the 80’s, has been brought to this sorry stage where only two to three films are produced annually.
The standard of these films is so low that the viewers opt buying pirated films from across the border and watch them on their personal computers; or follow the new trend of going on to watch the latest Bollywood releases in newly built, state of the art cinema halls in Karachi and Islamabad, at exorbitantly priced tickets than spend even a dime on a Lollywood film.
Last year a record 71 films were nominated for the “Best Foreign Language Film” category, this year it is expected that the nominees would far accede this number. According to the rules only five films would be able to make the final cut.
The whole nation would be cheering for Zinda Bhaag, if it is able to make it to the final five. The producer Mazhar Zaidi and the protagonist, the veteran Bollywood actor, Naseeruddin Shah are both confident that Zinda Bagh will win this coveted prize.
by: Iftikhar Tariq Khanzada