Pakistani cinema has witnessed a remarkable renaissance in recent years, with a wave of talented filmmakers telling compelling stories that reflect the diverse culture and history of the country. While some of these films have received critical acclaim and commercial success, there are many others that have gone unnoticed, despite their exceptional storytelling, cinematography, and acting.
From biographical dramas to crime thrillers, family sagas, and historical epics, these films represent the best of Pakistani cinema, showcasing the country’s rich artistic heritage and its vibrant contemporary culture – despite the audiences hanging on to their mass appeal narratives, leaving them under-appreciated.
Which films made it to the list? Diva explores…
Directed by Jamil Dehlavi, Jinnah tells the story of the founder of Pakistan through a unique approach. The film follows his life from his early days as a lawyer to his role in the creation of Pakistan, with scenes that would leave you teary-eyed. The movie features a brilliant performance by Christopher Lee in the lead role and is a must-watch for anyone interested in Pakistan’s history!
Directed by Meenu Gaur and Farjad Nabi, Zinda Bhaag is a comedy-drama that revolves around the lives of three young men who dream of making it big in the West. The movie tackles issues such as illegal immigration and unemployment and features a story that keeps the audience entertained and provoked at the same time! The talented cast includes Naseeruddin Shah, Amna Ilyas, and Khurram Patras.
Directed by Sarmad Khoosat, Manto is a biographical drama that tells the story of the legendary Urdu writer, Saadat Hasan Manto in a completely new light. The film features a stellar performance by Sarmad Khoosat playing the eponymous lead role and explores themes such as freedom of expression and censorship. The magnum opus by Khoosat features some of the biggest names of the industry, making this a film not to be missed!
Directed by Adnan Sarwar, Motorcycle Girl is a biographical drama that follows the life of Zenith Irfan, the first Pakistani woman to travel solo on a motorcycle – and oh boy, does her story make us feel proud! The movie features a stunning performance by Sohai Ali Abro in the lead role and is a celebration of female empowerment and self-discovery. If you want a film with the right set of emotions, look no further!
Directed by Adnan Sarwar, Shah is a biographical drama that tells the story of one of Pakistan’s unsung olympian, boxer Hussain Shah. The movie features a powerful performance by Adnan Sarwar in the lead role and is a tribute to the triumph of the human spirit as the story of the only Pakistani boxer to win at the Olympics in 1988 is narrated.
Directed by Jami, Moor is a drama that explores the themes of family, community, and tradition in rural Pakistan. The movie features a talented cast that includes Hameed Sheikh, Shaz Khan, and Samiya Mumtaz and is a poignant reminder of the struggles of rural life. If the film’s amazing storyline doesn’t leave you amused, the beautiful cinematography definitely will!
Directed by Kamal Khan, Laal Kabootar is a crime thriller that follows the lives of a cab driver and a desperate woman who are brought together by a series of violent events. The movie features a brilliant performance by Ahmed Ali Akbar and Mansha Pasha in the lead role and is a gripping watch from start to finish. You’ve never seen Karachi like this before – believe us!
Directed by Asim Abbasi, Cake is a family drama that explores the complexities of sibling relationships. The movie features a talented cast that includes Aamina Sheikh, Sanam Saeed, and Adnan Malik and is a beautiful portrayal of the highs and lows of family life. This one’s a tear-jerker so get ready to sob like a maniac!
Directed by Mansoor Mujahid, Seedlings is a drama that explores the themes of grief and loss in contemporary Pakistan. The movie features a talented cast that includes Aamina Sheikh, Mohib Mirza, and Gohar Rasheed and is a poignant reminder of the fragility of life. This one is probably the least-seen in all the names in the list, so finding it might just be a hard task at hand!
Directed by Sarmad Sultan Khoosat, Kamli is a fantastic approach to a narrative of a girl falling in love – narrated through the lens of longing, family ties, and unfulfilled promises. The movie features a stunning performance by Saba Qamar, Sania Saeed, and Nimra Bucha in protagonist roles and is a celebration of the human spirit and its frailty. The film will make you question a lot of things – but for the better!
Which films would you like to check out of these? Tell us in the comments section below.