NEW YORK: The second edition of the Pakistan Film Festival in New York concluded 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 which included the likes of Mahira Khan, Mikaal Zulfiqar, Ayesha Omar, Mehwish Hayat and Aaminah Sheikh were part of the festival.
This year’s PFF kicked off on Saturday with the screening of four blockbuster Pakistani films, namely *7 Din Mohabbat In, Parchi, Verna* and *Cake*. While on Sunday *Na Band Na Baraati, La La Begum* and *Punjab Nahi Jaungi* were shown to the audiences.
“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 reflect the energy and spirit of the people of Pakistan.”
Ambassador Lodhi wholeheartedly thanked the stars 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, Mikaal Zulfiqar 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 stellar performance by singer Zeb Bangash, who entertained the gathering with some of her chartbusters. 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. - APP