Seven times Pakistani talent drew attention globally

Pakistanis are talented, we know that. But these seven times the world also recognized our talent.
Aug 15, 2022

The Pakistani entertainment industry has left no stone unturned in creating brilliant masterpieces and gaining global recognition. They won several hearts in the past and are sparing no effort to be on the top in the following years. 

Over the past 75 years, there have been moments when Pakistani entertainment has shone on the global stage and told the world that Pakistan is a lot more than just what people read in newspapers.

Pakistan’s Oscar moment: Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy

Pakistan received its first Oscars for the best documentary short subject in 2012 for Saving Face. The documentary had been directed by filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy. She went on to win a second Oscar (Girl in the River 2016) and six Emmys and is the only Pakistani to have been recognized by the Academy. She also went on to bag six Emmys.

Grammys record: “Mohabbat” by Arooj Aftab

Pakistan is driven to greater heights not only by its brilliance but also by the emergence of fresh talent in the industry, for whom success knows no bounds. Arooj Aftab is a Brooklyn-based Pakistani vocalist who bagged the Best Global Performance Grammy Award for her song “Mohabbat,” marking her the first Pakistani ever to do so. Our pride girl has been gaining honorable recognition for her work that fuses Sufi traditions with folk, jazz, and minimalism.  Following her recent win, Arooj has strengthened her profile with a debut performance at the renowned Coachella music festival, which no other Pakistani artist has ever achieved.  The attention was turned into a joyous moment for Pakistan when the singer’s “Mohabbat” made it to the list of former US president Barack Obama’s summer playlist favorites of 2021. 

Globally viral: Coke Studio’s “Pasoori” by Ali Sethi and Shae Gill

Talking about the most outstanding achievements, Coke Studio hit “Pasoori” by Ali Sethi and Shae Gill has broken all records. This song has gained 320 million views on YouTube and has ranked third on Spotify’s Global Viral 50 list. The popularity, along with the classic combination of poetry, dance, and style, has made it the globally recognized song of 2022. 

Whether it’s Britney Spears making button dosa to the music of Pasoori or Arjun Kapoor and Alia Bhatt praising it for its essence, this song became a top trend on social media immediately after its release. 

Scoring big at Cannes: “Joyland” by Saim Sadiq

Pakistani artists have frequently introduced ideas that defy preconceptions. Pakistani drama film Joyland depicts the life of every other family. This movie depicts a society in which cultural norms and generational differences have suffocated it, in contrast to Pakistani films that are typically dominated by stereotypical villains. When Joyland won the Jury Prize in the “Un Certain Regard” category at the Cannes Film Festival in 2022, it made history for Pakistan. An extended standing ovation was also given to the whole cast and crew at the global arena. Additionally, it has also gotten an international nomination at IFFM, making Pakistan super proud. 

Guinness World Record: Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan is considered a legend in Pakistan and the world of Qawwali. While he never really got the opportunity to shine on the world stage, even if he did impress in individual collaborations and fell short at the Grammys, he did make one mark globally. The Sufi qawwal held the Guinness World Record for the “Most Qawwali Recordings”, having recorded over 125 qawwali albums before his death.

Artistic Installation Imran Qureshi paints the roof of the Met Museum

Pakistani artists have always been very talented. You need not look beyond the likes of Sadequain or Gulgee for proof. But the fact remains that attaining globally recognized international moments to showcase those talents has been few and far in between. Artist Imran Qureshi got such a moment and did the nation proud by painting the roof of The Metropolitan Museum of Art “The Met” of New York City in 2013.

Wowing the world at Expo 2020: Rashid Rana’s design puts Pakistan on global map

In 2021, Dubai gathered the world at its Expo 2020. It was an opportunity to showcase talent and ambition before the whole world. That is exactly what Pakistan did. It was easily the most iconic Pavillion and it earned it the silver award for interior design and the Burj CEO award for best exterior design.

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