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Star-studded ‘Pakistan Film Festival’ opens at United Nations

UNITED NATIONS: The first ever ‘Pakistan Film Festival’ kicked off Friday night with a warm red carpet reception at the United Nations (UN) Headquarters in New York where biggest Pakistani stars met ambassadors accredited to the UN, community members, media and film lovers.

The film festival would help in promoting a softer and bright image of Pakistan to the world, according to the organisers.

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Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi with Mahira Khan and Frieha Altaf

The UN Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson, who was also the chief guest at the event, congratulated Pakistan Mission to the UN for organising a two-day film festival that would showcase greatest Pakistani films at Asia Society over the weekend.

Speaking on the occasion, Eliasson said art, film and music build bridges across cultures and promote peace through intercultural understanding and welcomed Pakistani stars and celebs to the UN.

Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi with Columbian Ambassador at red carpet reception of Pakistan Film Festival

“You have given life to this building,” UN Deputy Secretary General told Pakistani stars.

Eliasson said, “You have already conquered Pakistan, now you will conquer New York.”

Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US Maleeha Lodhi, who took an initiative for holding the festival in the US, read out a welcome address.

Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi with Ambassadors of Greece and Tajikistan

“It is appropriate that we are launching the Festival here at the United Nations which embodies and represents the finest example of our shared humanity,” she said.

“This revival has been spearheaded by a new wave of young filmmakers and actors; they have produced a device array of movies that have been pushing the boundaries and charting and breaking new ground by tackling bold themes and using digital technology,” Lodhi added.

Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi with Chinese Ambassador at red carpet reception of Pakistan Film Festival

Two latest Pakistani films under the banner of ARY Films, Dobara Phir Se and Lahore Se Aagey, would have their premieres in New York during the festival.

While Oscar award winner Sharmeen Obaid’s animated film, 3 Bahadur, Dukhtar, Dance Kahani and Ho Mann Jahan, Actor in law, and Pakistan’s Oscar nomination, Mah-e-Meer would also be screened in the two-day film festival.

Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi with the Ambassadors of Turkey, Tunisia, Kazakhstan and the Netherlands

Famous Pakistani actors and celebrities , who travelled to New York for the festival  included Mahira Khan, Mawra Hocane, Nabeel Qureshi, Saba Qamar, Wajahat Rauf, Yasir Hussain, Sheheryar Munawar, Asim Raza, Tooba Siddiqui, Adeel Hussain, Sanam Saeed, Mohammad Jerjees Seja, Afia Serena Nathaniel and Mehreen Jabbar.

However, veteran Pakistani film actress Sabiha Khanum, also attending the festival received the biggest round of applause when ambassador Lodhi introduced her to the crowd.

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