In the 1970s and 1980s, the Pakistani Cinema industry showed promising growth, with releases such as ‘Maula Jutt’ and ‘Kaale Chor’ bringing the cinema industry into the spotlight. Slowly but steadily, however, a downward trend began to emerge. Many movies tried to copy the formula that ‘Maula Jutt’ had made popular. Add to this the fact that Bollywood was going through it’s golden age, Pakistani Cinema all but disappeared in the 90s and early 2000s, with commercially successful films such as ‘Bol’ being few and far apart. Cinema in Pakistan was on its last legs. Then in 2013, Waar was released, which in my opinion, marks the turn-around. Since the release of Waar in 2013, Pakistani cinema has seen an upwards trend that has been spearheaded by ARY films. Pakistani Cinema has seen an unprecedented growth, leading to the development of a new industry, which includes more than just new films. Award shows, such as the Hum Awards, are gathering millions in revenue, advertisements are able to reach new audiences by hiring marketable stars from films.Pakistani cinema got a much-needed launch pad after the cinemas in Pakistan unanimously agreed to first limit the screening of Bollywood movies, and then in late 2015, completely ban them from Pakistani cinemas. Although, the motives for that decision were fuelled by the Kashmir crisis, and as of early 2018, the ban has been lifted. However, the fact remains that 8 out of 10 of the highest grossing films in Pakistani Cinema’s history, including Punjab Nahi Jaungi, the highest grossing Pakistani film of all time; shows that Pakistani Cinema did benefit from the ban, which effectively removed their biggest competition from their target market. It should also be noted that Pakistan has seen more Cinemas opening in the last 10 years than any other decade before it.However, this in no way means that Pakistani Cinema is mediocre. A number of movies have gained international recognition, with Dukhtar having a 92 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes, a feat which most movies even in the west cannot achieve. A number of Pakistani movies are released worldwide, with US being the largest international market for Pakistani films. The United States has also acted as the shoot location, with the film ‘Dobara Phir Se’ being set almost completely in the US. The Pakistani Cinema industry has also seen a number of new developments. The first ever Pakistani computer animated film ‘3 Bahadur’ was released in 2015, to critical acclaim and commercial success, so much so that a sequel was made which was released in 2016. The Cinema Industry has also moved away from conservative values, and new films are beginning to tackle real world issues, instead of being exclusively action or romance films, which made up the entirety of the Pakistani Film library prior to 2013. For example, ‘Dukhtar’ tackled the issue of child marriages in rural Pakistan, ‘Actor in Law’ gave a message about the inefficiency of the justice system and ‘Azadi’ represented the struggle of Kashmiri freedom fighters.No Pakistani movie has ever won the coveted best foreign film Academy Award, nor has any been nominated. With perseverance, this industry will surely go on to win these awards and Pakistani films will be recognised worldwideHowever, the revival of the cinema has also brought forward a lot of controversy that was brewing quietly in the entertainment industry. Accusations of sexual harassment have become more common, with #metoo becoming more and more common. Most notable were the accusations made by Meesha Shafi against Ali Zafar, one of Pakistan’s most famous and successful actors and singers. These accusations also prompted several other women to accuse Ali of sexual misconduct. Everything is not going seamlessly for the Cinema industry. A number of outside influences are leading to hindrances for the growing industry. Firstly, a number of religious organizations have shown vehement disapproval of the recent increase in new releases, as well as people going to the cinema to view Pakistani films. They believe that the cinemas are religiously forbidden because they take a person away from God and His remembrance. The industry also has to face fierce opposition from a growing group of people who believe that Pakistani Cinema is doing nothing but copying Bollywood to make movies that are using Bollywood’s success to make some easy money. Thirdly, there is a growing trend of stereotypical romance films. Studios use the same troupes that have been used hundreds of times by Hollywood and Bollywood and make back the money they put into the movie with some little profit. Many people are predicting that Pakistani Cinema will collapse due to stagnation of films and attempts to start franchises with reboots and sequels that fail to live up to the expectations.Pakistani Cinema has, no doubt, improved greatly over the last five years. From an industry almost non-existent, it has become a popular culture phenomenon that has led to millions of dollars in revenue, hundreds of jobs, new cinemas all over the country, international recognition for the country, many new acting and directing careers, and a chance for Pakistan to have a new beginning as far as cinema is concerned. Although the industry has a lot of critics and outright opposers, it has received immense support from Pakistanis worldwide via social media as well as supporting them by viewing Pakistani films all over the world. With the right people and the right decisions, this industry in Pakistan can be a worldwide phenomenon.As of right now, the Pakistani film industry has a long way to go. Although the top grossing movie of Pakistani history, Main Punjab Nahi Jaungi, has made a lot of money in Pakistan, its total revenue of only 5 million dollars is peanuts compared to 2.5 billion dollars for the highest grossing Hollywood movies of all time. No Pakistani movie has ever won the coveted best foreign film Academy Award, nor has any been nominated. With perseverance, this industry will surely go on to win these awards and Pakistani films will be recognised worldwide.The author is a College Prefect in Aitchison College, Lahore. He is currently heading projects for environmental conservation, and is making robotic systems to bring solutions for world hungerPublished in Daily Times, November 1st 2018.