Postcards from Lahore to Cannes Film Festival

Published: May 23, 2013

The film was screened at the 2012 Raindance Film Festival, the Pakistani High Commission in the UK and was awarded an Honourable Mention at the Los Angeles Film Festival 2012. PHOTO:

“Lahore. The second largest city in Pakistan; the fifth largest city in South Asia and the 26th largest city in the world but more than that though, this is the place of my parents’ birth and the place they now live in. I lived here only once, as a seven-year old, now at the age of 24, I’ve finally got another chance to visit the place of my origins, and recreate the early mementos of my childhood trip: my postcards from Lahore.”

And so begins the British-Asian and London-based filmmaker and comedian Aatif Nawaz’s documentary-film, ‘Postcards from Lahore’, that has come to be the only Pakistani film to be shown at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival 2013.

Narrated by Aatif himself, ‘Postcards from Lahore’ centres not just around a young man travelling 7,000 miles back to his hometown after 17 years to recreate his memories but to revisit every shade of colour that comes together to make the vibrant composition that is Lahore.

Be it its rich historical and cultural heritage whose grandeur is redrawn vividly through the anecdotes of an 86-year-old Jameel, one of Lahore Fort’s tour guides; a taste of its streets; the warmth of its people; their love for sports and of course, good food!

Aatif’s comedian wit is often heard in his candid commentary as he tours Lahore, from the city’s fringes to its modern constructional erections that are the numerous shopping malls and plazas.

The documentary also includes a tidbit about how the security situation in Pakistan has affected the city and how it is much lamented.

His experience in Lahore and trying to re-bond with his roots in ‘Postcards from Lahore’, in Aatif’s own words is “a foreigner’s love-letter to the city of his origins”.

It truly is a love-letter that explores every feature of beauty of the beloved city that is the throbbing heart of the country: it’s life, diversity, past, people and culture.

The film was screened at the 2012 Raindance Film Festival, the Pakistani High Commission in the UK and was awarded an Honourable Mention at the Los Angeles Film Festival 2012 among several other honorary mentions and awards at the festival circuit.

We’re proud of Aatif and heartily congratulate him on the documentary’s success!

Read more by Hafsa here.


Hafsa Khawaja

A student based in Lahore who keeps a keen eye on Pakistan's socio-political issues and global affairs. She blogs at

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Stranger

    I have heard many good things about Lahore – the capital of undivided Punjab. Hope to go there but doubtful in this birth at least. I am not from Pak you see. And NO its not a Q of visa either.Its the Q of non stop bombings and voilence .Recommend

  • S

    Q of non stopping bombing and voilence? In Lahore its not any more than Delhi! If anything less.Recommend

  • sterry

    @Stranger: You need to read up a bit more on Pakistan. There are no bombings or violence in Lahore or Punjab in general. Yes there are isolated incidents of criminality that you would see in any comparable big city but no terrorism or violence as such. I think you mistaking news stories about Karachi or border areas of Afghanistan but I can assure you Lahore is safer than most Asian cities. I should know since I was there last week and Lahore is as beautiful as ever. If you do ever get to visit Lahore you won’t be disappointed ; It is simply magical. The food, the colours, the history, the people, the clothes and fasion – the list goes on but Lahore has to be seen to be understood. As they say in Punjabi, ” Jis nay Lahore nahin vekhya, oh jamya nahain” meaning one who has never seen Lahore, has yet to be born.Recommend

  • Optimist

    @ Stranger

    Non stop bombing? and even that in my lovely Lahore??? You really are a stranger!!Recommend

  • Usman

    Outstanding work! Glad to see the diaspora working to get posative images of our great country on a global stage. Well done Aatif Nawaz!Recommend

  • Maria

    @Stranger: I can tell you that as a woman I would be safer in Lahore than Indian cities such as Dehli or Bombay which are known as the rape capitals of the world!Recommend

  • Bilal

    Hafsa Khawaja, after reading your articles and blogs, i thought of you to be an aged and experienced women considering your strong grip on concepts, specially those related to politics. Having learnt that you are 24 makes me more of your fan and a strong curiosity emerges within myself to know your source of knowledge and inspiration to reach up to here where you stand today.Recommend