What is Lollywood?

Lollywood (in Punjabi, Urdu: لالی وُڈ‎ lâli vuḍ) is the Urdu and Punjabi-language film industry of Pakistani cinema, based in Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan.

Since 1929, Lahore has been the centre of Pakistani cinema, producing films in both languages.

Since 2007, however, Karachi (the capital of the Pakistani province of Sindh) has largely overtaken Lahore in Urdu film productions.

The word “Lollywood” was coined in the summer of 1989 in Glamour magazine as a portmanteau of “Lahore” and “Hollywood”, published from Karachi, by gossip columnist Saleem Nasir.

Pakistani Punjabi Lollywood films were most popular in 1960, which is considered as their golden age.

As of 2014, Lahore has 21 cinemas.

Read about Bollywood and Hollywood.

Cinema of Pakistan

Lollywood is not to be confused with the Cinema of Pakistan, also known as Pakistani Cinema, which refers to the filmmaking industry in Pakistan.

Pakistan is home to several film studios centres, primarily located in its two largest cities – Karachi and Lahore.

Pakistani cinema has played an important part in Pakistani culture and in recent years has begun flourishing again after years of decline, delivering entertainment to audiences in Pakistan and expatriates abroad.

Several film industries are based in Pakistan, which tend to be regional and niche in nature.

Over 10,000 Urdu feature films have been produced in Pakistan since 1948, as well as over 8000 Punjabi, 6000 Pashto and 2000 Sindhi feature-length films. The first film ever produced was Husn Ka Daku in 1930, directed by Abdur Rashid Kardar in Lahore. The first Pakistani-film produced was Teri Yaad, directed by Daud Chand in 1948.

Between 1947 and 2007, Pakistani cinema was based in Lahore, home to the nation’s largest film industry (nicknamed Lollywood). Pakistani films during this period attracted large audiences and had a strong cult following, was part of the cultural mainstream, widely available and imitated by the masses.

During the early 1970s, Pakistan was the world’s fourth largest producer of feature films. However, between 1977 and 2007, the film industry of Pakistan went into decline due to Islamization, strengthening of censorship laws and an overall lack of quality.

Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, the film industry went through several periods of ups and downs, a reflection of its dependency on state funding and incentives.

By 2000, the film industry in Lahore had collapsed and saw a gradual shift of Pakistani actors, actresses, producers and filmmakers from Lahore to Karachi. By 2007, the wounds of Pakistan’s collapsed film industry began to heal and Karachi had cemented itself as the center of Pakistani cinema. This was the time new generation producers stepped into the industry with short films with quality story line and new technology led to an explosion of alternative form of Pakistani cinema. The shift has been seen by many as the leading cause for the “resurgence of Pakistani cinema”.

Despite the industry crisis starting in the mid-1980s, Pakistani films have retained much of their distinctive identity. Since the shift to Karachi, Pakistani films have once again began attracting a strong cult following.

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