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Apex Classic Cinema was formed in 2010. It’s main objective was to create high quality DVD/Blu-ray format  Pakistani classic films. This was initially for a private collection and latter some films were made available to the public to see if there was a demand. The film catalog already existed of an extensive collection of rare Indian and English films. However, while attempting to  add Pakistani films to the collection it became apparent that availability was very restrictive. Films were mostly of a very poor audio and video quality and could not be screened on a cinema screen.

As it happens, some of the best Pakistani film prints were made here in the UK. Apex has made en effort to collect and save these prints before they are all lost.

Over 90% of the video business was owned by expat Pakistanis. Ironically, it was these business that had established an overseas market for Pakistani and Indian films. Today's Bolloywood success is solely down to these businesses which operated in the 70s and 80s. They established the foundations on which today's Bollywood  and Asian TV channel businesses operates.

By 2000 most UK video business had closed and films including the masters were being destroyed as they were dead stock. There was a small window of opportunity to save what remained.

Today Apex is probably the biggest archive of Pakistani films with some of the most rare film prints and music vinyl. It consists of VHS masters, Umatic masters and original 35mm Cinema prints and even some vintage broadcast prints. Later vinyl records were also added to the collection. Tracking down master prints and saving them has always been the main priority and is still ongoing.

To further safe guard these films, there is an ongoing program to digitize the prints.  The process is continuously reviewed and updated to ensure that transfers are of the highest  quality. Over the years this process has been gradually improved using more and more advanced hardware and software techniques. The equipment it self was rare and difficult to acquire. Pakistani films needed special attention to the audio. It's music heritage was some of the best in the world and needed care in restoring and preserving.

Apex is a totally a private enterprise. An attempt was made to raise some funding by selling some films but demand was very low, margins poor and it was slowing down the process of restoration, digitization and archive of the films. There was also much uncertainty around copyright and distribution rights. However, Apex continues to provide it's services to film distributors and broadcast program makers.

Apex owes its existence purely to those pioneers of the video businesses that created the original prints and especially to those that stayed in business into 2010. Companies all over the UK have helped including many private collectors.

Things are much better these days as other private collectors are beginning to showcase their collections and broadcast companies are beginning to show the films again. These classic films are going through a much needed revival. No DVD company has stepped in to make films available. This is mainly due to the fact that film supply has moved on to the internet and film streaming has fast become the new accepted format. A number sites are offering streamed films of varying degree of quality.

Why the name 'Apex Classic Cinema'?

In addition to the video companies that cropped up all over the UK to cater for the Asian demand for films. These films were showcased originally on the cinema screens. So  our first exposure to these films was on a giant cinema screen. These films looked their best on the big screens. The songs sounded great. The UK cinemas of those days were very glamorous and designed by architects. The whole movie experience was something special. You went in and was entertained for three hours. On your way out you collected a small poster for the film that would play next week. The cinema prints were just amazing quality. This is the quality we strive for. Film prints of classic movies that can be showen in cinemas again to recreate that magic.

It was these Cinema prints which were transferred to video masters and distributed. Much of the cine transfer process was carried out by UK companies. The people who did the transfers had a genuine love of cinema and took great care and pride in the quality of transfers.


Cinema is the key to Pakistani Film Revival.

The revival of Pakistani films will happen when families start going back to the cinema  to see the latest films. Ticket sales at the box office will finance quality films. Pakistani films are playing in UK cinemas once again and the future is looking bright. Many Pakistani TV channels are leading the way and the recent films have been very good. Please support Pakistani Cinema by going to the Cinema to watch the films.

Lollywood - Pakistani Cinema

We prefer the phrase 'Pakistani Cinema'  to 'Lollywood'. With classic films,  although Lahore was the primary hub of film production it was by no means the only place. More importantly the term Lollywood is a reference to Bollywood which in turn is derived from Hollywood. Hollywood is an actual place in the USA and films made there are respectfully refereed to as Hollywood films. Films made in Lahore are disrespectfully refereed to as lollywood films suggesting cheap copies of Hollywood films. However, the name has stuck and now is generally used to refer to 'Pakistani Cinema'

It is assumed that Pakistani cinema is simply a cheap copy of Hollywood and Bollywood. This is actually not the case. Pakistani cinema, especially during its golden period was unique and covered topics and issues relevant to its local population. The music was, in its classic format, very high quality and sophisticated. During the 70s,it also lead the way in fusion with western music and yet retained its classical output.

Pakistani Cinema was the third biggest film producer in the world at one time.


Pakistan Cinema, 1947-97 (Jubilee Series)

Gazdar, Mushtaq

Very well written with excellent coverage of the topics. You get a really good insight of the highs and lows of the industry and how the politics of the country impacted it. The year by year film list in the appendix is indispensable. Rare film posters and pictures of the stars are also included although more would have been better. All the great classic films, along with the directors and actors are covered. The book covers, briefly, the origins of the film industry in India and then goes onto focusing on the main film hubs in Pakistan and a decade by decade account of the films. This book is a very rare collector's item and reference guide for anybody interested in South Asian cinema.

Melody Makers of the Subcontinent

Parvez, Amjad

Excellent coverage of some of the best music composers from Pakistan and India. Very well researched and written with page after page revealing some of the best music, songs and film. Each composer is covered from his early origins to his best work. This book needs a follow up volume 2 to cover some of the composers left out such as M Ashraf and Robin Ghosh. If you love your Asian music, especially from the 50s and 60s then this book is an indispensable ‘must have’ guide. A very respectable homage to the great melody makers of Pakistan and India. A book on the great song performers and lyric writers should also be published.

A History of Radio Pakistan (The New Cultural History of Music Series)

Qureshi, Nihal Ahmed

A great book on how radio was established in Pakistan and the important role it played at the key events in Pakistani History.

Cinema and Society (Film and Social Change in Pakistan)

Ali Khan, Ali Nobil Ahmed

Great new book on Pakistani Cinema. The first two chapters retrace material fom ‘Pakistan Cinema 1947-1997’ and ‘The Cinema of Pakistan (1969) Dhaka’. The next 15 chapeters are a collection of papers by variouse writers which form a complete history and interesting insight into Pakistani cinema. This book also covers the current trends and new cinema in Pakistan. Lots of great posters and art work are included. This is the most complete work on Pakistani cinema to date and absolutue essential reading for anyone intertested in Sout Asian cinema.

Waheed Murad (His Life and Our Times)

Khurram Ali Shafique

A great tribute to Waheed Murad and the films he made.. Covers his family history and gives a great insight into his vision and influences in movie making. His family and many of his close collegues have contributed to this book. It takes you back to a time where great talent was being fostered and bought together which resulted in a number of great classic films. One of the most amazing photographs in this books shows Waheed, Sohail, and Pervez along with Masroor and Mandody working together on a film. The main Waheed Murad films are covered with great indepth anlysis.

Web Resources:

Some recommended introduction to Pakistani  Cinema:

The following sites are a 'must visit' for all Pakistani Film fans:

Nazia Hassan & Zohaib Hassan

YouTube and Facebook:

There are some great Youtube channels which showcase films and songs.

Apex classic cinema also has a Youtube channel. Allthough this has had no new content added  in the last few years. This is mainly due to the Youtube ban in Pakistan. Also in the last few years many more films have been acquired and they are taking up a lot of time to digitise and hence a decision was made to focus on the films rather than expand on social media presence. Apex also has a Google+ page which is all about great Hollywood films and music.

Please visit the the Apex and other Youtube channels that show case Pakistani film and music. Many hardworking up-loaders have created some great channels to showcase the best of Pakistani film and music. Perhaps this is where the demand for Pakistani film revival started. Many of them have moved to Facebook or other hosting channels mainly due to the Youtube ban in Pakistan.