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
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
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
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)
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
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.
Some recommended introduction to Pakistani Cinema:
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.