Pakistan: An interactive guide for Hollywood and Bollywood Movie Makers

IT is often very funny to see the international media, especially TV and Film Industry, portaying Pakistan as some country where women are covered in black overalls or shuttlecock burqas, people having beards and no moustaches with a checkered cloth over their shoulders, riding donkeys, wiping their behinds with stones, narrow streets, dusty roads, people speaking Arabic, goats on highways, people travelling in Jeeps and 70s Trucks.

In Pakistan, people think that it is a western conspiracy against them. To me it is sheer ignorance and laziness on the behalf of TV and film industry. One could see the example of this, recently, when fourth season of a TV Series, Homeland started airing. Where Islamabad is shown as some dusty city with narrow streets, people speaking wrong Urdu, everyone bearded, Americans walking in Miran Shah without being noticed, Taliban commanders having sex with their wives in the presence of a guest in the exact room. Similarly, in the movie Zero Dark Thirty, common people were shown speaking Arabic in Pakistan (Not 1% of the population speaks Arabic in Pakistan.) I do not take any pride in Pakistan being a modernised country. It is not a symbol of development to me. However, if you consider that you can depict Pakistan with some orientalist mindset as a completely backward, tribal, under-developed country of retards, you would be very wrong there bro! It is called cultural ignorance. And this mindset is not only targeting (purposefully or unconsciously)  Pakistan, but also Iran and Middle East.

I understand the restrictions of Hollywood, when it comes to show a Pakistani city. They can’t shoot a movie here and they can’t come down here to witness first hand accounts of our culture. However, there are plenty of Pakistanis living in US, who can be consulted instead of hiring some NRIs who know sh** about Pakistan nad who are sometimes more restricted to visit Pakistan than Americans and Europeans. For Bollywood, I would say Pakistan has similar culture as in your western region and Muslims needed not to be shown as capped bearded dopatta-clad weirdos with no moustaches. And even if that doesn’t help you, use Google. Can you at least do that please? Okay, let me help you. Here is a pictorial guide to Pakistan from Northern region to Karachi all across Pakistan. Have a look and next time you shoot a scene don’t try to underestimate our culture and development.

One more thing before we start that. I do not deny the issues we face here, like extremism, minority persecution, honor killings, harassment of women and many other issues. But you know what, we know those problems exist and we are working on them. You don’t need to portray all those issues in a single scene like it is happening everywhere in Pakistan. Imagine a Pakistani movie showing men rapping women in the background of every scene depicting an Indian city. Imagine every scene of a family gathering in US in a Pakistani movie showing news of shooting teenagers and women pissing on war prisoners. You feel me bro!

You got my point. Nice! So why do you care? Good question! You should care because,

1. We watch your movies. We are consumers and you should care for your customers being professionals. A Hollywood or Bollywood movie earns a profit of 15 Million Rs each. This is not much but we are growing. The number of screens have doubled from last year. The movie channels on TV like HBO and Star Movies are top watched TV channels in Pakistan, while AXN, WB and many other English channels are also watched enthusiastically. I am not mentioning torrent downloading but I hope you know that as well.

2. Pakistanis do not live in Pakistan only. 7 Million Pakistanis live outside Pakistan and they are all over the world watching all kind of Hollywood, Bollywood and TV. They too care about the depiction of their culture.

3. A little extra effort and detail won’t make your product bad. It will add beauty and will increase its worth.

Anyhow, I have arranged this interactive tour for you guys. Enjoy Pakistan!

Jalkhad Road Naran – This road is at a height of about 10,000 feet. You can drive on this road as smoothly as you can drive on a highway.

Lake Saiful Malook – One of the most beautiful Lakes of the world at a height of about 13000 ft right in the mid of Himalayas and is a great tourist attraction

St Paul Church in Abbottabad, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (A town at the height of 4400 ft above sea level)

Jadoon Plaza, Abbottabad

Building of Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education, Abbottabad

Historical Ilyasi Mosque, a popular tourist attraction (Abbottabad)

Church in Mountaneous rural area Nathiagali, Abbottabad

Abbottabad, (Of Osama Bin Laden fame) a small town in north which will remind you of Prague and is in no way full of donkeys and Taliban

Abbottabad, Rural area

Gloria Jeans Cafe, Abbottabad

Pizza Hut, Abbottabad

Abbottabad International Medical College

Usmania Restaurant, a national food chain which has also got franchises in Dubai and Europe

Ayub Medical College, Abbottabad

Tarbela Dam, Haripur, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa – World’s second larget sand filled dam and South Asia’s second largest dam, which meets about 50% of Pakistan’s electricity requirements

Women Medical College, Abbottabad (There are 5 medical colleges in this small town and is considered as the city of schools due to the presence of about more than 20 schools among top 50 in Pakistan) Literacy rate is 89% and there are about 3000+ schools in the city

Benazir Bhutto International Airport, Islamabad (This is a small airport and there is only one terminal)

BB Airport, Islamabad (60 miles south-east to Abbottabad)
50 Miles south-west from Abbottabad, The famous Sikh pilgrimage place in Hasan Abdal, Taxila
Taxila, A UNESCO World Heritage, the center of Indus Civilisation was established 5000 Years ago, mentioned in Ptolemy’s Geography as Taxiala.

A Buddhist Stuppa – Taxila became the hub of Buddhist spiritualism around

City Plan of Taxila and the sanitation system 5000 years ago still amazes Urban City Planning Engineers, Architects and Archeologists – Darius The Great, Greek Ruler invaded Taxila in 581 BC
Alexander, the great ruled Taxila around 326 BC – Before him Xerxes I (Yes from movie 300) who was a zoroastrian rule the city and Indus Civilization – Indus Civilization is one of the most oldest and the first advanced civilizations of the world

Around 200-300 BCE Chandargupta Morya’s grandson Asoka ruled the city and after his conversion to Buddism made Taxila hub of Buddhist Spiritual Activities
Heavy Industries Taxila – Largest Mechanical Complex of the country having around 10,000 emplyees
Yes these are women and yes they are in a mosque!

Pakistan Monument, Islamabad

Faisal Mosque, Largest Mosque of the world from 1986-1993 and South Asia’s second largest mosque – A popular Tourist attraction

Interior of Faisal Mosque
Pappasalis, Islamabad

Yes, Islamabad

McDonalds Islamabad


You will find everything in Islamabad

Jinnah Super Market, Islamabad

Prime Minister House, Islamabad

Faisal Avenue Islamabad, which runs in the middle of the city

JS Market, This is how markets are there in Isloo

Centaurus Mall, Islamabad

Hardees, Islamabad

This is a chapal store (Show wear)

Margalla Hills, Islamabad

Another Market in Isloo

Skyline Islamabad

Jinnah Avenue, Islamabad

A Chinese Restaurant Islamabad (It would be quite expensive if you wanna stage it in a movie, I feel you bro!)

JS Market, Islamabad

Saeed Book Bank, South Asia’s largest Book Show Room

Pakistan Monument and National Museum, Shakarparian Hills, Islamabad

People sitting in a food street in Islamabad

Zero Point, Islamabad

Centaurus Mall, Islamabad (Faisal Mosque is visible in the background)

You will find such monuments in all squares throughout the city

It’s not Dubai, It’s Islamabad

These are normal people see (No checkered cloths on shoulders, no terrorist outlook)

Inside Centaurus Mall

Another Hardees

Gloria Jeans, Islamabad (Popular Hangout Place for Foreigners)

Centaurus Mall)

Super Market, Islamabad

Yeah, there are also Spas in Isloo!!


Ahem! Women again!

This is Lahore (In the Background Pakistan Minaret, the place where resolution for Pakistan’s demand by Freedom Leaders was passed) and yes these are teen girls swinging in a park in public

Anarkali Bazar, Lahore

Traffic Wardens (Women? Really?)

Yes, really!!!

Anarkali Bazar, Famous Taka Tak Fried Meat (Families enjoy dinner here every night)


Historic Lahore Forte



Yes, this is Pakistan
A market in Lahore
Almas Bobby, A trangender and transgender rights activist from Lahore
These are Sikh pilgrims and this is also Pakistan

Gurdawara Sharif, Nankana Sahib
Famous Mian Ji Restaurant in a small town Lalamusa, Gujrat

Pizza Hut, Hyderabad, Pakistan
Golem Mall, Karachi

Park Towers, Karachi
Karachi Sea View

Clifton, Karachi

Panoramia, Karachi

Sea View


Also Karachi

Hyperstar, Karachi

An overpass in Karachi  (Oh how dusty!)

Skyline, Karachi

 Some Pakistani Universities

National University of Sciences and Technology, Islamabad (Among Top 400 World Ranking Universities)
Islamia College University, Peshawar

Lahore University of Management Sciences celebrate Women Day

Quaid-i-Azam Universities, One of the most beautiful universities of Pakistan is at top among small universities category since its inception in 1967

Fatima Jinnah Women University, Rawalpindi

Government College University, Lahore

International Islamic University, Islamabad

Lahore University of Management Sciences, Lahore

Peshawar University, Peshawar

I hope I made my point. So next time when you depict a scene from Pakistan, please keep these images in mind.

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