Mazhar Zaidi

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Mazhar Zaidi
Lahore, Pakistan
ResidenceLondon, UK
EducationMS in Journalism
OccupationCommunications Specialist, CVE, Digital content, Producer, director, columnist and journalist
Years active1992–present
Notable work
Zinda Bhaag Jeewan Hathi Gardaab
Spouse(s)Meenu Gaur

Mazhar Zaidi (Urdu: مظہر زیدی‎ Hindi: मजहर जैदी is a British Pakistani Communications Specialist, digital content and film producer, artist, journalist, columnist and documentary director. He has produced several issue based documentaries and campaigns. He has developed, managed and delivered large international projects on CVE and produced digital campaigns on rights based issues for leading international non-governmental organisations including UKAid, IRC, CWS, USAid and Asia Foundation. He is best known for producing the 2013 Pakistani film Zinda Bhaag, which earned him international recognition and accolades and became the country's first entry to Academy Awards after a gap of over 50 years. The film also won many international awards. One of his films Gardaab was screened at London Indian Film Festival in June 2017 and Jeewan Hathi was screened at Locarno Film Festival in Switzerland in August 2017. He along with his partners Meenu Gaur and Farjad Nabi also recently curated an art exhibition titled 'Art SabKa' focussing on contemporary art inspired by Pakistani Cinema.


As a journalist, filmmaker and documentary maker[edit]

Before starting to make feature films, Zaidi was a well known journalist and producer at BBC Urdu UK. Zaidi has been working as a filmmaker/journalist for over 25 years. He served as a senior producer at BBC World in London for over 11 years and produced and directed many documentaries and programs for leading international TV networks including BBC, German TV channel, ARD, ZDF, Sky News and other independent media houses.

In 2006, he launched a project with BBC Urdu online and a group of community based filmmakers working with the NGO Interactive Resource Center (IRC) in Pakistan. The successful project produced more than 16 short documentaries, shot and directed by young filmmakers from small towns across Pakistan.

As a filmmaker and independent documentary maker Zaidi has been involved in a number of documentary projects that screened at international film festivals awhile his projects were broadcast by international channels including, BBC Four, ARD and ZDF.

His documentary Nar Narman about an Urdu language Pakistani gay-poet, gave him critical acclaim when it was screened at London's BFI L&G Film Festival in 2007.[1]

As a film producer[edit]

Zaidi started his career with producing number of documentaries and videos, at different channels and platforms. But established himself as a recognised producer after producing 2013 Pakistani film Zinda Bhaag, Under his own film production Matteela Films which earned him an critical acclaimed and recognition in film world. Zinda Bhaag became one of the highest-grossing of Pakistan and has won many accolades and recognition including an official selection for Best Foreign Language Film[2][3] at 86th Academy Awards however was out of the competition for the final race.[4] Zinda Bhaag was only the third Pakistani film in 50 years to get recognition at the Oscars, after 1959's The Day Shall Dawn and 1963's The Veil.

Work and filmography[edit]

As a producer[edit]

Year Film Language Notes
2000 Yeh Hui Na Mardon Wali Baat Urdu Short-Film (Director)
2013 Zinda Bhaag Punjabi Matteela Films (producer)

won: ARY Film Award for Best Film Jury
Nom: ARY Film Award for Best Film Viewers

2016 Gardaab Urdu Matteela Films (Producer)
2016 Jeewan Hathi Urdu Zee Essel Group (Pakistan Producer)
2016 Rahm Urdu Matteela Films (Line Producer)

As a documentary maker[edit]

Year Film Language Notes
2006 Na Namar English Docudrama about a London-based Urdu-language gay poet.

As a journalist[edit]

Year Statue Platform Role
1991–1994 Feature writer and reporter The News Responsible for writing daily reports and weekly features for the Islamabad-based newspaper.
1994–1995 Punjab Correspondent Newsline Covering and investigating political and social affairs from the largest province of Punjab for the Karachi-based monthly magazine.
1995–1997 Senior Reporter The News on Sunday Researching, investigating and writing weekly lead Special Reports and features for the weekly from Lahore covering political and social issues.
1997–2008 Producer BBC Urdu Radio Online Served as a broadcaster / producer / Desk Editor /Video Producer with BBC Urdu, launched video offer online from London and produced a number of programs and documentaries.
2008–2010 Editor Current Affairs Dawn News Served at the current affairs department at Pakistan's premier English language TV channel Dawn news. Responsible for managing the team and supervising production of daily and weekly content for TV and commissioning documentaries.
2010–2011 Series Editor BBC Urdu TV Project Developed concepts and produced current affairs programs and liaising with local partner TV channels and managing the production team.
2002–present chief executive officer Matteela Films Pvt Ltd Produced, directed feature and documentaries films. Zinda Bhaag was producers under the banner of Matteela Films.


Zaidi also worked independently contributing a chapter to West and the Muslim World a publication by Transnational Institute, Germany also he exhibited as a Communication Consultant in non-governmental sector and served as a director, short video documentary for the British Council where his work was developing, conceptualising and producing a short video for the International Inspiration, London 2012's international sports legacy program.


Date of ceremony Award Category Recipient(s) Result
25 May 2014 ARY Film Awards[5] Best Film Jury Mazhar Zaidi Won
Best Actress Jury Amna Ilyas Won
Best Film Viewers Mazhar Zaidi Nominated
Best Director Meenu Gaur and Farjad Nabi Nominated
Best Actor Khurram Patras Nominated
Best Actress Amna Ilyas Nominated
Best Supporting Actor Gohar Rasheed and Salman Ahmad Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Naghma Nominated
Best Star Debut Male Khurram Patras Nominated
Best Star Debut Female Amna Ilyas Nominated
Best Actor in a Comic Role Zohaib Asghar Nominated
Best Actor in a Negative Role Nasiruddin Shah Nominated
Best Original Music Sahir Ali Bagga Nominated
Best Male Playback Singer Rahat Fateh Ali Khan Nominated
Abrar-ul-Haq Nominated
Best Female Playback Singer Iqra Ali Nominated
Best Story Meenu Gaur and Farjad Nabi Won
Best Background Score Sahir Ali Bagga Won
14–16 August 2013 8th Annual Mosaic International South Asian Film Festival[6][7] Best Film Mazhar Zaidi Won
Best Actor Khurram Patras Won
Best Music Sahir Ali Bagga Won


  1. ^ "Mazhar Zaidi Short Story". Culture Unplugged. Retrieved 6 August 2014.
  2. ^ "Pakistan sends official entry to Oscars after 50 years". Arab News. Retrieved 26 August 2013.
  3. ^ "The Pakistani Academy Selection committee nominates Zinda Bhaag for Oscar consideration". Apnahub. Retrieved 13 September 2013.
  4. ^ "Pakistani film 'Zinda Bhaag' out of Oscar race". Tribune. 21 December 2013. Retrieved 21 December 2013.
  5. ^ "Zinda Bhaag Dominates in ARY Film Awards". Latest Life Style. Retrieved 6 August 2014.
  6. ^ "Zinda Bhaag wins four awards in Toronto festival". The News. 19 August 2013. Retrieved 21 December 2013.
  7. ^ "Did you know?: Zinda Bhaag wins four awards in Canada". Tribune. 19 August 2013. Retrieved 21 December 2013.

External links[edit]