Born in Karachi in 1940, Mushtaq Gazdar was a Pakistani film maker who made over 190 short feature films, documentaries in a career spanning over 33 years. He often focused on social issues in his works. For example, one of his most famous works, “They are killing the Horse”, is the story of a young woman suffering from depression because of social and sexual repression around her. Another work, “The concert on Footpath” used the selected verses of Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai, NM Rashid, Faiz and Sahir to depict the life of immigrants on the streets of Karachi. Similarly, his another work, “Shattered Dreams- Jayein tau Jayein Kahan” deals with the lives of women bought and sold through slave trade in South Asia. Besides making films, he also wrote a meticulous book on critical and historical study of Pakistani cinema in a time period when no organized archives or record of Pakistani cinema existed. Besides working on films, Gazdar was also an activist. He was one of the founders of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and wrote articles on social issues in newspapers. His movies and activism often reinforced each other. He died in 2000.

The Pakistani Cinema of today, 19 years after the death of Mushtaq Gazdar, no longer serves as a tool to address the political and social issues of the country. Instead, it is more interested in blanketing such issues under the pretext of presenting a “positive image” of the country.