About

My name is Nate. I’m your host for this podcast.

I was born in India and grew up watching Dev Anand, Meena Kumari and Rajesh Khanna films. After university I spent several years working and studying in Lahore and Rawalpindi. I fell in love with the culture, history and especially the music of Pakistan and have been writing about it for about 10 years.

I used to write a weekly music column for Scroll.in and still maintain my blog where I share my passion for music from all across South Asia and the South Asian diaspora. I’ve also written a couple of novels, The Shah of Chicago (2017) and The Book of Accounts (2000), which was nominated for the Guardian First Book Award and the Frankfurt eBook Award!

Lollywood Tales is primarily a history podcast. The main subject is the film industry of Pakistan, one of the best kept secrets of world cinema. But for any story to make sense it needs context. So this podcast will touch on politics, society, religion and other ostensibly non-cinematic topics from time to time.

There are three main reasons why I’ve decided to put this podcast together.

  1. Not many people know this story. Everyone knows about Bollywood and the Hindi movie industry in India. And though Indians today know the names and love the music of many Pakistani singers who have sung in Hindi movies, most would be hard pressed to name a single Pakistani movie personality or recall the title of even one Pakistani movie. Even in Pakistan there are few people who know the full history of their local industry, especially prior to 1947. So this is a story that needs to be told.
  2. There would be no Bollywood without Lollywood. Gujaratis may have financed the Hindi movies and Maharashtrians given Bollywood their grand city, Bombay. But it was the Punjab and territories that we now call Pakistan that gave Bollywood so much of its initial talent. The number of actors, musicians, journalists, writers, directors and producers who got their start in Lahore and went on to make Bollywood a success and whose children and grandchildren continue to make it a glittery global brand is almost beyond belief.
  3. Pakistan and Pakistanis deserve to be seen in a better light. In this day and age of fear based politics Pakistan is generally boxed into categories like ‘failed state’ or ‘jihadist/terrorist state’. This may serve a global geo-political narrative but it is unfair and grossly inaccurate. I have lived in the country for quite a number of years. Instead of a cultural wasteland I discovered one of the richest folk and popular cultures in South Asia. By tracing the incredible, resilient history of Pakistani movie-making I hope I can make a small contribution to rebalance the jaundiced world view of a hardworking, lively, creative and humane people.

Here’s hoping you’ll find this podcast entertaining, informative and fun. If you do please spread the word and consider becoming a supporter where you can access exclusive content and mini episodes.