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Showgirls Of Pakistan

Project information

Talent Anam Abbas
Role of participant Producer
Director Saad Khan
Producer Anam Abbas
Screenwriter Anam Abbas
Status production

Production details

Running time 104 min
Genre Documentary (Creative)
Budget in Euro 188056
Year of production 2020
Country of Production Pakistan
Production Company
Zunn Productions

still / picture for Showgirls Of Pakistan
still / picture for Showgirls Of Pakistan
still / picture for Showgirls Of Pakistan


In Lahore, Pakistan, working class, worldly Afreen, 18, has been her family’s breadwinner since the age of 13 when her father died of cancer and left them destitute. She’s an erotic dancer, highly skilled, and independent who manages herself without a middleman.
In an age of social media, Afreen faces misogyny from every angle: from government censors, violent mobsters, predatory tabloid scandal mongers and religious fundamentalists. At a time when openly sexual women are routinely murdered she must act carefully and get out of Pakistan as soon as she can by becoming a major star.
What does it take to carve out earning power and freedom as a young working class woman in Pakistan? Someone like Afreen pushes class and gender boundaries in ways regarded as a threat to social order. Her path is far from obvious...
While Afreen blazes her high risk trail, two other Mujra dancers fall into the shadows. One is Reema, an older transwoman Mujra dancer and former VHS video star of the 1990s who has been cast out by the industry, held to an impossible double standard that demonizes her for being trans. In the city of Multan, Nadia, 30s, hangs on by a thread. She became a mujra dancer out of desperation, having been shot in the leg by her former husband, who used violence to control her sexuality. Having Her earnings must now support her family of 5, including a sister with cancer. She’s mixed up in a circle of bad boys who both exploit and care for her, enmeshing her in their world of trafficking and drug abuse.
Who will survive and who will perish in this world of vindictive patriarchal male power? Through a series of turning points these riveting characters lead us deep into an intimate world into which surrealist dream sequences are woven to underscore their deepest rage and longing.
Showgirls of Pakistan is a tender, admiring, empathic portrait of vulnerability, courage, rage and abjection as skilled authentic working class dancers walk a social and psychological tightrope in a patriarchal culture morbidly fixated on female purity.