LONDON — Pakistan has chosen “Zinda Bhaag” as its contender for the foreign-language Academy Award race.

The film is in the Urdu and Punjabi languages, produced by Mazhar Zaidi and written and directed by Meenu Gaur and Farjad Nabi.

“Zinda Bhaag” is an illegal immigration comedy drama where three young men try and escape the realities of their lives in Pakistan. It stars veteran Indian thesp Naseeruddin Shah alongside Pakistani actors Amna Ilyas and Khurram Patras.

The film is Pakistan’s first entry to the Academy Awards after a 50-year absence.

Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, Chair of Pakistan’s Academy Awards selection committee, said: “Pakistan will finally have a film in contention this year at the Academy Awards and I feel proud that today we are taking a small step towards recognizing our own filmmakers. “Zinda Bhaag” is proof of the fact that sheer will, passion and talent can achieve incredible feats, and I would like to congratulate the team behind the film on a compelling and cinematic film.”

Directors Meenu Gaur and Farjad Nabi said, “We feel honoured, excited, overjoyed and many other things right now. More than anything else this nomination is an indication that the time has come for the spotlight to return to Pakistani cinema.”

“Zinda Bhaag” releases in Pakistan on September 20.