Why support Pakistani cinema?

Quite often, nowadays have we been called to support Pakistani cinema. The apparent reasons told are that our film industry is going through a major evolution. So as Pakistanis, it falls on us to support our industry. So far so good? But I wonder why we should? What necessitates supporting it? I for instance, am still not certain. It was a conversation with a friend that urged me to consider the need of being in favor of Pakistani films that are the cinema version of Pakistani dramas, more or less. It was stated that given the industry’s limited resources which includes writers, actors, directors and an overall shortage of filmmakers and related staff hinders the production of films comparable to those produced in our neighboring country. It is vital, though that we should judge our films irrespective of any comparison drawn to Indian films. It is in this sense only that the credibility of Pakistani films could be made visible.

It is true that Pakistani cinema has undergone commendable changes so much so that it is considered to have risen again from the ashes. We have witnessed a major breakthrough in recent years. Pakistan is now producing films one after another and what is notable is the fact that we have conformed to global filmmaking standards. This explains why this era is different from the one when we saw bulky Punjabi heroines on screens. Film industry has emerged with great improvements not just in visualization but content wise too. But I feel that this revival is merely partial and not enough.

Films like Mah-e-Meer, Moor and Manto and he likes of them speak for themselves. They not only hit the local scales but also stood out internationally. What made them a success was genius and uniqueness of subjects as well as specialization of factors that are common to cinematic demands; cinematography, music, effects and quality of lights and sound. So far, I would be glad to support Pakistani cinema as long as it produced such films.

However, the revival saw a phase of rapid film making, owing to an increase in demand. This quick series gave us films like Jawani Phir Nhi Aani, Main Hoon Shahid Afridi, Balu Mahi, Wrong No. etc. it is in regard to such films that this article refers to. For example Jawani Phir Nhi Aani is rather a combo of jokes but that’s it. I had been exceedingly dismayed by the worth of what was called a blockbuster film. I found it extremely typical, lacking good content and essentially cohesion and was without much cause and effect. Similarly, we can name numerous films that exist without an effective screenplay or script. The music as well is forgettable. I am bound to question myself whether it’s important enough for me to spend my time and money to view films that are not going to have some influence and consequence.

The accomplishment of any form of arts, whether performing such as films, theatre or plays, writing and music is to administer long lasting impression on the audience and better still, leave them pondering. Unfortunately, Pakistani films fail to do so. One is in doubt about the purpose of these films, for e.g. Bin Roye which was later turned into a drama or Raasta. Like, what was the need? There is lack of diversification of artists who could be instrumental in bringing about better amendments. Obviously it is needful that we see not the same faces that make up dramas also on silver screen. But rather one sees Javed Shiekh in almost every other film. Speaking particularly about what the films are actually about is discouraging further. For example, Wrong Number was utterly romantic and totally uprooted from reality. Are we still lagging behind in broadness of themes? The areas under discussion are awfully confined to usual topics. Thought is not given to creation of varied fields in film itself such as short film, documentary and biopic.

It can be said that though they may seem entertaining but such entertainment is short lived and cannot   be classified as transitional or steering. There is a long way to go before they can say that Pakistani cinema has fully revitalized. If more concrete steps are not taken then it is very possible that this new found stimulus may lose intuition and meet the same fate as it had for previous many years. Without further progress in the right direction, filmmaking is bound to short fall of further development. It is the duty of the industry to give us praiseworthy content so that we can rightfully support Pakistani cinema, otherwise the reasons would be not agreeable enough. Isn’t it?