For the last year and a half, a lot of hue and cry has been made about how the Pakistani cinema is dying and what can be done to revive it. Growing up here in Karachi I have always wondered how our music scene just keeps getting better and better while our cinema just worse and worser. No I was not around when Waheed Murad wooed the women of Pakistan with his side parting, or when Nadeem made the whole country weep with his histrionics in legendary films like Dehleez and Bobby. Neither was I there to enjoy Ghalib or Santosh Kumar whatever they did, or when Zeba was the darling of tinsel town and Husna the most haseen Ok.. Ok I admit it!! I was alive in Nadeemâ€™s time but a bit too young to make it to the cinema. Plus at that time going to the cinema was a grown up activity. Meaning not something parents took toddlers to. How could they when people like Aslam Pervez played the drunken notorious playboy to the hilt on the silver screen. I still remember my parents going to watch a flick every Thursday night with their friends.
In those days, I think our Film industry had less competition from our neighbors as well as a rich vein of talent to draw from locally. Yes I did leave out some famous names I n the above paragraph like Sultan Rahi (of the nawa aya hay sonia fame), Mussarat Shaheed(the rainy delight of pakhtuns) & Mohammad Ali but for him I have a valid excuse.Â As he seriously scared me when I was a kid with his â€œJudge Sahabâ€ type dialogues, I would wake up with him screaming that in my nightmares in all number of situations till my teenage years. There were soothing moments off course, usually Noor Jehans songs which are a delight to listen to even today. Films like â€œAinaâ€ featuring Nadeem and Shabnum, with songs sung by Alamgir and Nayyara Noor ran for not weeks but many years as hits. These days though the pickings are scarce, very scarce indeed.
So who is to blame for all this? The publicâ€™s disinterest in Pakistani flicks has been quite pointed over the last 10 years or so. Thus meaning lower budgets and constant cutting of production costs, leading to meager offerings for our visual palette. Even if someone tries to make an experiment costing a few carores it still seems to be the same sauce in a new bottle. For example Yeh Dil Aap Ka hua in 2002 by Jawed Sheikh and the other 200 Syed Noor films who have the same heroine in 199 of them and the same story, although quite remarkably with different names and the latest copied songs from Bollywood, Hurrah!
The filmmakers and the cinema owners have now started using the media to question us the public as to why we do not flock to see their movies anymore. I would like to ask them how many Pakistani movies have they themselves taken their families to watch recently? Have they ever thought about the experience a slightly tasteful person goes through when watching a â€œJatt in Londonâ€ or â€œDaku Gujjarâ€ or something of that sort? I am sorry but the youth of today is a bit too intelligent to be taken in by such meager fare. For them grown overweight men with stained teeth and waxed mustaches dancing around trees with dandasas does not lead to a fulfilling cinematic experience!
I do not really want to come across as pretentious here but come on!! The video is worse than one can make with a handy cam, the sound of equal quality and most of the time the dialogue delivery is dubbed about a second behind the actual lip movements. This off course makes even erstwhile actors like Shan and Momi look absurd. I wouldnâ€™t even bother to delve into our heroines of today. How Fabulaaas they are and Affcourse how they are getting offers from India every other day. Affcourse how can we not believe that the Indians love them so much that Mahesh Bhatt is thinking of moving to Karachi to keep his career alive.
Still despite of all this there is still hope. For a few producers recently have had the guts to depart from the usual manic formula and tried to make something out of an actual story. Yes for every â€œManila ki Bijlianâ€ there is a â€œBotul Galiâ€, and so on. In fact I think I may have the solution to Pakistani cinemas problem in the above sentence. The producers need to let go of their botuls and walk through a few galis in any city in this nation to first get a feel of what â€œRealityâ€ is like. Perhaps then they can sit down and go about making a movie like the recently released â€œKhuda Ke Liyeâ€ which was seriously fabulaaas. Not because of only its story or camera quality, but because it was original, it was simple and it was professionally done. It also hit the public right where it matters, involving the topic in discussion the most these days. This is why it still attracts full houses people! And why everyone is calling it the harbinger of revolution in our cinema. Even aside from this one film new projects in the making by Saqib Malik and Jami are awaited anxiously. But wait, stay the revolution just a bit, flop actress turned flop directors movie is just about to release, god someone give me a chainsaw!!
Published in the March 08 Issue Of AAGAHI with â€œThe Newsâ€ As LollywooD