By Bushra Hassan.
Facing many ups and downs, Pakistani cinema has yet survived its way out. Giving many blockbusters, Pakistan’s big screen has again started to attract many viewers and has forced many couch-potatoes to leave their homes and run towards cinemas to watch a good movie. People, who used to go to cinemas only to watch an Indian movie, now wait for the next Pakistani movie to release. Pakistani cinema has proved and regained its lost status once again through many movies of different genres due to which the darkest era of film industry has finally come to an end.
The not so liked trend of Gandasa, Plumpish heroine in item numbers that no one liked to watch, the missing glamour and theatres being as no-go areas, made Pakistani cinema to witness its darkest era. A matter of shame and disrespectful that Pakistani cinema has always remained a part of, did not contain decent scripts, family environment and a fun movie to watch with your young ones. On the other end, we all must have seen our parents and grandparents praising different remarkable names that contributed a lot to the big screen marvels of Pakistan. The Chocolate Hero Waheed Muraad has always remained the centre of such discussions. Producing many blockbuster films including Insaan Badalta Hai (1961), Ehsaan (1967), Naseeb Apna Apna (1970) and Mastana Mahi (Punjabi Film – 1971) are all the ones which took Pakistani cinema to its golden era. One movie that made him immortal for our industry was Armaan (1966).
Good days do not last forever. The increasing trend of Gandasa culture in Pakistani cinema and the strict rules of dictatorship proved to be a downfall of the big screen cinema. Pakistan at that time was producing 80 – 90 feature films per year. But the media and cinema, both after being shackled by a dictatorial regime, could not even churn out two quality films each year. The famous movie Maula Jatt was the one from where this culture was originated being followed by many sequels, the movie proved to be a super hit too. Another reason of the downfall was not having enough cinemas around Pakistan. Considered “not an area for girls to go”, our movie theatres did not contain family environment. A whole generation, including me, did not experience a movie on big screen. We were always told that it was a red zone and going there was not safe. The screening of inappropriate script, contents and item numbers was a major reason that families used to avoid going. In addition to it, the cable television was an easy access for the viewers. They got every Indian movie broadcasted on the next day of release. People started enjoying Indian Movies and they waited for the next movie to release. CDs and DVDs were bought for home theatres along with popcorns and families used to sit in their lounge to enjoy the family time. They used to watch Indian movies as Indian cinema was producing decent scripted, big budget movies like Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Dilwale Dulhaniya Ley Jaingay, Hum Sath Sath Hain, Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Ghum and many more that showed family values and was fun to watch too.
This dark era of Pakistani cinema ended when many cinema theatres with perfect screens, family environment, security, food counters of foreign standards were introduced. People felt confident taking their families along and even let their young ones hang out with their group and enjoy a quality time which was once considered a sin even to think. The release of Khuda Kay Liye in 2007, proved to be a success and forced families to watch it on the big screen. Shoaib Mansoor’s movie was a message oriented and a decent movie that attracted audience from every class. The nicely executed Pakistani movie, contained decent songs and was a fun to watch. People were so involved that they left the theatres crying as this movie engraved its position in their minds. Since then Pakistani big screens have seen many blockbusters. Love stories including Bin Roye, Ho Man Jahan, war oriented movies like Waar, Chameli on the topic of politics, Jawani Phir Nhi Ani, a comedy movie and many movies of different genres have proved that Pakistani cinema can produce a film on any topic. A film that contains a message oriented script, glamour, young blood and a full package that has proved to provide a quality time for families, has brought back the trend of cinemas. To provide an opportunity for young blood has also proved to be in favour of Pakistani cinema as fresh ideas and quality productions have made Pakistani Cinemas able to compete in international market. The young and educated people entering our film industry have ended the congested culture that was once a part of Pakistani cinema. Entrance of young blood resulted in attracting viewers to cinemas and has lessened the craze of Indian movies. Pakistani movies are now being released all over the world and red carpets are particularly arranged for their publicity. Producers are spending big budgets on their movies to increase glamour, class and quality, the quality that has proved to revive the Pakistani Cinema Industry.
The writer is a Research Analyst and holds a strong command over Entertainment Industry. She can be reached at;