Help - Search - Members - Calendar
Full Version: In Defence Of Pakistani Films
Hamara Forums > Films > Lollywood
Inaam
By Mustansar Hussain Tarar

Once upon a time a term “Paki Bashing” was coined by white raciest bald-headed youths who terrorized the Asians settled in United kingdom. They targeted old men and girls in particular, beating them up and at times killing them and no matter what the nationality of the victim, Indian, Bangladeshi or even Chinese they called this sport “Paki bashing”.

However, now the Pakistanis are invovled in “Paki bashing” now. Pakistanis love to ‘Paki bash’, ridicule, degrade and almost hate anything which is Pakistani, be it politics, literature, language or local products. But their favourite target these days is Pakistani films, the actors, directors, script writers, singers and everyone connected with films is ridiculed.

This condemnation started with the advent of cable television when the Indian channels bombarded us with cheap soap operas and Bollywood films. The Indian “navel” invasion was on, with the rest of the of the body parts chipping in. Now it is almost sacrilegious to praise or mention a Pakistani film, a height of bad taste so to speak and against all norms of aesthetics. This is yet another symptom of a sick and insecure society.

True that recently our films have degenerated and their quality at times is pathetic to say the least, but how can you condemn Pakistani films totally when in the last 57 years the industry has produced dozens of memorable classics along with scores which even the Indians could never match? And kindly consider that this art form along with other creative art forms are an asthma to Pakistani society in general. Basically it is an anti-art society which does not tolerate any creative activity, the actors are called miraasis and anybody remotely connected with showbiz is looked down upon.

An actor friend of mine and mind you one of the top most actors of today, although a Syed, highly educated, belonging to a scholarly family has problem marrying off his sons because he is in showbiz. About ten years back I asked the ghazal maestro, Ghulam Ali as to why he so frequently visits India, is it the money?

“Nahin Tarar sahib,” he said “there is enough money in Pakistan, I go to India for a little bit of izzat which is not available in Pakistan.” It is said the Ustad Bare Ghulam Ali Khan used to reside in a dingy abode inside the old city of Lahore. Some thieves broke into his house and carried away whatever little possessions he had. Therefore the Ustad went to the nearest police station to report the theft. The thanedar, however, had better things to do so he told him to wait outside for a while. The Ustad sat there underneath the scorching sun for about two hours, sweating profusely. In the meantime, as his complexion was rather on the dark side, he again requested the thanedar to oblige him. The thanedar seeing this great hulk of darkness sweating in the sun called his assistant and said, “Oi, take the report of this buffalo’s “Kutta” he is in a hurry”.

Although Ustad had numerous offers from India in the past, he preferred the poverty and indignity of his own soil to the riches and dignity of a foreign land. But this incident shattered him completely and the very next day he left for India and it is said that the provincial governor there, was there to receive him at the airport and touch his feet. So in such a callous art hating society, if certain individuals still pursue the notorious arts of acting, singing, dancing and making films they are exceptionally brave and committed. Under such circumstances producing those film gems is no less than a miracle. Most of these films had amazing musical scores; the compositions were magical to say the least. And what else do you expect when the likes of Khurshid Anwar were around, a close associate of martyr Bhaghat Singh, a college fellow of Faiz sahib, a philosophy master and a composer unparallel in subcontinent. I honestly believe that some of his pieces had a mystical element and could melt your earthly existence and transport it into the worlds unknown, otherwise how can you explain the flute interludes of Sun Wanjhali di mithri tan and Kabhi hum main tum main bhi piyar tha?

Not only Khurshid Anwar but the presence of greats like Master Ghulam Hyder (remember “Gulnar”) Master Enayat Hussain, Master Abdullah and Rashid Attre. They all graced an era with their exceptional musical talents. The legends of Noorjehan and Mehdi Hasan owe their prominence and fame to Pakistani films.

Sometime back, famed TV producer Shoaib Mansur came up with a programme of Pakistani compositions which were directly pirated by the Indian film Industry; even the famous Choli Ke peeche kia hai was borrowed from us. Why forget Reshman’s Wai main chori chori which was copied unashamedly by Lata Mangeshkar Yara seeli seeli or most of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s compositions. Even today, the Indians are overawed by our pop singers and borrow their tunes freely.

I feel the present decline in the film industry started when the import of Indian films was totally banned after the “Jal” agitation. Since there was no competition the industry thought it could churn out any garbage and people will per force see it. Some producers regularly churned out ditto copies of Indian films. The Ziaul Haq era throttled it good and proper, because the entertainment sector shifted to the religious sector and you know what sort of heavenly entertainment it was including conferences of Ulemas and Mushaikh.

The final nail in the coffin of film industry was good old Sultan Rahi, though no fault of his. The dialogue delivery, dresses, scores and even dances remained the same in hundreds of films and Rahi also remained the same with his flat nose and Attila the Hun wig because it is a fact that public loved it proving that if you administer a regular doze of poison the public will start loving it eventually.

There were times when Pakistani films competed with Indian films rather successfully. When Noorjaan’s Dopatta was released in a Calcutta cinema hall, the rest of the cinemas in the city were totally deserted due to its popularity. Then finally the cinema hall was burned in retaliation, ban the Pakistani films to save the Indian film industry was the chant.

Despite the agitation, when Gurudut’s Jal was released, an excellent film of Yeh rat yeh chandni phir kahan fame, it did not steal the limelight from Pakistani films. I do agree that we have some colossal self-centred fools in the film industry but aren’t we self sufficient in this genre in almost every walk of life?

Recently I read an interview of a film writer who boasted that he is a world record holder as far as the number of film scripts are concerned, he forgot to mention another achievement, he keeps on churning only one story and achieving maximum number of flops. Let us call him Grucho Marx and this Grucho stated very casually and I quote, “India has a population of 800 million, but there is not a single Grucho Marks of my stature in them.” Aren’t the Indians unlucky? I feel that the present slump and decline in film industry is temporary, the films by Javed Sheikh and especially Ajab Gul are doing roaring business on box office.

Recently Syed Noor’s Churian was a treat to watch. I am just an ardent viewer of Pakistani films and cannot claim to be a film historian so I will be missing a lot of worthy films made in the past. However, please go through the list of following films and do point out if a single one of them is not praiseworthy. Actually most of them can easily be called classics considering the size and sources of our industry. Films like Gulnar, ChunWay, Dopatta, Lare, Phere, Shehri Babu, Pate Khan Phanney Khan and many more perhaps prove my point that despite the present drought of good films we should be proud of the Pakistani film industry and not ridicule it straight away.

If you still have any doubts please try to see Koel, Kartar Singh, Susral, Lakhon Main Ek or Heer Ranjha perhaps you will change your opinion about Pakistani film industry because if you haven’t watched these films then you have no right to criticize Pakistani films. Can you name a single film from the subcontinent which surpasses Heer Ranjha in direction, acting, camera craft, poetry and heavenly music?
YaarMere
They make good Dramas but thatz abt it really.
jamalf_akbar
I agree with the article, and in fact I gave a short talk on Pakistani Cinema on the weekend at a film festival in Bradford. We showed four Khurshid Anwar films (Intezar, Zehr-e-Ishq, Ghoonghat, Chingari).

It's such a shame that people are so unaware of the golden period of Pakistani films. There is still a lot of good talent in Pakistan now, it is just a bit mis-guided at the moment, and these days the majority of films are made solely for money (but that isn't a problem just limited to Pakistan)

I saw an excellent documentary whilst attending the film festival called Bhooli Hui Hoon Dastan made by Adnan Malik last year. It was all about this topic.

Thanks for the article Inaam Bhai.

Jamal
extenok
QUOTE(jamalf_akbar @ Sep 29 2005, 04:17 AM) *

I agree with the article, and in fact I gave a short talk on Pakistani Cinema on the weekend at a film festival in Bradford. We showed four Khurshid Anwar films (Intezar, Zehr-e-Ishq, Ghoonghat, Chingari).

It's such a shame that people are so unaware of the golden period of Pakistani films. There is still a lot of good talent in Pakistan now, it is just a bit mis-guided at the moment, and these days the majority of films are made solely for money (but that isn't a problem just limited to Pakistan)

I saw an excellent documentary whilst attending the film festival called Bhooli Hui Hoon Dastan made by Adnan Malik last year. It was all about this topic.

Thanks for the article Inaam Bhai.

Jamal


Tarar sahab makes a valid point with this article. I personally believe, as an under-developed (developing) nation we should be looking more into improving our educational system than the cinema. Anyway, thats a discussion for another time and another forum. Getting back to the topic at hand ... the corruption and defiling of the Pakistani Cinema.

Who did it? Who played a major role?

Maybe the import of the Indian culture through satellite channels is to be blamed? Could be the VCR VHS cassettes that destroyed the cinema market back in the 80s? Or was it Zia-ul-Haq's self-righteous endeavours in this regard? Or maybe its the materialistic approach to this art form which has gone ugly.

Agreed, the government isn't sponsoring or promoting this form of art. But, aren't we also forgetting that when filmmakers think about making a fast buck, they are going to compromise on quality. And yes, we've the talent, but what about the technical expertise? What about the equipment that the rest of the world is using to shoot movies while we still struggle with 30 year old technologies?

Something that bothers all Pakistanis who have had a chance of looking at their country from far away, you see such a dearth of people willing to take risks. The businessman only works with something that is certain to give him a profit. And this is probably what we are doing wrong. If we don't promote risk-taking filmmakers/individuals (in general) we will keep churning out flop after flop. Maybe that is for the best, until we get educated and civilized people taking up this art form professionally. Till then, Javed Sheikh, Ajab Gul and even Syed Noor on some occassions can serve as trend-setters, changing the face of Pakistani Cinema.

And in the end, YM, please note, we used to make good dramas. Now, thanks to the likes of ARY and other private channels, we've got hundreds of meaningless stylized soap operas, most of them imitating Indian Soap Operas. I can't understand since when did delving into the under-belly of society, peeking into the lives of 'tawaifs', 'heejhrahs' and generally corrupt individuals become so entertaining. This is what happens when you can't find meaningful stories. You use & abuse the shock-value.
Inaam
QUOTE(jamalf_akbar @ Sep 29 2005, 04:17 AM) *
I saw an excellent documentary whilst attending the film festival called Bhooli Hui Hoon Dastan made by Adnan Malik last year. It was all about this topic.

Thanks for the article Inaam Bhai.

Jamal


Jamal! I have also seen this documentry a few months ago in KARA film festival Karachi. It was a very good documentry indeed.

Inaam
This is a "lo-fi" version of our main content. To view the full version with more information, formatting and images, please click here.
Invision Power Board © 2001-2021 Invision Power Services, Inc.