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Whats wrong with Pakistani Cinema?

Faraz . 6

1 saal 2 maheenay aur 1 din.. This was the last time I posted anything and that too was of a movie. So why am I writing a post now? Honestly speaking I just discovered Snap chat and realized I need followers: D so shamelessly using this post to advertise my snap chat ID.. :) but jokes a part. I just felt like writing something on Pakistani Cinema and in addition to this post, me and Sadaf will be soon doing a podcast on Pakistani Cinema so this is a kind of promotion for that as well :D ( Genius at marketing ) !!

On a Serious note. Its been good 5 years ever since Pakistani Movies started making noise. Mein hoon Shahid Afridi Started it all and later waar carried on to the wave. Then came Namloom Afraad that announced the arrival of a brilliant story teller Nabeel Qureshi and suddenly it felt that Pakistani Cinemas was out of the toddler mode. Movies like Yeh Jawani phir nahi anni and Actor in law were the complete product in terms of story, direction acting and dialogues.

We all started to believe that Pakistani movies have finally found their own place or did they really?

During the last few days I have been reading reviews of the movie Verna. So I decided to watch the movie so I could review it, however, I will be honest, I left the theatre so distasteful that I never even wanted to write a review of it, I honestly don’t want to join the negative bandwagon. So instead I thought of writing a general post about what’s wrong with Pakistani Cinema.

There are couple of things that makes a Movie go in its favor. Few of them are Production Value, Story, Direction, music and Marketing. However, there is one more thing that our producers and director don’t give importance to and that’s taking the viewers for granted.

Yup, you read it right. Taking the viewers for granted and imposing self intellect on them.The example of this could be Namaloom Afraad part 2, The movie had everything in its favor,, The director , the Cast , the music, the production value.. however, the director took the viewers for granted and gave them a crappy story. Result? The movie had the potential of being a block buster however it barely covered its cost. Yes it was declared a hit because of it being released during the festival season, however as a viewer it had nothing to offer. and that’s exactly the reason why it should be a wake up call for producers and directors.

The other big fundamental issue that our movie creators need to take care of is that they need to increase the ratio of male centric movies. What they need to realize is that Cinema is different than TV and the metrics they use on TV can not be used for Cinemas. When it comes to TV the target Audience are mostly women, House wives who have easy access to TV and don’t have to step out of their home, however if they have to watch a movie, majority of them are dependent on their male companion to accompany them. So if the movie is full of male bashing and showing the male as someone who is always the villain it will always end up having less male viewers ,why will I go to watch a movie that will be showing me as the main villain so the ratio of women centric movies need to be 30 /70 and the example of this can be seen from Bollywood where they produce more movies that are male centric which brings in audience and hence a lot of money.

Pakistani Cinema is still in its revival stages and it will take a lot more time before we can start making main stream movies based on women issues. For that you already have TV which is a fully women centric medium.

So to sum it all Pakistani Cinema can not afford to make a wrong move because at the end of the day it’s the audience that’s the king they have the power to like or dislike a movie no matter which big name is associated with it. The movie may appeal to a niche audience however that will not bring in masses hence making it a loss on investment by the producers. We need better stories and better strategy , so far they have sold the idea of ” watch own cinema , support pakistan” very well :) but it wont go on forever.. as we karachite use a slang ” kab tak yeh manjan bechoo gay? “



  • Sana Mohsin

    nice article! So whats your snap chat ID? lol
    I think the main issue with pakistani cinema is the production value, and that issue is also with pakistani TV. Women go to cinemas too you know, maybe more than you think, and yes I like male centric movies too like kick, or wanted (my favorite) or dabangg. I also think that we need explore more genres, make all kinds of movies and cater to different audiences. I do not want to watch a movie about social issues all the time, I like cheesy, romantic movies too, as well as action like I mentioned earlier or even a family drama. And for God’s sake we need NEW actors, I am sick of seeing Humayun Saeed!! Can somebody please tell him he does not suit the role of a dancing boyfriend any more?
    The other thing I want to mention and I pray that someone from pakistani movies is reading this is that please STOP following bollywood and make your own mark, be YOU. I hate these “item numbers” and please stop with the vulgarity. I hardly watch any bollywood movies in theater anymore due to the kissing scenes nowadays, can you imagine sitting next to an uncle and watching it? I have enough haya that I wouldnt. Ok thats it for now. If I think of anything else, I will come back

    • Shuker hai you asked :) mein tou wait ker raha tha koi puchay aur mein doon its farazqadri

      Sana , i know women go to cinema however since i am in pakistan i talk from pakistans prespective. there are very few women who do go bythemselves or girls in a girls group, majority still go with a male companion due to safety concerns.

      I am also all for all kind of cinema , however what i want to say is.. that Pakistani movie makers 1st need to bring in enough audience and create a market of their own. so their movies can make money for producers as well as cinema owners. once they have acheived that , they can make all kinds of movies.

      baat tab theek thi jab saal ki 100 movies ati aur uss mein different genres bhi hotay . movies 10 mushkil say aur uss mein bhi 3-4 social issues. only few entertainment based, pehlay market banaoo. demand create kero phir experiments kero..

      • Sana Mohsin

        hmm, you know I have only watched one bollywood movie in the last two years in theater? The other two that I watched were kids movies. I was talking about movies in general. I dont go to watch bollywood movies anymore due to the vulgarity. I dont feel comforatble watching those scenes with a desi uncle sitting next to me. lol.

        What do you mean by “creating enough audience?” Do you think making masala entertainers will create enough audience? Because frankly on my salman khan can do it, nobody else. And what do you mean “male centric” movies? Can you give me an example of one? Because even wanted or dabagg was not necessarily male centric. There were male villains, and I loved them for the amazing character Salman played. Seriously, I love these two movies. I can watch them anytime, anyday! And I feel that they were very “female centric” too. Like in dabangg the mother was an essential part, when she died, that is when things fell apart, and because of her they all came together in the end. Sonakshi Sinha was strong woman who can reply back to a police officer woh bi UP main, and has an alcoholic father who she takes care of.

        Similarly, in wanted, the girl was harassed multiple times, the police officer’s daughter was kidnanpped, drugged and raped, those were the social issues that were raised. Maybe they were subtle and the egocentric male did not understand it?

        In my opinion, Pakistan needs to be a cinema that is unique. If I can watch a dabangg with salman khan, why would I watch a similar movie with humayun saeed (ugggh). They need to first of all get new faces that I like, lol, and create their own kind of cinema

  • Sadaf

    Well I think this pod cast is going to be super interesting because we haven’t started and already we have a fight . I loved Verna but I am incredibly grateful to you Faraz for giving your honest opinion , which very few people have done . I am not saying people who didn’t like Verna are wrong , films are a very subjective thing and I hope to respect other people’s opinion . However your paragraph about Male oriented movies hits the nail on the head . I think people were expecting a lot more from the male characters in Verna . however all of them from father , to husband to by standers were cast as weak , miserable creatures guided by their own egos above all else . I would say the greatest blow to Pakistani manhood in this movie was not from the evil villain , or the ineffectual husband ,but from the way Shoaib Manzoor has written the father of the victim. A highly respectable , intellectual ; a professor in fact , who kills himself from shame and leaves a letter explaining this and then has the audacity to end it with ” mainay Sara Ko Maaf keeya ”
    Maaf keeya for what , is my question ? For being raped , for not keeping quiet , for asking for justice ?
    And this is the sad mindset of a lot of people male and female that I think Shoaib Manzoor wanted to shock us at least enough to make us reevaluate some of behavior.
    Now I want to ask you why you feel that male centric stories are being ignored . Apart from Verna and perhaps Dobara Phir Se , there havent really been any female centric movies . I think JPNA 1 (and probably JPNA 2) is basically male centric as a franchise . Similarly the Na Maloom Afrad series was very male centric . Most of the romcom like Janaan , BaluMahi ,Mehru Nissa we Lub You , Punjab Nahi Jaoongi had strong male characters and were not exactly female- centric though their stories might tilt a little towards giving women rights as side issue , but each one gave a lion’s share of screen time and perspective to the male protagonist too.
    lets see Chain aaye na was a.. I have no idea what…. but that too was hardly feminist , acha tho baqi rehgaaey the typical ISPR inspired patriotic movies … Like Waar , Operation 21 and the nauseating Yalgaar which despite some female characters were very obviously male oriented . I don’t think feminism is the problem with Pakistani Cinema at all .
    I think the biggest problem is People trying to make formulaic Bollywood masala films out of ingredients we just don’t have in Pakistan . when people stick to an authentic story line and a great original script the audience hears the right note and does come out to watch . I personally love old Bollywood with all the colors and dances but just look at Dangal and Secret superstar ,which are huge hits with out a dance troupe of women in colorful skirts .
    One last point our industry lacks basic production skills . They have to understand budgeting and marketing . If a film is on budjet it can make a profit if not , it will flop no matter how well its made . In India there are people calculating costs on set . producers need to be tough and know when to spend money and when not to . I ahve sadly seen good films fail because of bad marketing .

    • Haina.., It will be a good podcast :) and i will save my reply for the podcast because idher hi sb likh diya tou podcast per kya bolon ga :)

    • Sana Mohsin

      Hey Sadaf, are you the same sadaf on twitter?
      I do agree with you, but the problem with me is that I have only watched 3 pakistani movies in the last 20 years lol, so I cannot say much. The reason ? None of them attracted me. I saw trailers. I kinda wathced a few scenes when my parents were watching them. but hated them and then I do not like most of the actors honestly. I liked bachana though, but I thought the script could have been better. So what I am trying to say is, how will you bring me to watch it? I am an audience too you know. And I am the one who would insist my husband to watch it, otherwise he would never. Pakistani films need to stop being like bollywood first of all, and then have good story telling, plus the production value matters too. Why cant they make shorter films? Like 1.5 hour long and call it a day?
      Oh btw when is the podcast? And what the hell is a podcast anyway? I have no idea lol.
      Also, sadaf do you read my reviews? Let me know how they are!

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