Pakistani cinema and soft image

Movies play an important role in promoting the culture of a country. The Pakistani industry, formerly known as Lollywood, used to be known as a force to be reckoned with after partition. However, with the passage of time, the world moved on and our cinema industry declined.
Over the years, several theories have emerged for this decline. Some have attributed it to Zia’s Islamisation, while others have shifted the blame on the rise of capitalism in the industry. Since foreign movies were allowed to air their movies in the country, it has led to an influx of huge revenues for the profiteers. The business investors found an easy way of making money without going through the hurdles of production of movies. In the short term, it led to huge profits but the adverse effects were far greater.
Initially, the production houses started closing down as producers were reluctant to wait and invest in any project, equipment and setup. Then the profits of cinema owners were also reduced since they had to pay a fixed price for the movies’ which were bought by businessmen whether they made any profit or not. This practice was widely followed by big media enterprises as well. This brought the mechanism of the local film industry to a halt. The whole supply chain was gravely affected. In this time, our regional film industry first came into shackles then the national film industry was weakened. Now, the existence of Pakistani films is reduced to negligible.
Keeping in view this fact, PM Imran Khan has initiated the Prime Minister’s Economic outreach programme to promote soft power of the country. This project is a first of its kind, which will bring together both the public and private sector in portraying Pakistani culture as an international commodity. This also shows that there is a change in the mindset of the government in PM Khan’s administration as it is considering the long-neglected industry.
Furthermore, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MOIB) invited all the stakeholders on one page to listen to their problems and suggestions. These stakeholders include members from Film Producers Association, private media owners, venture capitalists and members of the tourist industry in order to take their viewpoint. These private stakeholders were given preference in terms of order and they initiated the panel discussion on the subject. Discussions revolved around making the film industry a full-fledged industry along with giving it the same stimulus packages as the one given to the construction industry. In addition to this, emphasis was given to sign joint agreements with other countries for the production of films to encourage collaboration and export of local content. The panel highlighted that soft power can only be achieved in the form of public-private partnership.
The session concluded by highlighting the continuous efforts of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MOIB) in trying to revamp the cinema industry. Emphasis was also given on how different digital platforms such as Netflix and Amazon Prime can be attracted to invest in Pakistan.

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