The Glassworker brings with it a hope that indigenous entertainment for children has a future in Pakistan. Creator and animator Usman Riaz, utilising crowd-sourced funding together with a traditional approach to created his masterpiece; Pakistan’s first ever hand drawn animated film. Thanks to a 1,053 generous people who donated to the artist’s fundraising campaign on Kickstarter, The Glassworker generated a staggering $116,000, which paved the way for him to lay a foundation in the hand-drawn animation industry.
Some recent indigenous attempts to rectify the dearth of children’s entertainment in Urdu have been made like Quaid Sey Baatein and Burka Avenger, which have garnered much appreciation for capturing the hearts and minds of a sizeable number of children. But nothing had been created since the Ainak Wala Jin, a 1993 children’s television series produced and broadcast by PTV, that was widely popular among children and grown ups alike for its humour and tales of fantasy and magic. The characters became household names and some of the dialogues were transformed into political connotations. The theme was conceived as an amalgamation of fantasy, real life and science fiction.
The lack of entertainment content, which plays with these genres, is saddening to say the least. An entire generation of children has been deprived of content that evokes their imagination and innovation and instead rely on content outsourced from other countries to satisfy their entertainment needs.
Indigenous entertainment aims to make children think about civil responsibility, morals, tolerance and opens a world of magic and fantasy based in local values. Such initiatives should not only be encouraged but also funded by private and government organisations alike. There is a gap in the market for children’s entertainment and those working to produce stories and shows for children must be applauded.