Pakistani film industry has been struggling for survival for years. It has been through some really difficult times, primarily because of the scope of Lollywood movies. Obviously there was a time when it was a real big deal for us to make movies like ‘Majajan’ and ‘Mohabbataan Sachiyaan’. At the same time, on the other end of the world, movies like ‘Mission Impossible 3’, ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ and animated movies like ‘Cars’ and ‘Ice Age’ were being made.
Finally, in 2013, a revolution hit us with ‘Main Hoon Shahid Afridi’. Many Pakistanis felt like that they too exist on the same planet. The culture of Pakistani movies got rid of the Gujjars, Jutts, Shers, Billo, Badmash and others.
‘Main Hoon Shahid Afridi’ was seriously good work, especially because of the new young faces that were introduced in that movie. It certainly heralded the industy’s revival after a prolonged slumber for Lollywood.
But there still is something glaring that’s missing in Pakistani movies. Because Indian movies still hog our favorites’ lists; and masses continue to rush to the cinemas to watch Bollywood films.
One of the biggest flaws in our movies is that we are seemingly short of young heroes and have a couple of oldies doing the lead role over and over again: Humayun Saeed and Shaan. I’m not challenging their credibility or acting, but they don’t quite complement the youthful roles that they seem to depict.
Why don’t we give a chance to new faces and young actors? This is one of the reasons why our youngsters turn to India and act in Bollywood movies, only to be criticized for not performing in the local industry.
The recent song ‘Fair & Lovely da Jalwa’, from the movie Jawani Phir Nahi Aani, is a case in point. It was ridiculous to see a young and handsome actor like Hamza Ali Abbasi (his Facebook posts and attention-seeking tactics notwithstanding) as the side-actor. He was dressed in a way so as to not look more handsome than Humayun Saeed, who in turn was dressed as if no other guy in the song was younger than him. Despite a tight sherwani and a lot of make-up on his face, the makeup artist failed to successfully cover Humayun Saeed’s increasing age. His discomfort in the dance moves was also revealing. It wouldn’t matter if he’s in his forties or fifties, if he could successfully pull off the role of a younger man.
Meanwhile, the Indian choreographer has struggled with the moves for the song. The dance will leave you wondering what exactly the choreographer wanted to do when she conjured the steps.
The lyrics were completely out of depth as well. They were possibly ‘over-creative’ and more probably a case of trying too hard. I simply did not understand what the song wanted to say.
The most amazing story behind the song is that Fair & Lovely sponsored it. Unfortunately, I think Fair & Lovely could have done a much better advertising job.
Moreover, the theme of the song was wedding and marriage, but I could not understand the correlation between Fair & Lovely and wedding dances or the institution of marriage.
In short, the entire song was abysmally mismanaged and badly choreographed to a point where it just seemed like a catastrophe. The reason: we waste most of our time in copying Indian movies and their trends. In order to revive our industry we must introduce new ideas, not the ones that have been used by Bollywood for eons.
Recently, when ‘Manto’ hit the theatres, many educated people were happy to see a movie based on a literary genius. The movie garnered acclaim because it deserved it. It was not based on a typical love story but was on a real person’s life and work.
Now when it is ready to be featured in New York Film Festival, we Pakistanis, and our forever conservative producers and directors (who normally remain focused on themselves), should watch and learn. And especially today, when the field of literature is fading, we can revitalize our film industry by making movies based on the best novels, writings and stories written by our legendary writers, including Ahmed Faraz, Bano Qudsiya, Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Nasir Kazmi and many others.
Pakistan is so rich in literature. But the dilemma is that we do not give it due importance. Hollywood makes most of their movies on novels and stories published by their writers. This is the reason their movies live up to 100 years.