The Rise and Fall of the Pakistan Film Industry

Film is a combination of sounds and pictures. Mankind, with his intelligence, has created this fantastic fantasy world. Presently, this art is mounting to the height of its peak, unparalleled by any other art form. This progress in the field of Filmography is the fruit of laborious decades, during which time the industry has undergone many pitfalls. The Pakistan Film Industry is a by-product of the efforts of Europe in the same field, efforts to which the Pakistan Film Industry is owed to.

When the roots of Europe were anchoring deep in the subcontinent, the art of filmmaking was also growing by leaps and bounds, especially in the City of Bombay (now located in India); this city attracted the common public and many actors, directors, and filmmakers rose from it. This alluring art of film making started to spread in other cities of the subcontinent with all its pomp and pride, especially in Lahore. Because of this, Lahore became the second most important city in the film industry in Pakistan, next to Bombay.

August 14, 1947, when the subcontinent was divided into two nations, Pakistan and India, many renowned film artists migrated from Bombay to Lahore and laid the foundation of the Pakistan Film Industry.

In a short period of time, this industry gained huge success and business started to flourish. Film studios started to open in various other cities and cinemas were opening and many new areas were evolving. Besides mere production, film distribution, principal photography, and exhibition came into existence. Films were made on different themes and as the film industry was mounting to the skies the business remained very profitable. But in the middle of this bright era of the Pakistan Film Industry, some illiterate, conservative investors who believed in casteism and racism found their way in and started to produce films that were entirely based on racial discrimination, casteism , bullying, and plain vulgarity for the sole purpose of making a quick profit.

With the entry of these new irrational, stupid and theme-less movies in the film industry, the general public started to lose their interest in going to cinemas. Also, the poor handling of copyright laws made it worse and the business of film making started to crash day by day till it reached its lowest levels.

The film studios started to shut down, cinemas started to close, film artists could not find work; even the government did not support it and abandoned them considering they were heavily taxed in the boom.  The film industry of Lahore, once the backbone of the city, completely collapsed. Nevertheless, in the city of Karachi, some wealthy financiers tried to hold the descent and financed excessively budgeted movies. However it did not work and the films could not catch the interest of the general public, who shifted from cinemas to watching TV instead.

The condition of the Lahore Film Industry, which I can witness today, is beyond recognition. There are no serious producers in the market due to the risk of losing their investment and the ones who are willing to invest are movie maniacs who want to become a hero in the film. For these types of investors, their goal for making a film is to see themselves on the screen. Because of this, it is no wonder the film does not last more than a week in the cinema due to its poor casting, story, budget, and acting.

As a Film Director and Producer, I think, the Pakistan Film Industry has completely collapsed. I cannot predict the future, but I have faith in our young generation and with the help of new technology and ideas, they will change our future.

By: Malik Imdad Hussain

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