LAHORE: Filmmakers often complain that they have to travel abroad for post production work due to the lack of animation and post production facilities available in Pakistan. However, production houses and individuals in Pakistan claim they are adding special effects and creating animation work on various national and international projects.
In most Pakistani features animated work is usually not required and only comes in to play in film titles. However, despite the accredited importance assigned to works of animation, it is considered an important element of filmmaking and is responsible for creating strong visuals. In Pakistan’s first science-fiction (sci-fi) film, Son of Andata, Sultan Rahi took on the role of the villain, a notorious robot invented by Talish who played the role of an evil scientist.
The 1980s release of Pakistani sci-fi film Shaani, Saeed Rizvi introduced works of animation which were not computer generated images (CGI) but instead employed camera tricks in post production treatment. The film showed an animated alien who lands in a Pakistani village. The film shrewdly made use of an animated character in the script who was eventually replaced with an actor.
In 1991, Rizvi produced yet another sci-fi feature, Sar Katta Insan, where he used magic tricks and made veteran actor, Babra Sharif dance with Pink Panther.
While animated music videos are produced in Pakistan, no animated feature films or tele-films are produced and even for minimal animation, Pakistanis are dependent on other countries. Shahzad Rafique a Pakistani director said, “No animation is needed in our films and if we need any then we can go to Bangkok for animated effects.”
However, animators in Pakistan don’t agree with the film directors’ views about the unavailability of the graphic effects in Pakistan. Haseeb Ahmad, a filmmaker said, “We have never been good at fiction films and our film directors are still stuck in a typical film formula. There is no technology issue as information is equally accessible to everyone. It is the same when it comes to talent; animators here in Pakistan are not as good as those from America because they have large scale projects.”
A 2D animator Ahmad Bilal said, “Animation is an expensive process. At a small level people are doing well in animation and there are people in Pakistan who can work on animated films.”
“Gallan and Teri Parchaian” by Ali Azmat, “Dhool” by Rumz, “Freestyle Dive” by Sajid and Zeeshan and “Woh Lamhay” by Atif Aslam are some of the animated videos made in Pakistan. Pakistani animators are also working in Hollywood and Walt Disney. One such animator is Muqeem Khan who has worked for big projects like Final Fantasy, George of the Jungle, Deep Rising, Armageddon and Flubber.
Majid Khan, another animator who is working on iPhone applications in Pakistan said, “We have a number of Pakistani animators but they are working in the UK, Hollywood and Walt Disney. They are really good at their work and it is unfair to blame them for not producing good work. People in the film industry just don’t approach them.”
A student of animation Farheen Bano said,” We have many animation studios in Pakistan but there is no one to finance them or director who wants to work with animation. Also the old fashioned methods and the fact that animation is not being developed make animation lose its impact. I was watching a fight scene in a Pakistani film but it was a horrible production because of the out dated camera tricks that followed it.”
Published in The Express Tribune, January 29th, 2011.
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