Make movies on women’s rights, says Reham

Khan seeks collaboration between Pakistani and Indian film industries


Photo Ayesha Mir/Amel Ghani December 18, 2015
Madhur Bhandarkar, Reham Khan and Om Puri at the press conference. PHOTO: AYESHA MIR/EXPRESS

LAHORE: Reham Khan urged Pakistani filmmakers on Friday to raise awareness about women’s rights through their movies.

She was addressing the media on the second day of the International Film Festival underway in the city.

Khan said she had been a huge fan of Bollywood director Madhur Bhandarkar’s work. She said Bhandarkar had raised awareness about women’s rights through his movies. “We need to produce such movies in Pakistan too,” she said.

Khan stressed the need for collaboration between Indian and Pakistani film industries. She said the governments in both countries could facilitate it by easing visa issuance process for artists.

She said she had come to the festival to express her support for performing arts. The government should extend financial support to the film industry, she said.

She said she had just finished her first project as a filmmaker. “I can vouch for the poor state of infrastructure in the film industry,” she said.

Khan said artists should be put in charge of state institutions mandated to promote of arts in the country. She said bureaucracy should not be allowed to control these institutions.

She said there were references to the country’s politics in her second movie. She said its script had been finalised in 2014.

Bollywood actor Om Puri and director Bhandarkar were also present on the occasion.

‘Industry veterans have preconceived notions about commercial movies’.

Budding film directors complained on Friday that a handful of veterans were deciding if a movie was to be categorised as commercial or not.

Adnan Sarwar, the director of Shah, said that without watching his movie some people in the industry had labelled it as non-commercial because there were no songs and dance performances in it.

He said he had taken up the project, based on the career of a Pakistani boxer, to express his vision for Pakistani cinema. He said when he was growing up he used to look up to Shah (the boxer) as his hero. “Pakistan should be identified with people like him. We need to find our own heroes,” he said.

Sarwar said his movie was made with less resources than required for a 30-second ad film.

Jami Mahmood, who had director Moor, said he could relate to Sarwar’s complaint about the process of labelling movies. He said some people in the industry had preconceived notions about commercial films. Popular time slots were allotted by cinemas only to movies labelled as commercial, he said. He said his movie had been shown in most cinemas in the 11am slot.

Khurram Gultasab, the general manager of Super Cinemas, said he believed about  90 percent of the cinemagoers liked watching movies which did not require a lot of thinking.

He said a majority of the audience was between the ages of 18 and 24. Time slots were allotted to movies based on the administration’s perception of their popularity among the public, he said.

Gultasab said the cost of running a cinema had increased manifold as cinemas were now expected to provide facilities like e-ticketing.

He said most film distributors in the country wanted to release their movies during the Eid holidays or on the Independence Day. He said this could be a reason why some films did not receive a lot of attention. He said the distributors needed to evolve a strategy to deal with this situation. Zoraiz Lashari, the owner of Sozo World cinema, said film distributors across the world released their movies on public holidays. He said he believed good movies would do business regardless of competition.

Shaandaar, Moor and Shah were screened on the second day of the festival.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 19th, 2015.

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