Is rebirth of cinema a misnomer?

Distributor Satish Anand on how new wave of films has its own identity and is off to incredible things

Saadia Qamar January 09, 2016
Satish, who was a part of last year’s Pakistani Academy Selection Committee, is well-acquainted with the warp and woof of the entertainment industry. PHOTO: PUBLICITY


Chances of the resurgence of Pakistani cinema from its prolonged state of sloth had seemed to be slim; so, its emergence to the fore against all odds has been a ray of hope for film-makers, both old and new. But given how the new wave of films is on the way to marking its own identity, some may argue referring to it as a mere extension of old cinema would be downplaying it. Industry veteran Satish Anand deems this to be nothing short of a misnomer. “I do not consider this the revival of old cinema but the birth of new cinema,” he says.

The film-maker and distributor, who was a part of last year’s Pakistani Academy Selection Committee, is well-acquainted with the warp and woof of the entertainment industry. “There is certainly film-making fever in Pakistan. There have been glitches along the way that ultimately led to a lull, but there has been a complete transformation.” Once disillusioned with the dearth of Pakistani films while India was churning out one blockbuster after another, Satish now feels things are looking up for the local movie industry.

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But even back then, his aim remained to keep the cinema ball rolling. Chairman of Eveready Group of Companies, which held the distribution rights of blockbuster Bajrangi Bhaijaan and the Mahira Khan-starrer Bin Roye, Anand is playing his part in bringing creative content from both sides of the border to local screens. “During the early 200os when cinema was at its lowest, we had a 35-member team bring Taj Mahal to Pakistan. Where others slammed us for promoting an Indian film, I always believed that the only way to sustain cinema is to screen movies.”

He holds that the growing success of every new Pakistani film is something every succeeding movie has capitalised on, thus resulting in the release of a string of good films. “After Khuda Ke Liye came Bol and then last year saw a series of strong films, such as Na Maloom Afraad and Bin Roye. Movies such as Chambaili and 3 Bahadur also put up aggressive campaigns.” Citing the keen interest audiences have taken in Ho Mann Jahaan, he feels 2016 is off to a great start. “In a few weeks’ time, films such as Bachaana and Hijrat will hit the screens,” he says. “A Pakistani film never gets pirated but numbers are high in terms of viewership if it is a good film.”

Anand feels Humayun Saeed, Hassan Waqas Rana, Fizza Ali Meerza and Momina Duraid are among “the most promising directors of 2016,” adding, “I hope there are more surprising entries as well.” On whether he plans on making a film of his own, he shares, “I would like to make a couple of films but expectations are high and there have been new trends I am getting the hang of being an old film-maker. I am currently just analysing the situation and educating myself about it.”

Published in The Express Tribune, January 10th, 2016.

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