In the entertainment industry, everyone has their own battles to fight. While some might be enjoying a moment of respite, others are making last gasp efforts to make survival possible. Our regional cinema has dilemmas of its own and the woes of Pashto film-makers demand particular attention. Over the years, they have found their influence lessen in the local circuit and easy access to foreign markets such as Afghanistan and Dubai is still a far cry.
Nonetheless, the optimistic among them have decided to join hands and form a platform through which they will press the government to pay attention to their plight. At Lahore’s Evernew Studio, they have formed a film-makers’ association on Tuesday.
Director Arshad has been named chairperson while actor Babrik Shah has been nominated vice-chairperson. Director Qaiser Sanober will serve as co-chairperson of the organisation for which as many as 300 artists and film-makers have signed up. The plan is to produce maximum number of films and release them in foreign markets. “Last year, we incorporated modern technology for making films and hence they were appreciated worldwide. It’s the Pakistani government that actually stands as a hurdle in expanding Pashto cinema to Dubai and Afghanistan,” he told The Express Tribune.
He said the fraternity aims to work in cohesion and address issues that affect film business. “Although we already have an organisation of ours, the purpose of this association is to address contemporary challenges faced by Pashto films,” added Sanober. He said meetings with government officials are expected to happen soon.
There was a time when the studio was dominated by Punjabi film-makers but today things have changed completely. “Directors of Urdu and Punjabi films had this studio to themselves but they were not active,” said director Madhu. Adding to her point, Sanober said, “Our viewership has expanded in recent years and this is the reason why we are still making films whereas Punjabi and Urdu cinema has come to a standstill.” Gripped with high expectations, Sanober shared the association has already begun working and they plan on taking their films abroad on Eid this year. “Most of the people have rented their offices here and have begun working on their projects,” he added.
The organisation has the support of most of the prominent Pashto film-makers such as Jahangir Jani, Shahzaib Khan, Arbaz Khan and Zahir Khan.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 18th, 2016.