PESHAWAR: Only three films will be released in different cinemas of the city on Eidul Fitr this year.
While the industry released seven movies in 2015—the highest number released by Pashto film-makers ever—losses incurred did not allow the record to be broken this year.
Speaking to The Express Tribune on Tuesday, Shahid Khan, Pashto film-maker who also plays the lead role in almost all of his films, Shahid Khan, said, “Only three films are being released in 2016 due to continuous loss to film-makers.” He said making a film in such a situation is risky business.
Beacon of hope
The producer said the cost of making a Pashto film has now reached Rs7 million which is difficult for a local producer. He stated the business has now been limited to Eid days.
However, Shahid, who also owns two cinemas in the city, added that despite suffering monetarily, Pashto films have been supported and the maximum possible number of movies will be released on Eidul Fitr. He said films will continue to be aired in cinemas throughout the year.
Arshad Khan’s Raja, Nadir Khan’s Kher de Yaar Nasha k De, and a new director Shahid Usman’s Gandagir Na Manam will be screened at cinemas throughout the city. These films will also be released in a few cinemas in Karachi.
Shama Cinema in the city will show B-grade movies and only Naz cinema will show Indian films. No Urdu movies will be screened in the city on Eidul Fitr as cinema owners believe they are not in high demand.
Every producer believes his film is based on pressing social issues and competition between them is tough. They believe they are the only people left in the country who make Pashto movies. They also claim they have adopted modern editing technology and latest camera techniques to improve quality and delivery of their work.
Most producers have also asked the government to support the crumbling cinemas in the city.
Shahid said competition is indeed tough and despite people levying criticism, a vast majority makes it to cinemas.
“It is due to the ongoing crises of Pashto movies due to which circuit has reduced,” he said. Shahid added the three movies being released on Eid will create healthy rivalry between producers.
Although Shahid said the quality of movies have increased over the years and entertainment for thousands of people in the city on Eid will be provided, the movies have always seemed to be below par.
This appears to be the case as cinemas remain vacant and people attribute absenteeism to unrealistic violence, feeble plots, excessive display and use of weapons and numerous dance sequences that characterise Pashto films these days.
The film producer said all the films have been approved by the Federal censor board since the province does not have any censor boards.
Shahid also asked traders to work on formulating a censor board instead of criticising and discouraging the few people who are still working in and for the industry.
“Give us a censor board and all content that is unpleasant or censured can be removed,” the film-maker said.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 6th, 2016.