LAHORE: As I watched trailers for new Lollywood films that released on Eid, I found myself utterly disappointed. As ever before, it has become increasingly difficult to differentiate between Indian and Pakistani cinema. This isn’t necessarily an impasse, however, it is disconcerting and vexing. What makes us characteristically Pakistani? This somehow gets lost in translation.
I find it hard to believe that Pakistani filmmakers have become so bromidic and uninspired. The films that our industry is churning out are clichés. Our stories are hackneyed. Sadly, many of our movies do not even offer lessons or themes anymore. I truly believe that a film should teach us something and allow introspection and retrospection. A film should open new worlds, new dimensions and arenas for thought and imagination to flourish. But most of all, a film created in our context needs to retain an aura of identification for the viewers, whereby they recognise and relate to elements of their own lives as seen on the screen.
A few days ago I watched Lion (2016), a true cinematic masterpiece, and I spent the latter half of the movie crying uncontrollably. The acting was brilliant, but even more than that—there was magic to the filmmaking that moved me to tears. It made me wish that Pakistani film was capable of provoking some semblance of emotion from its audience. I yearned for a Pakistani film that could make me cry, laugh or even sigh.
I know that we are in the midst of a local “cinema revival”, but all I hope for is that the said renaissance may be steered in a more memorable direction. After all, the purpose of art, to some degree, is immortality. There is no point in coming out with a bunch of forgettable films.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 4th, 2017.