LAHORE: It is undeniably elating to see the Pakistani film industry revive and thrive once again after decades of hiatus. Films are once again bringing diverse audiences back to the cinema halls, while making millions in profits, locally and internationally.
However, the film genre that does exceptionally well at the box office defines what viewers want to see, which is entertaining but often lacks a meaningful message for the society. As a result, films carrying a strong message often fail at the box office. Films such as recently released Saawan or previous releases like Dukhtar, Moor and Lamha manage to do well in international film festivals, while fail to grab attention at the local cinemas.
Both the audience and the film makers contribute to this problem. The audience, especially the lower and the middle-working class, perceives cinema as a medium of pure entertainment, entirely basing it on stereotypical storyline with sleazy dance numbers. Hence, films produced in genres other than the common chick-flicks, rom-coms or action-drama, are bound to fail in the local industry.
Considering the preferences of the Pakistani viewers, if film producers combine the two — the usual entertainment formula and the experimental thought-provoking content — films can be saved from failing at the box office. This would help change audience preferences gradually, making room for different genres being presented.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 17th, 2017.