LAHORE: In a building near Lahore’s Regal Chowk lies the almost deserted office of the Pakistan Film Producers Association (PFPA), one of the oldest and biggest associations ever made by the Pakistani film fraternity.
Once always filled with film folk, the office hardly sees any visitors now. Industry veterans say PFPA used to be the most influential and active association but for the last four years not a single meeting of its full body has taken place.
Unlike all other associations of the film industry, PFPA does not lack members but needs to be organised. In 2006, the then Karachi chairman of the PFPA Saeed Rizvi and Jashmed Zafar of Lahore had a falling out. Rizvi got a stay order from the court and since then no election of the association has taken place. Following the decline of the film industry, the producers never bothered to pursue the case.
Formed in 1958, PFPA became functional in 1960. The PFPA is the only association of the film industry registered with the Ministry of Commerce and Ministry of Culture.
Jalaluddin Hasan Mir, who has been secretary of the association for the last 35 years, told The Express Tribune that like the film industry, the association had also declined.
He believed that if the leading names of Lollywood were sincere about the revival of the film industry they should use this platform instead of making new associations.
Currently, the entire film industry is divided into two groups, led by Amjad Farzand Ali and Sangeeta.
“While no other film association has more than 150 members, PFPA still has 400 registered producers as its members. Many of them aren’t making films anymore but they are on our list. This is a noncontroversial and big platform, if people are sincere they should give up their differences and get together,” he said.
Muhammad Azam, the manager of the association who has been serving it for 30 years, said that there used to be a time when they were too busy to have lunch.
“Our association is active still but the golden age is lost. Producers and film enthusiasts used to throng our office every day,” he said.
Mir and Azam take care of the association’s office. The office has been reduced to two rooms and a small store on the corner of the third floor. It possesses the record of all films made in Pakistan. Producers still get names of their new films registered with the PFPA so that no one else uses that very name.
Mir said, “We have an annual fee which members pay and that’s how we run our affairs. When a producer registers the name of his movie, he pays us the fee. For the last few years only eight to 10 movies have been made annually, while I remember a year when 111 films were released in Pakistan.”
But Mir and Azam are optimistic about the industry’s future. “One has to move past personal interests to contribute for an institution. A lot of people can talk about revival but not many can forget differences and gather for a common cause,” they said.
Published in the Express Tribune, May 22nd, 2010.