Hope this actually happens: Insiders welcome film policy announcement

Govt has shared a plan to facilitate film and drama industry


Entertainment Desk May 21, 2021

Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain on Wednesday reiterated the government’s commitment to revive the film industry in Pakistan.

"New film policy will be announced next month," the federal minister shared, adding, "All major taxes on films will be abolished. Likewise, dramas and film businesses will get special benefits. Hope new film policy will go a long way to revive the Pakistani Film industry."

The decision was welcomed by the who's who of the Pakistani film industry. Mahira Khan, Fahad Mustafa, filmmakers Fizza Ali Meerza, Nabeel Qureshi, and others lauded the initiative.

"This is huge! I hope this actually happens. InshAllah," wrote the Raees star. "This is good news. Looking forward to the betterment of the industry overall," added Mustafa.

Na Maloom Afraad filmmakers Meerza and Qureshi, too, lauded the much-needed step."Finally, the moment all filmmakers have been waiting for," Meerza said while Qureshi added, "That's great news! All the filmmakers have been working on it for so long. I hope it gets materialised really soon! A lot of people will get benefit from it, [it will offer] a lot of job opportunities."

The announcement

The Pakistan Tahreek-e Insaf government had taken multiple initiatives like tax concessions and easing the process of obtaining a no-objection certificate (NOC) for filmmakers to boost the industry, had said during a meeting with a delegation of the Film Producers Association.

The delegation included Jerjees Seja, comprising Sheikh Amjad Rashid, Satish Anand, Chaudhry Ejaz Kamran, Fiza Ali Mirza, Irfan Malik and Badar Ikram, reported AP.

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Authority Chairman Asim Saleem Bajwa, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Youth Affairs Usman Dar, Chairman of Senate’s Standing Committee on Information Faisal Javed, Secretary Information Shahera Shahid, Director-General DEMP Imrana Wazir and Federal Bureau of Revenue officials were also present on the occasion.

Fawad said the government was fully encouraging the export of Pakistani films and underlined the need to enhance cooperation and collaboration in that regard with Saudi Arabia and China. He said film producers should form two focal groups in their association, one focusing on the Gulf countries and the other on China to export Pakistani films.

The minister noted that apart from being a popular source of entertainment, films were also considered to be an effective medium for education and awareness-raising. He vowed to put the film industry, which was in decline, on the path to revival.

The vibrant film industry was in need of the hour to promote positive thinking, enlightenment of thoughts, and eradicate intolerance in the society, he added. Films were an important source of highlighting the country’s culture, history, values, heritage and screen tourism, said the minister.

He underscored the need to promote a soft image of Pakistan across the globe. There was the need that the film industry should embrace modern technology and the latest trends like other industries for the creation of good content, he added. A proposal to encourage young filmmakers under the Kamyab Jawan Programme was under consideration, he observed. The meeting also finalised the film policy that had been delayed for a long time.

The backlash

However, Twitter had few reservations. "Really looking forward to this new policy, and if done right, this could be a gamechanger for Pakistan's media industry. Also hope this policy includes subsidies on technology for media," a user shared.

Another one added, "Also abolish PTA because our film culture will remain saas-bahu dramas and juvenile slapstick comedy until we stop banning anything with actual substance."

A user asked the minister to review the censor board and shared, "Sir pehle filmmakers ko PEMRA se bacha lein takay wou kuch acha content produce karskay hum romantic comedy dekh dekh kar thak gaye hain (Sir, first save the filmmakers from PEMRA so that they can produce quality content. We are tired of watching romantic comedies).

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