Asif Raza Mir details why Pakistan hasn't produced Netflix Originals yet

Veteran actor believes we need quality production to penetrate into the digital sphere.


Entertainment Desk July 20, 2021

Aside from acting, renowned veteran Asif Raza Mir has tried his hand at advertising, production and post-production, because of which he can tell you from experience why there are no Netflix Originals from Pakistan. In an interview with the digital media platform VCAST, Mir detailed the reasons behind Pakistani content not getting international recognition and our filmmakers, not being able to crack the OTT code.

"How do you think India — which is now providing content for Amazon and Netflix — moved from film to these platforms [whereas we] have not run any original content on these platforms?" Mir questioned. "It's not because of the lack content, it is because of the quality of the content," he said.

He then revealed how his experience working at various channels allowed him to witness first-hand the embarrassment content creators have to face after they send their content to be viewed abroad.

"The period that I was in Geo for the first time, we started exporting our content to places like Barbados, Poland and Australia. Our content started going global, even to India for that matter. People loved our content but there was an issue — quality. When we don't see competitors and don't [create] comparisons, we'll think our content is great but it is not,” he asserted.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by VCast Online (@vcastonline)

“It is not great technically. It is beautiful as far as the concept is concerned, great performances, great direction but technically worthless,” added the seasoned actor. “Our audio is useless. Our visuals are crap. Our editing is not worth talking about," he continued having no holds barred. "I know people will not like what I am saying but it is a fact. I know because when I would send content, I would have to deal with complains about there being crackles in the audio, issues in the video and how it was of no use."

He went on to ask, “How can we use this audio? In today's world, platforms [such as Netflix] have the highest standards of quality."

Mir confessed that channels and production houses fail to invest in talent and technicality to improve production. "Not a single channel owner or production house has invested back into the talent, on the technicians. They've all made money. They all complain. They all talk about facilities. They all talk about how great Indian content is, how great Western content is. Can someone tell me how much they've invested back into the industry?" he asked.

Beyond the grind he had to go and grow through earlier in his career, Mir also spoke about his personal journey and elaborated why he decided to venture into production and post-production work. "I would think, ‘what is one area of work that really needs someone like me, who has seen the world and knows the industry?’ The first thing that came to my mind was a post-production company,” shared Mir.

“There came an opportunity [as well]. Someone said there is a lot of work happening, which the West needs and most of which will go to India, Poland, Bulgaria and all these places. Would you be interested? I asked what it is and they said restoring old films. I said I haven't heard of it but it sounds interesting." He then assured that Pakistan has the potential to seize such opportunities and entertain them.

"Once you build a crew here, train technician here, people will start coming here and you will generate a lot of money," he remarked. "You can start exporting your technicians and get a lot of international content [and have it] done in Pakistan. Our labour is cheaper, our services are cheaper, and our utilities, in comparison, are still cheaper. Yes, there are electricity issues, but we've found our ways [around] it,” he continued.

Mir initiated his acting career in the early 80's. He has acted in a number of popular films, including Badalte Mausam, Daaman, Haye Yeh Shohar, Mere Apne and Saathi alongside various cinema stars. He has also been part of popular TV serials such as Darwaza, Samudar, Tanhaiyaan, Tansen, Choti Choti Baatein, Roshni and Ishq Gumshuda.

He hails from a family of actors and directors. His father was a director and cinematographer for Teri Yaad, Pakistan's first ever film produced in 1948. While his son is the famouse Ahad Raza Mir, who has proved his mettle through his performance in serials like Yaqeen Ka Safar, Ye Dil Mera, Ehd-e-Wafa and Aangan.

Mir made his international debut with British series Gangs Of London.

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