LAHORE: Every year, Lollywood film-makers announce the release of the films they have been working on. However, as the scheduled release date comes closer, it is not unusual to see them backing out as many films face incessant delays.
In 2010, only 12 films ended up being released in Pakistan, while several other projects were moved forward to later dates.
According to the industry insiders, 45 to 90 per cent of films are delayed due to the production issues and budgetary problems. In recent years, Shoaib Mansoor’s directorial ventures Khuda Ke Liye and Bol have been the major hits from Lollywood, but neither of them was released on time.
Bhai Log, Love Mein Ghum and Son of Pakistan had been delayed indefinitely before being scheduled to hit theatres this year. Other films like Tamanna and Price of Honour are still facing delays.
Film maker Bilal Lashari, who is currently working on his debut film Waar in Islamabad, believes that a number of factors are responsible for such delays.
“The reason why films like Khuda Ke Liye get delayed is that there’s a lot of variables which go into production of a film in Pakistan,” explains Lashari, who has not specified any date for the release of his action thriller. “Finding the right team of people, such as an adequately trained crew, and making sure that the quality of a film sustains takes time. Hence, many film-makers — who are trying to make quality films — end up dealing with a lot of issues,” adds the debutant director.
Lashari believes that the current trend in the industry prefers quantity to quality, which often causes delays. For instance, actors typically sign multiple projects around the same time, which often limits their availability for a certain film. Another reason that lengthens the project’s time is the shortage of finances as many films cross their budgets.
Renowned director Masood Butt estimates that 25 to 45 per cent of producers and distributors delay films for business reasons. “No producer would delay the release without a reason and in most cases, it’s solely business reasons,” says Butt.
Butt explains that many film-makers tend to be wary of seasonal holidays and other environmental factors because their biggest worry is recovering the money at the box office. For instance, the recent floods in Pakistan made several film-makers, such Jarrar Rizvi and Syed Noor, delay their much-hyped films.
Butt adds that mishaps in production also contribute to the delays. Unlike other countries, where post-production is done at a single location, Pakistani film-makers have to go abroad to finalise the movie: “When producing abroad, you have to go according to the queues because many production houses are full and you can’t bribe your way to the top of the line. The finances also play a major role, but at the end of the day, it’s the producer’s decision.”
By delaying a film, one also risks the issue of making it outdated. Butt believes that for good films, the sales vary by 20 to 25 per cent because of such delays.
Contrary to what many producers think, actor Ghulam Mohiuddin believes that there is no real incentive of delaying films in Pakistan. Instead, the veteran star is of the opinion that the country’s economic situation has exacerbated the overall situation: “The issue is really much bigger. There is an overall situation in the country in which textile mills and other industries have also shutdown. The current delays are expected and related to the overall economic state of the country.”
Published in The Express Tribune, August 26th, 2011.