LAHORE: Though Lollywood has officially been given the status of an industry and a notification has been issued by the ministries of culture and finance, Lollywood is yet to benefit from the change in status.
Most people working in the film industry are not aware about the benefits they will get with Lollywood getting the status of an industry. Even though one of the biggest benefits that filmmakers are now entitled to is that they can get soft loans through banks. The practice is quite common in India where banks finance film projects and if the film does well at the box office, banks get their loan back with profit.
As per the rules, if a filmmaker gets a soft loan to make a film, he will return the loan if the film does well and if the film flops he will not return the loan. The Express Tribune checked with different quarters concerned but so far no filmmaker has attained a soft loan from any bank. An official of the ministry of culture however said that they had given the status of an industry to Lollywood and now this is the job of filmmakers to benefit from it and make good movies. “We cannot force anyone to take a soft loan and make films. We have done what we could and now this is the job of filmmakers to benefit from it,” he said.
A senior banker who spoke on condition of anonymity believes that banks would not be interested in giving soft loans to filmmakers. He said that banks invest in sectors which are profitable. “The Indian film industry cannot be compared to the Pakistani film industry. Indian banks do give soft loans to filmmakers but they have a very high ratio of receiving profit. Here the film industry is in a very bad shape and most of the films flop. I don’t think that banks would be giving soft loans to the filmmakers,” he said. He told that banks might not refuse the filmmakers point blank but they would ask for guarantees and wouldn’t give soft loans to the filmmakers. “Lollywood might have attained the status of an industry but we know this isn’t a profit making business in Pakistan. This practice might be eyewash,” he said.
Filmmaker Sangeeta told The Express Tribune that filmmakers had not attained any benefits from the decision of giving Lollywood the status of an industry. She said that so far no one had attained the soft loan or any other such facility.
United Film Association of Pakistan Chairman Amjad Farzand said that people were aware of the decision, adding that he himself had a copy of the notification. He, however, agreed that nobody had applied for the soft loan or attained one so far.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 20th, 2010.
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