A delegation of the film fraternity held a meeting with Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Wednesday and presented him with a new draft of the New Motion Pictures Act 2014. The new act will be brought to Parliament in a couple of days and once accepted by the majority, it will replace the 1979 Motion Pictures ordinance.
Notable actors, producers and exhibitors including Fakhre Alam, Humayun Saeed, Javed Sheikh, Nadeem Mandviwalla, Rashid Khawaja, Amyn Tahir, Bilal Asharf, Feeza Ali Mirza, Zeba Bakhtiar, Azaan Sami Khan and Mazhar Zaidi to name a few, were present at the occasion.
The industry representatives said it was the positive changes in policy introduced by the PPP that eventually resulted in the current boom being witnessed by the Pakistani film industry.
Fakhre Alam, chairman of the Sindh Censor Board, shared a draft of the New Motion Pictures Act 2014 with all the attendees of the meeting.
“We talked about giving more concessions to the Pakistani film industry and the development of more studios and cinemas to ensure that it becomes an investor-friendly environment,” said the former rapper-turned Censor Board chairman.
The New Motion Pictures Act covers all of the concerned issues of the film industry and highlights a detailed road map for the future to encompass the development and growth of cinemas, studios and other facilities which would be built in both public and private partnerships.
Renowned film and television actor Javed Sheikh acknowledged the importance of the New Motion Pictures Act 2014, stating, “This will be the first policy that is truly going to protect the interest of filmmakers.”
A detailed presentation was made by Azaan Sami Khan on behalf of the delegation which highlighted the growing concerns and requirements of the film industry.
Bilawal himself shared his love and affinity for films, arts and culture and expressed tremendous belief in Pakistani talent. He took notice of the potential job creation that could be brought about by film production; which currently averages at 400 skilled workers per film and took note of the capital flight of business overseas due to lack of facilities.
Veteran television actor-turned-producer, Zeba Bakhtiar rued the lack of facilities, “I’ve been saying this for the past two years that we need to train people in Pakistan but that can only happen when we have the required facilities at our disposal,” she said.
Bilawal took prompt notice of the situation and instructed Fakhre Alam to ensure that all follow-ups are done in a timely and orderly manner.
The PPP patron-in-chief gave his unrelenting support to the idea and assured members of the film fraternity that the New Motion Pictures Act 2014 would be presented with full consensus and would ensure the necessary protection and promotion of the film industry as well. The industry representatives appreciated and thanked the Bilawal for his decision to support the release of Bollywood films in Pakistan, which inadvertently heralded a revival of the local film industry.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 12th, 2014.