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Waar A Step in the Right ‘Direction’

I just saw Waar in a cinema in London and after waiting for 3 already sold out shows I was finally able to watch the movie, I was gob smacked by how amazing the movie was, I was also amazed to see how much we as Pakistani’s could relate to this movie and how it felt so real. I had watched many of the quality movies that Pakistan had made since 2000 and this was different from all of them, Salakhain, Khuda Kay Liye and Bol were the only other movies that had touched a similar nerve with me as did Waar and seems I wasn’t the only one touched.

“Saw Pakistani film 'Waar '…stunned beyond belief…I just want to leave direction and go to Pakistan to assist it’s director Bilal Lashari…Shahrukh Khan being the biggest star there and Chennai Express having a record of 9 million on first day Bilal Lashari's Waar collected 11.4 million…After seeing 'Waar' I honestly feel us Indian film makers should get off our assumed high horses and look at Pakistani films seriously… Mr Bilal Lashari wherever you are in Pakistan I want to salute you…irrespective of anything else I am student of cinema and am thrilled with your film”

Ram Gopal Varma, Indian film director famous for movies such as Sarkar Raj and Contract stated the above statement in separate tweets after watching much awaited Pakistani film Waar.

Waar is an achievement for Pakistani cinema and for Pakistan as a whole. The tweets highlight several major issues within the Pakistani film industry. Firstly hats off and well done to Bilal Lashari for such an amazing effort on Waar, the movie will change Pakistani cinema forever.

The tweets highlight how Shahrukh Khan is the so called biggest star in Pakistan but to see that his Chennai Express opened to only 9 million as opposed to Bilal Lashari’s 11.4 million highlights a major advantage for Pakistan which is ‘if given the right exposure and pushed into the right direction we can make our own star, not just here in Pakistan but abroad too.’

We must give Bollywood their due as they are renowned for making quality movies with big budgets and top notch stars but the reason being that they have gained a monopoly on the regional cinema by utilising on their culture, building an identity and using this to tell a story. Whether the story is good or not the industry has built its way up producing high budget movies with quality acting and quality songs. This is why they can sit on their high horses.

This is where Pakistani cinema was going wrong, we do have the potential, we can produce similar movies as we have showcased in the past (Yeh Dil Aap Ka Huwa, Koi Tujh Sa Kahan, Larki Punjaban, Pyaar Hi Pyaar Mein) but we don’t need a Pakistani Bollywood, we don’t need Pakistani dance sequences on the edges of Switzerland’s hills, we don’t need Bollywood singers singing Bollywood songs to Pakistani faces.

No offence and due be given to directors such as Javed Sheikh and Reema Khan who have shown that Pakistan ‘kisi se kum nahi’ but now is time where we do what directors like Shoaib Mansoor(Khuda Kay Liye,Bol), Iram Parveen Bilal (Josh) and Bilal Lashari(Waar) have done. Showcase Pakistani culture, build up a Pakistani film identity showcasing real life stories, social and political issues which are faced by Pakistani’s, efforts have been made to change the norm and introduce different and versatile stories (Siyaah,The Golden Doll and the Mud House).

2013 saw the release of some extremely amazing social and political based movies (Chambaili, Josh, Lamhe, Zinda Bhaag,Waar) we also saw some commercial movies which steered away from the typical Pakistani/ Bollywood love stories (Ishq Khuda, Main Hoon Shahid Afridi).

Pakistan has the ability to be diverse look at some of the upcoming movies that are planned for the year to come Moor, Jalaibi, Kanebaaz, Swaarangi, Hijrat and many many more. The versatility in the movies spans over different problems, different environments and a huge array of actors and actresses.

The days of badmaash and haseenas should easily be gone now; we have a new world of cinema in front of us that doesn’t need cheap action, dirty dances and lack of use for our diverse talent. Directors like

Bilal Lashari have opened the doors to a new world for Pakistanis and has given us an opportunity to rise with the times in the global entertainment market.

ARY Films, Geo Films and Mandviwalla Entertainment have also taken necessary steps to support Pakistani cinema. If directors like Ram Gopal Varma can see the capabilities of Pakistan then we should ourselves be able to see our capabilities. Now is the time for Pakistani cinema to flourish in Pakistan and the world.

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