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Lollywood? No, I’m Pakistani Cinema

ARY seems to be making a notable mark on the revival of cinema in Pakistan. The phrase which we were so use to hearing “revival of cinema in Pakistan” seemed only to be a thought with not much vision unfortunately until ARY came into the picture. In the past year we have seen ARY Films (part of the ARY Network) take remarkable steps in ensuring that “revival of cinema in Pakistan” means just that, with joint ventures in the pipeline and constant support in promoting films ARY is definitely reviving Pakistani cinema.

Yes other media outlets have made huge efforts in supporting, promoting and distributing Pakistani films too but it’s the efforts of ARY in the past year which have allowed us to see how much Pakistan can offer.

The Pakistani film industry was an evangelical industry, robust, enthusiastic, diverse and furthermore daring. After being given the name Lollywood one may have expected us to sit on the world movie stage alongside Hollywood and Bollywood right? Wrong! The name Lollywood seemed only to tie us down to this notion of producing movies on a certain scale in a certain style, which it definitely did in the right way for a while but unfortunately in the wrong way later.

Up to the 90’s our movies Urdu or Punjabi were made in such a way that captivated audiences at the time, but unfortunately by the early 2000’s Lollywood was known for vulgarity, noise, violence and amongst other negativities pure nonsense. Movies such as the gujjar and badmaash rubbish which was being churned out killed the notion which once was Lollywood. Lollywood also failed to notice that evolution came not only in our film storylines and styles but in the form of actors, actresses and singing talent. 

Thankfully Pakistani audiences chose to step away from the rubbish which was being churned out and opted for more quality movies. After realising that we didn’t need Lollywood to exceed as a leading film producing country and after realising that in order for our movies to succeed we needed to first indentify what Pakistani cinema was we have achieved the foundations for our revival.

With many in the pipeline still being completed and social media boasting an array of upcoming movies from dedicated young directors Pakistani cinema has arrived. In 2013 eight high quality internationally and nationally acclaimed movies were released, considering our industry was once a producer of hundreds of movies eight movies may seem a bit dismal, right? No! Eight ever compelling, ever evolving and ever succeeding movies were released each with their own different success story and similar to our drama industry the fact was stated.

In order for us to revive cinema in Pakistan we needed to first revive what Pakistani identity was, we needed to touch the core issues that Pakistan’s faced, we needed to delve into escapism that only Pakistani’s could appreciate, we needed a voice to raise how we felt with the realities that we faced. Every film from Siyaah to Waar did just this, not only did it highlight our identity but the movies made were easily related to different Pakistani’s in different parts of Pakistan.

After watching a programme on ARY News recently about our film industry with captivating posters of upcoming movie Sulanat in the background, members of the Lollywood side of the film industry sat and gave their insight into why the film industry wasn’t prevailing, it highlighted a huge problem within our industry. The panel that included Syed Noor, Laila, Shahida Mini and Anwar Rafi amongst others had completely turned a blind eye to the success stories of those films that had near enough saved Pakistan’s film industry.

Maybe they yet haven’t realised that they have done their bit and now need to move aside and let way for the young Pakistan to take to the silver screen. While they were still sitting blaming the government or the cinema owners or the funders or the DHA they failed to at any point realise that they were the failure of the industry, they failed to compel to Pakistani’s the stories that Pakistani’s needed to see, they failed to address problems within our society, they failed to address that we as nation have no identity in the films that they were making.

With ARY Films assisting in majority of the film releases of 2013 we not only got to see the film industry go from success to success we also got to see an array of Pakistani talent, representing Pakistan, on a Pakistani platform for the world to see. Hareem Farooq, Mehreen Syed, Mahnoor Baloch, Aamina Sheikh, Mohib Mirza, Humayoun Saeed, Ali Azmat, Meesha Shafi, Sahir Ali Bagga and Sanam Marvi was just some of the talent showcased in our films in the last year. The amount of new faces in the film industry in the past year almost exceeded the actors and actresses that have graced our film industry since the early 90’s.

With emergence of talent comes talent appreciation and once again ARY is at the forefront of talent appreciation with ARY Film Awards 2014. A great way to celebrate cinema and acknowledge and appreciate the work that has been put in by actors, actresses, music directors, producers and others in making the films of 2013 a success. Let it be noted that this is the first time in several years that an award ceremony has been set up to acknowledge the talent of our film industry.

With the exit of the notion of Lollywood we can finally say the Pakistani cinema has arrived. With media houses like ARY supporting our film industry and fresh new directors and producers our film industry is definitely on a road to success. The revival is already here, let us embrace the revival. Let us support Pakistani films. 

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