THE recent release in Pakistan of Hollywood film Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness has sparked outrage among celebrities, netizens and Pakistani audiences over the issue of international releases coinciding with local ones. Can local films shine with Doctor Strange attracting larger crowds?

I believe there is a straightforward explanation to this. The local cinema has long been producing films centred around the rom-com genre with prosaic stories riddled with clichés. It would not be wrong to say that they at best try to do nothing but entertain the audience.

On the other hand, Hollywood films are eclectic and meaningful. The filmmakers can easily make a film about Alzheimer’s disease, like, say, Still Alice (2014), and it would still up earning $45 million at the box office.

As an avid Hollywood film-watcher, I believe, nearly all the movies I have watched have taught me something, be it family values, loyalty, friendship, etc.

Pakistani cinema has a great potential. The filmmakers need to think differently, diversify and explore in various genres, such as Indie, neo-noir and period films. They should stop underestimating the level of intelligence and taste of the local viewers. Throw away the typical romantic plot in the films, and the audience will surely pay attention. Simply put, content is the king, so pay attention to it.

Aamna Shahid Sial
Lahore

Published in Dawn, June 19th, 2022

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