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Cinema on road to revival

October 25, 2006

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LAHORE, Oct 24: As many as 11 to 12 feature films will be released this Eidul Fitr in some 22 cinema houses in the city which, by any standard, is a good number even compared with the hey days of the Pakistani cinema till mid-1970s when up to 150 movies were being produced every year.

Of them, four are Urdu, three Punjabi and five Pushto language films, most of them produced by unrecognised producers.

Of the Urdu language films, Tarap is learnt to have kept a good impression during the censorship. The film has been directed by Sangeeta, to be released at Gulistan and Suzu World along with other cinemas in the circuit.

Gunahon Ka Shehr (City of Sins) is another Eid release. It has been directed by Saeed Ali Khan with music compositions by Humera Arshad and Awais Moon, both relatively new composers. The film is to be shown at Suzo Gold and Empire, the cinema which was known first as Parbhat and then Sanober before it was renovated.

One Two Ka One, a romantic comedy, is the third Urdu language film to be released at New Imperial, the cinema which was named as Qaiser and then Moonlight before it was renovated to be so named. It has been directed by Raunaq Ali, hitherto unknown in the field.

Zameen Ke Khuda is the fourth Urdu language film this Eid. Directed by Masood Butt, the film is being released in Prince, Capri and Tarannum.

As for Punjabi language films, Piyo Badmashan Da is said to have a good promise at the box office. Directed by Perrve Rana, the film is being released in Regal, Capital, Neelam, Anmol, Angoori and Shish Mahal.

Pappoo Gujjar is the other film which has been directed by Masood Butt. The third Punjabi language film is being censored on Monday.

The number of films produced during the current calendar year so far has been 21, which seems to be an improvement over the years which saw the production coming down to merely four or five.

The Pakistan Film Producers Association says that a few more films, four to five in number, will be put to exhibition by the end of this year. Its spokesman said the production momentum had picked up due to certain favourable decisions taken by the government and the resounding success of Syed Noor’s Majajan, which, the PFPA says, has been a trend-setter and augurs well for the industry’s future.

The PFPA asserts that the national cinema has started to revive due to certain steps that the government has taken and plans to take in the near future. The association spokesman says the industry will sustain and survive only with the inherent strength which lies in Pakistani producers making quality films. He says that the solution to the crisis does not lie in importing Indian films which, according to him, have not made a healthy impact on the industry so far.

The Pakistan Cinema Owners Association, however, does not tend to agree with the producers’ view, arguing that the number of films to be screened this Eid or even the last year does not indicate the industry is picking up. A PCOA spokesman says that the Eid releases include five films in Pushto language and they have been produced by unknown investors most of whom may not be producing their second film.

The same is the case with Urdu and Punjabi language films, which, the PCOA says have been produced by `part-time’ producers, some of them even without a production company.

This state of affairs does not mean that the national cinema has started picking up because most of those involved in producing feature films for Eidul Fitr are not registered with the PFPA, it adds.