The film industry failed to recover from the maladies it had been suffering for the last many decades in 2010. Its old gripes persisted as the industry people continued to lament ‘lack of patronising’ by the government. Though their demand seems justified in terms of infrastructure and other facilities which can help them make better films, the world over good films are made employing sheer professionalism and talent which no government can provide.
If we go by the number of films released, we find 2010 slightly better than 2009 as the former witnessed 14 films hitting the screen as compared to the 12 during the latter. The best year of the decade so far was 2001 in which 48 films were released.
The production of Urdu films, once considered the identity of the Pakistani cinema, is at such low ebb that out of the 12 films released in 2010 only three were Urdu and all the rest were Punjabi flicks. Six Pushto films were also released in 2010 but the figure could not be verified as the Pakistan Film Producers Association did not have an record of these movies.
The first film of 2010 was a Punjabi production, Channa Sachi Muchi, by Ijaz Bajwa. The film was released in April. The film won appreciation for its music and a script devoid of violence. The debut direction of Ijaz Bajwa reportedly earned Rs10 million at the box office.
Then comes Punjabi film Virsa -- a joint venture by Pakistani and Indian producers -- that was released in May last with much fanfare. It was also a joint venture in terms of cast, directors and even music and singers. It was the first joint production which was exempted from tax. The film, however, could not live up to the expectations of cine goers.
The first Urdu film of the year was Haseena Twenty 20 by a less known director, Faheem Bhatti. It was released in June and was a quick flop at the box office.
Lado Rani, a Punjabi film by Masood Butt, was released in September and did an average business. Taxi No 707, another Urdu film by another unheard of film director, Waseem Hussain, also released in September, was a failure too.
Another film released in September was Haseeno ka Mela. Though directed by seasoned actress and director Sangeeta, the film could not click at the box office.
Top Pakistani film director Syed Noor’s film Vohti Ley Ke Jani Ay comparatively did a good business.
Phool Aur Kantey, released in October, was just another Urdu film which failed to impress viewers.
It was directed by Ashfaq Chaudhary.
A Punjabi movie Jabru Tay Nizam by Imdad Hussain was also released in October and badly flopped at the box office. Punjabi film Numberdari by Masood Butt was released in November and did an average business. Two other Punjabi films, Qamar Altaf’s Billu Billa and Pervaiz Rana’s Ilyasa Gujjar, were also released in the same month but both turned out to be big flops.
Surprisingly, stage plays did a marvelous business in 2010. During the three days of Eid-ul-Azha, the stage plays only in Lahore did a business of about Rs15 million. None of the films released in 2010 could even cross Rs10 million at the box office.
The fine arts fanciers will have a lot to relish their senses in the coming days as at least three private art galleries are going to showcase works of different artists. Ejaz Galleries at the M M Alam Road will be holding a paintings exhibition titled ‘Let a Thousand Flowers Bloom’ by Ali Azmat on Jan 5. The art show will be inaugurated by Punjab University Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Mujahid Kamran.
The Drawing Room Art Gallery owned by Sanam Taseer is also holding an exhibition on Jan 13 of Unver Shafi Khan’s long awaited Fabulist Series.
Another exhibition, ‘Indivisibilities’, by two artists Mehr Javed and Sana Ali will open at Rohtas Art Gallery, G Block, Model Town, on 4th Jan.
Recently, Hamail Art Gallery at M M Alam Road held an exhibition of a Sindh-based artist Chitra Pritam. The exhibition had a lot to offer in terms of novel colour schemes and versatility of ideas. However, the tight security at the show was a big turn-off as Punjab Assembly Speaker Rana Iqbal was the chief guest there. Many among the visitors wondered why veteran artists were not invited to inaugurate such art events instead of politicians and bureaucrats.