There are two different Cinema revivals in Pakistan. One is the pure movie theatre culture and big screen experiences that were originally associated with names such as Regal Cinema and Nishaat and Bambino if you go further back. Then a few years ago places like Atrium, Cinepax, Cineplex, Nueplex etc started opening up across the major urban centers of the country. Cinepax is now even expanding to Murree.
The cinema going culture has been revived for a few years now and so much so that in Karachi for the otherwise starved for entertainment public this is the primary outing these days. Movies would be sold out over the weekends and even weekdays would see throngs of people lining up to the big screen madness.
The other cinema revival is that of the Pakistani movies. This has started happening in the last couple of years thanks to ARY, HUM and other major media houses investing in bringing out films. There have been hits and many misses along the way but it is heartening to see that our movies are also being sold out at the cinemas even with bollywood releases simultaneously being shown. Definitely a good sight.
There has been criticism however of an inclination for movie makers of trying a wee bit too hard to be in line with Bollywood standards or outlandish plots and scripts matching C grade hollywood material. That criticism is valid but perhaps a little harsh at this time. The revival has just started. The primary stars and talent is coming from the world of tv dramas (which we have always minus a couple of years in between been high quality in – both in terms of acting and stories). Yes there is an attempt to compete and imitate bollywood and hollywood styles but that’s ok. At least it is pulling the public in and eventually we will see more consistent quality work coming out soon.
There have been a few good ones too so its not all despair in terms of quality. Waar was a brilliant movie strictly speaking from our standards. Yes there were loose ends and technical quality and directorial issues but we will get over them. Na Maloom Afraad was another great movie and to be honest I would actually disagree with the critics against it. I think it was a well balanced and well made movie with plenty of laughter and solid performances. The storyline was well worked and consistent throughout the movie. Javed Shaikh displayed the quality of his immense talent and one has to say he is perhaps the most legitimate quality veteran actor we have who can be slotted right up there with the very best.
This year has also seen a host of new movies coming out including hits like Karachi se Lahore and more recently Jawani Phir Nahi Ani which has been doing well at the box office. I would say Karachi se Lahore was a more superior film to Jawani Phir Nahi Ani as the latter tends to go a bit overboard on occasions and I am sorry but Humayun Saeed – as a good an actor as he has been simply does not fit.
The best this season and perhaps over the years has to be Manto thou. Sarmad Khoosat has brilliantly displayed his skills both as an actor and director with this one. Fantastic acting, great post editing and wonderfully well worked music give the entire movie a A Grade quality of work. The acting by everyone in the movie was great and some scenes were powerful beyond words. A couple of the scenes which stand out the most – the story part of Manto’s ‘Thanda Gosht’ and the scene where Manto just about makes it home in the middle of a curfew with alcohol instead of medicine for his ailing daughter.
All in all extremely good to see our movies coming out more frequently and improving step by step in terms of technical execution of acting as well as production and direction. Stories will also improve with time. Give it a couple of more years and I am sure we will start seeing more of Na Maloom Afraad and Manto type of work. Maybe even B or A grade type Hollywood action stuff.
In the meantime lets all continue the support for our industry and see the movies.