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    Sunday, 1 January 2012

    2011 A Lucky year for Pakistani Cinema

    The year 2011 proved to be lucky for Pakistani cinema. Many new Pakistani films were released this year including ‘Bol’, ‘Love Mein Ghum’, ‘Bhai Loag’, ‘Son of Pakistan’. Many films are also slated for release next year, including Syed Noor’s ‘Price of Honour’, Wajahat Kazmi’s ‘The Dusk’, ‘Kaptaan’, ‘5 Ghantay Mein 5 Crore’, ‘Kolachi’ and ‘Seedlings’ by Summer Nicks.

    With ‘Bol’ the audience flocked to the cinemas. Some left the auditoriums melancholic yet inspired by the Shoaib Mansoor masterpiece. Others thought the piece was overrated. 

    However on the downside, a few films that incorporated Pakistani talent were banned by the Central Board of Film Censorship (CBFC). One of these was British-Pakistani Hammad Khan’s ‘Slackistan’ which was banned on grounds of the film’s use of abusive language and words like ‘Taliban’ and ‘lesbian’ with some scenes showing characters drinking. 

    In a press release, he said: “The censor board’s verdict is oppressive, arbitrary and steeped in denial about life outside their government offices. Maybe the establishment’s view is that young Pakistanis saying words like ‘Taliban’ and ‘lesbian’ represent a more potent threat than the bullets and bombs that are, day by day, finding increasing legitimacy in the country.”

    ‘Tere Bin Laden’, which was not a Pakistani film, had vocalist and musician Ali Zafar playing the central character, was a medium grosser in India but was banned from being screened in Pakistan. 

    Ironically, Syed Noor’s ‘Ek Aur Ghazi’ was not only passed, but was also screened for a short time before it flopped miserably. This film was an aid to those who believe in arbitrary punishments meted out for people accused of blasphemy. According to Noor the film was based on a real life story of a man who stole a pistol inside a jail to kill a blasphemy accused. However the macbre line ‘Gustakh-e-Rasool Ki Saza, Badan Sarr Se Juda’, was something that openly showed his stance in the movie. Although the censor board feels that religious lines must be promoted in movies, but when it comes to vulgar dances, Syed Noor (read censor board) are all but one on the issue. Also, in the movie, when the blasphemy accused is finally killed, by no other than a Muslim who gambles and is into all kinds of vices, the entire jail staff begins to chant ‘Allah o Akbar’ (God is Great). 

    Shahzad Rafiq director of ‘Salakhein’ and many other films in Lollywood, said ‘Bol’ was a new benchmark for Pakistani cinema. “In order to reach somewhere we must improve our cinema technology and our story telling. Thought provoking issues in this context may lead us somewhere,” he said, adding that that Reema’s ‘Love Mein Ghum’ was a better effort than any other in 2011 in terms of production and ‘Bhai Loag’ also did well in its cinematography section. 

    But Rafiq says that the movies under production, which had incorporated Pakistani talent by being shot in Pakistan, directed by Pakistanis or have Pakistani actors in them will bring a more promising future next year. Rafiq himself is releasing ‘Ishq Khuda’ to be released at Eid-ul-Fitr 2012.

    Published in : PakistanToday (1-1-12)

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