fat to police
Local industry vs market
The local film industry demands the two Eids all to themselves for two weeks
By Shehryar Warraich
2006 brought back
the revival of Indian cinema in Pakistan after an interval of more than 31
long years. Cinema owners were worried that they were not getting sufficient
films to help them keep cinemas alive.
“We requested federal
government for help because cinemas were closing down rapidly. The number of
cinemas was reduced to 200 in the country from more than 900 which was a
great threat to cinema industry,” says Jahanzaib Baig, ex-chairman Cinema
Exhibitors Association. According to him, principal figures from Lollywood
were also signatories in the document under which Bollywood films were
allowed to cross the border without any hurdle.
A number of petitions have
been filed since 2006 by different Lollywood personalities to prevent this
import because they believed it was contraband. Nine cases are under process
in Lahore High Court at the moment regarding import of Hindi movies. A strong
movement commenced to put complete ban on Indian films three years back. Two
different bodies of Lollywood were established with this agenda. Actress and
director Sangeeta was the head of “All Pakistan Films Association” and
Mian Amjad Farzand was leading “United Films Association”, with the
support of almost everyone to stop Indian movies. They also announced almost
two dozen new movies to revive the last breath of Pakistan film industry.
“We were really glad to
hear this commitment because we also wanted to promote good Pakistani movies.
Obviously our local films are our priority but without any doubt it was
another shallow promise. We need to have at least one new film every week but
in the last three years Lollywood could not produce more than fourteen films
a year and that too with a large number of Punjabi films which have limited
audience in limited theatres such as Abbott Road Lahore, Gujranwala, Gujrat,
Faisalabad and Multan,” grumbled Zoraiz Lashari, Chairman Exhibitors
Association of Pakistan.
“Yes it is true we
escalated the movement against illegal release of Indian films. In fact the
attitude of cinema owners was such that we had no option except to demand ban
on Indian movies. We did not have good shows just because of Indian films. It
started hurting us financially. Producers were disappointed and showed less
interest in producing new movies. We also passed a unanimous resolution in
2011, demanding complete ban on Hindi movies,” says Syed Noor. He moreover
says, “Good films are badly needed at the hour to keep the remaining
cinemas alive but we also don’t want our film industry to be exterminated
or overlooked. We have no competition with Hindi movies because they produce
films in bulk which has improved public expectations. That is the reason why
we are more interested in creating Punjabi films. At least these movies have
their own audience. Giving proper display will be encouraging to the
producers. Keeping this idea in mind we are seriously demanding ban on Indian
films on both Eids. Only two weeks of Eids are our current demand because
most of the Pakistani films are Punjabi and are especially produced for Eids.”
The voice of leading actor
Mustafa Qureshi and senior vice president of United Films Association, was
also very high for getting Indian films banned. He met with Ex Prime Minster
Yousaf Raza Gilani along with other personalities, several times, for this
purpose. “The current situation is quite dreadful. Producers are not ready
to make films due to the current inappropriate circumstances for local films.
They think that cinema owners are not helping to stabilise Lollywood,” says
Mustafa Qureshi. “Everybody knows that Indian films are illegally becoming
part of our cinema but we can understand that these films are providing
oxygen to cinema industry. Yet we insist to acquire special treatment for
Pakistani movies on Eids,” he says.
“We would not have asked
for ban on Indian films if we had been treated equally,” says Producer and
distributor Chaudhry Kamran. “The demand of getting both Eids free for
local films is justified,” he adds.
“I will go with the
demand of my film industry. My Punjabi movie ‘Ishq Khuda’ will be
released this Eid. I also want to get good business but I know that the
desire and demand of getting a full week free is a useless effort. Government
never supports us. I am unable to sort out the reason but it is a fact,”
says producer and director Shahzad Rafique.
“I am unable to
understand what makes them think that Eids are only for them to earn money.
Cinema owners also hope to get some business in those days. Can they tell us
what business did their films do on Eid ul Fitr, 2010, while on the other
hand federal government banned Indian product on their pressure? Local films
had no competition but earned nothing because all were Punjabi formula
films,” says Zoraiz Lashari. “How come we can give our all shows to
Punjabi films which owe very limited audience in certain areas? Now a list of
illegal items is being processed by Pakistan under which those items would be
banned to cross the border and Hindi films are not included in it,” he
“Four cinemas started
working in Lahore after the availability of Indian films. Otherwise cinemas
were being demolished. Only eighteen out of eighty five cinemas are in
working condition in Lahore just because of low standard and bad quality
local films”, says Safdar Khan, Senior Vice Chairman Exhibitors’
Association of Pakistan.
on the other hand says, “We always prefer local movies because a
good Pakistani movie like Bol and Khuda Kay Liye can attain more business
than any super hit Hindi movie. But we are unable to exhibit any Punjabi
movie which not only encloses a bad name, bad story but is also badly made.
Punjabi movies have no audience except that at Abbott Road circuit,” Zoraiz
argues. He says, “With all our reservations we exhibited these Punjabi
movies in the past. However, we knew it was useless. These people must use
their energies to rebuild Lollywood rather than putting their own burden on
others’ shoulders. No one will create obstacles in their way if they try to
find cure to the diseases sincerely which in fact are real hindrances in
The current scenario shows
that people of local film industry have accepted that they are unable to
produce a good number of quality movies. That is the reason why the demand
for putting a complete ban on Indian films has squeezed to only two weeks of
both Eids. Some people say this behaviousr can also affect their petitions
filed in LHC.
Eateries and movie theatres
are always flooded with the youth during summer time as the youth try to beat
the heat and rescue themselves from the endless power outages.
Logically, at a certain
point in time, everyone is bound to get sick of constantly dining out and
watching movies day in and day out. With the rebirth of movie theatres which
initiated during the latter half of 2008, eateries and movie theatres
constantly come up with new innovative ways of ensuring that recreation and
this so called fun-time doesn’t become monotonous for customers,
particularly the young.
As a result of this
constant need for change, movie theatres around the country finally
introduced the audiences to 3-D movies sometime during last summer, which was
received as a breath of fresh air by cinema-goers. A year after the
introduction of 3-D movies in Pakistan, the movie going experience has again
become monotonous with every Hollywood movie being released in 3-D.
With every visit to the
cinema, nothing seems different. The same old 3-D, with the same old glasses,
the same old effects and the same old mixed popcorn and coke combo in short
nothing is new apart from the movie itself.
So what do these cinema
owners have in store for their audiences in the coming future? Soon we’ll
have an IMAX in Lahore.
What’s exactly new about
the IMAX 4k? The IMAX 4k is
scheduled to open in Lahore under the banner of Cinestar Cinemas sometime
next year. The IMAX has revolutionised movies. With a larger than life screen
the IMAX aims to involve all of the viewer’s senses to enjoy a movie
experience like none other. The IMAX 4k takes the experience of 3-D to a
whole new level.
With dazzling sound
effects, vibrating chairs during action sequences, various aromas circulating
the cinema during various sequences in a movie; the IMAX 4k can very well be
described as the most engrossing movie experience of all time. At least
that’s what the owners of the IMAX trademark say.
Last summer my friends and
I were visiting Mumbai for a conference. We were a group of ten boys, all of
whom had no interest in shopping at the local street markets or the glamorous
night-life Mumbai had to offer. Honestly speaking we were too young to
experience the ravishing night life. Anyhow, since we had managed to win the
conference, we were definitely in a mood for a celebration. We chose to go
out for a movie to Mumbai’s IMAX 4k theatre. I, like most of the people my
age, had my expectations set high, especially after google-ing what an IMAX
theatre was. So we set off for a late night movie. The movie we watched in
the cinema that night was Spy Kids 3.
As soon as the movie
started it was like watching a movie in DHA Cinema. The smells during the
various action sequences were not different in the least. An infant’s
excrement and a rose had the same smell.
The 3-D glasses were hurting the nodes of our eyes. The sounds
didn’t have much of a dramatic effect. The experience was quite a
disappointment; so much so that we left the theatre as soon as the first
interval ended. Our money had gone to waste and the spirit of celebration was
extinguished after a not-so-great experience at Mumbai’s famous IMAX.
Anyhow, despite this
experience last summer, I still have high hopes from the IMAX theatre
that’s meant to open in Pakistan next summer.
There are several reasons
that account for that. Firstly, Spy Kids 3 was a horrific movie as affirmed
by various film critics. Secondly, the proposed project for the IMAX theatre
in Lahore seems to be quite intriguing. Its spread over quite some land and
it definitely seems to be different compared to the already existent 3-D
Now all we can do is hope
for the best but we should definitely check Lahore’s IMAX out whenever it
*Play Godot ke Intizar Mein
tomorrow, Monday, July 09 at 7:30pm at Alhamra Arts Council, The Mall.
*Thesis Display at Pakistan
Institute of Fashion Design,
51-J3 Johar Town, till July
*Photography Exhibition at
Alhamra, The Mall from July 10-18. Its Pakistan's first ever Forest
Photography Exhibition organised by Engro Polymer & chemicals.
*Play: Brain Masala at
Alhamra, The Mall till July 8, today. The play will start at 7:00 pm. Gate
will close at 7:15 sharp. Written & directed by the same team that did
Behroopia - the musical.
*Comedy Junction: at The
Knowledge Factory (TKF) every Sunday
at 7:30 pm till July 29.
*Faiz Ghar Summer Cultural
School till July 13 from 9:00 am
to 1:00 pm.
*Urdu Baithak/Sing along
sessions: "Story hour" for children 5 years and above every Sunday
from 5.00 to 6.00 pm at Faiz Ghar.
*Ballet Basic Course till
July 30 at The Knowledge
The crowd went wild
as Sri Lanka needed only 11 runs to win from 15 balls. The environment was
breathtaking. Painted faces, unusual caps or hats and a medley of colourful
accessories gave variety to the green field.
The most dominating sight
was the field itself — brown pitch surrounded by green grass and the field
dotted with players.
The entrance of the field
was blocked by the huge mass of over 60,000 spectators. “Foam fingers,
national flags, and the smell of the shirtless men in the humid Lahori heat
made the Sunday afternoon of March 17 in the year 1996 a memorable
occasion,” my dad recalls.
Sixteen years later, I
stood before the entrance of the stadium. The stadium reverberated with
sounds of crows. The plastic seats once warmed by cheering spectators were
vacant, and left to rot… An old figure,
Aslam Qureshi emerged out of no where — the 58-years-old assistant
curator of Gaddaffi Stadium, who has nurtured this cricket field for the past
two and half years.
Our conversation commenced,
we started with the fundamental principle that a cricketer cannot play good
cricket on a poor pitch. He talked about how the quality of a pitch could be
a game-changer. The ideal pitch will vary according to the duration of the
Aslam Qureshi is guided by
Agha Zahid, the chief curator of Pakistan, and is assisted by 18-member
ground staff to keep the pitch in ideal conditions. It’s a delicate matter:
involving bulli composition, layering, drainage, top dressing, cracking,
rolling, fertilising, mowing and the type of turf used. It must guarantee
Aslam Qureshi has been a
sound, right-hand batsman and right-arm fast to medium bowler. He had a
distinguished first class career as he played for Habib Bank Limited. “We
used to play cricket from our hearts but now these cricketers just play it
for the sake of money that is not real cricket,” he continued, “Hum jub
training sey atey thay to hum log nalkon se paani peetay thay magar aj ke yeh
cricketers mineral water bottle ke ilawa paani ko haath nahi lagatay. Woh
waqt hi kuch aur tha. Humari jurat nahi hoti thi nakhray kernay ki. Humay
Miandad sahib murgha banatay thay agar hum thora sa bhi late ho jatay.”
His honest smile gave testimony to the fact that all his words were
coming straight from his heart.
Moreover, he passionately
believed Pakistan has a lot of talent in the youth. “Agar ap Saddar ki
galli ya Shahdara key plot mei jaiyain to
apko bohat hazar boom boom Afridi milay gai, jo apki is 11 bandoon ki team
sey zyada hunarmand hon gai,” said Aslam.
Regretting there is no
proper platform and institution to channel them in the right direction and
phenomena such as ‘sifarish’ have deeply plagued our society. He also
gave a message to parents out there that children should be given a free hand
to make their own career choices, because today’s youth is well informed
with access to internet and other such means. He asserted, “Mene apnae
betay ke agey kitabein bhi rakhi aur cricket ka saman aur kaha khud faisla
karo . Aur osne kitabon ko chuna.” Now his son is a MBA graduate and
working in a well reputed company.
The latest spot fixing
scandal in the Pakistani cricket is well documented. Disappointed with
today’s cricket, Qureshi commented on the three musketeers Muhammad Asif,
Salman Butt and Muhammad Amir. He felt that they were guilty and deserved to
be punished as they stained Pakistan’s reputation internationally and
firmly believed that this instance has set a precedent and would act as a
deterrent for future players.
Further, he thought of
cricket as the best source of entertainment as the whole population is
‘frustrated’ with inflation, loadshedding, gas shortage and terrorism.
They need a platform to escape the frustration and go out in the open air
stadium and enjoy affordable entertainment. Cricket is a game of
happenstance: it cannot be predicted.
Pakistan has not hosted a
foreign cricket team after the infamous attack on the Sri Lankan team in
2009. Aslam Qureshi felt that the security issues have harmed this sport to a
great extent. The cricket fanatics are greatly disappointed after the
Bangladesh cricket team refused our invitation. But, Qureshi tells TNS,
“The chairman of PCB Zaka Ashraf is currently engaged in dialogue with
international counterparts and soon there will be good news for the
Let’s keep our fingers
crossed, because if that happens, I along with my generation would get to
experience what my father experienced in his time. The whole of Lahore would
be making its way to the Gaddafi Stadium.
Aslam Qureshi, who has a
with cricket. — Photos by
General Police of Punjab Haji Habib-ur-Rehman has issued a stern warning to
thousands of pot-bellied policemen to fasten their waist-lines in a 38 inch
belt in 65 days or get off the streets and do clerical jobs on less pay.
Pakistani police are widely
seen as corrupt and ineffective. Now their weight is under limelight. Pudgy
Punjab police, who eat with a passion as if there is going to be no tomorrow,
are desperately trying to fight the “battle of the bulge” to comply with
the police chief’s ultimatum.
Television channels are
taking delight in screening the footage of police constables and officers
with monstrous tummies panting away while running and doing different
exercises. Some are too fat to exercise and are waiting for a miracle to slim
down in time. Some are shown eating ruthlessly in restaurants and snoozing in
chairs and police vans.
Punjab police spokeswoman
Nabila Ghazanfar says that out of a total 175,000 police force in Punjab
nearly half are overweight. She said they “cannot chase bandits, robbers
and other criminals properly.” However, there is a multi-billion dollar
question that do slim policemen catch criminals and perform well or thieves
have been set to catch thieves?
The top cop’s argument is
that he is on diet, and if he can diet, why can’t others in the police
department? The top cop believes people only have pot bellies “if they are
sick or if they commit a sin.”
Ghazanfar says that police
doctors will measure 175,000 personnel of the force by July 15 and those
deemed too fat would not be given jobs in the field.
By the way, I feel very
sorry for the policemen as they will be unable to get chai pani (corruption)
in the field and their actual pay will shrink as well. It is just like taking
the bread out of their mouths.
There is a recommendation
for the worried police force to lose weight quickly and without any side
effect. Get rid of three chays (in Urdu); cheeni (sugar), chaawal (rice) and
chiknai (oil and ghee). Don’t fill your stomachs in case the food is
offered free of cost from some ‘client’. Always try to leave one third of
it unfilled. Also, drink plenty of water when stomach is empty. It will help,
It’s a smart move by the
IGP Punjab to enhance the performance of the police and his concern for
physical fitness of his men is plausible. Nonetheless, he needs to take the
bull by the horns and fix the real menace. Polite, obedient, loyal,
intelligent, capable and efficient are the words used for police. In our part
of the world police are the other way round.
Apart from obesity, the
most important step would be to make police a corruption-free and human
It may be possible if the
Chief Minister of Punjab, Mian Shahbaz Sharif, says no to favouritism and
stops the micro management of the police department.
It would only be achievable
if he stops his MNAs, MPAs, political workers and sycophants from using their
influence to set criminals free. There would be no use grooming or training
or equipping the police force with modern weapons or doubling their salary
unless they are empowered. It would not make any sense if political workers
are supported at the cost of police performance and police officers are
appointed on the basis of their loyalty to the political ruler instead of
their professional competence.
I feel it does not matter
what I say—nothing seems to beat their ninja-like mental reflexes. This is
just what an average conversation about the police should have been.The
writer is a working journalist and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org