Long live Lollywood!

Published: February 6, 2011

What support has the government given to Lollywood exactly?

Lollywood originates from my hometown of Lahore. My childhood consists of vivid memories of Royal Park – unique as a glittering place – mesmerising me each time and offering escape from reality.

However, the place has changed over the years and so has Lollywood. Who is to blame for the decay of Lollywood? The answer, simply, is filmmakers.

Many have said that Lollywood needs a lethal injection to die once and for all as it couldn’t revive despite bans on foreign films, tax waivers, special grants and receiving the status of an industry.

However, there’s always a flip side to the story. The most recent development is the tax waivers for foreign films. Many countries waive off taxes on their local films for their promotion, as has been done by our government.

The ‘support’ couldn’t continue for more than two months in Punjab and the government finally succumbed to the pressure of influential cinema owners and film importers resulting in waiving off 65 per cent entertainment tax on all movies including foreign films.

Another ‘achievement’ was what the federal ministries of culture and finance recently termed as their success when Lollywood was given the status of an industry.

Lollywood is now a film industry officially but not a single filmmaker has so far been given a soft loan – one of the biggest benefits that an industry enjoys.

As far as grants are concerned, the prime minister’s announcement that he would give Rs50 million has washed away with the floods.

Nobody knows when and how this money will be spent for the advancement of Lollywood. A long-time commitment of the culture ministry to make a digital laboratory is yet to be fulfilled.

So, what support has the government given to Lollywood exactly?

Against all odds, Lollywood is still fighting to survive. Vohti Ley Ka Jani Ay, a film by Syed Noor, earned Rs3.5 million from just one cinema in Lahore since its release on Eid.

Although Lollywood might fall short of the glitter and glamour of Bollywood, it still has spark, which if taken care of, can produce a lot more good movies.

Don’t give Lollywood a lethal injection, just give it what you promised and it will live on!

Ali Usman

Ali Usman

A Lahore-based reporter who works at The Express Tribune

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.