Stories about industry

3 Bahadur – Another Lollywood milestone

Rewind 10 or 15 years from today to look at the shape and size of the Pakistani film industry, rather hilariously named as Lollywood, and you will not be able to help but wonder – how on earth did they come such a long way? From the days of dancing actresses trying to seduce their lovers in green fields to ground breaking movies like Bol, Waar, Na Maloom Afraad, Dukhtar, Zinda Bhaag and the likes – the progress and escalation of Lollywood in the right direction is very apparent. There’s a clear improvement in the scripts, the screenplay, direction and every aspect of the movie you would once laugh ...

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Chagharzai and other valleys: An epiphany in itself

Every now and then, we hear someone singing odes to the beauty of Pakistan’s North-West regions. Be it by one of those recent sing-along tourism promos running on nearly every news network these days, after a prolonged wave of violence in Malakand Division, or some bunch of local yahoos who’d just returned from a trip from any of the numerous valleys and lakes. The fact remains that the actual beauty and splendour of these areas is still quite underrated, despite all such praises. Even though the last few years’ armed conflicts have labelled the entire region as a no-go zone, ...

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Why can’t we buckle up?

Pakistan’s television industry has seen from amazing times – when classics such as Dhoop Kinarey charmed viewers all around the country as well as across the border – to the not-so-amazing times, when aunties gathered around television screens for nothing better than ‘saas-bahu’ soaps. Fortunately, the growth in television productions has recently been phenomenal, with dozens of serials airing on the ever growing number of television channels in the country. As the entertainment industry expands, its impact on society surpasses the mere purpose of entertaining. It begins to highlight social issues and influences thinking and behaviour among the population. A ton of storytelling on Pakistani ...

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The problem with our drama industry and its depiction of Pakistani women

The troubled image of modern Pakistani women conjured up by Pakistani dramas is extremely distorted and single dimensional. Stories, it is said, are a subtle yet are the most influential way of documenting the social evolution of a society. The story of a woman sells but the modern media has gone one step ahead by proving that the story of a woman being abused, tortured, beaten and humiliated sells faster. The massive projection of domestic and women related violence might appear as an attempt to serve the cause but a closer look will reveal an entirely different and gross story. The disturbing image of woman ...

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Ayub Khan and the Pakistani film industry

A leading film-maker once asserted to me that Pakistani cinema had actually thrived through the advent of Ayub Khan’s military rule. This thought is part of the broader belief amongst some quarters that the dictatorship eras have provided a certain amount of socio-economic growth and development for Pakistan. Interestingly, for film, this has never been the case. In fact, Pakistani cinema has always been built through the efforts of dedicated individuals who, despite the lack of structured support and resources, developed methods through which some sort of a film culture could develop. This culture was, in fact, undermined by the ...

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Ship-breaking at Gadani: Unsafe and unfair for ordinary workers

Ship-breaking, the process in which defunct ships are broken up to obtain reusable steel and other materials, is a major industry in Pakistan. Reviving from a slump that almost forced it to shut down, the industry is once again seeing its fortunes perk up. Pakistan’s sole ship-breaking yard is situated at Gadani, about 50 kilometres northwest of Karachi. Once the largest ship-breaking yard in the world, it now ranks number three after the Alang Ship Breaking Yard in India and the Chittagong Ship Breaking Yard in Bangladesh. Stretched along a 10-km long beachfront, it consists of 132 ship-breaking plots. Currently, ...

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Pakistan’s murder: Aftermath of Nanga Parbat massacre

Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B), a thinly populated area in the northern parts of Pakistan, is solely dependent upon tourism and agriculture for its sustenance. Commonly known as the mountaineers’ paradise on earth, it is safe to assume that the world’s top mountaineers and trekkers know this region better than most Pakistanis do, since a majority of the Pakistanis do not know a lot about G-B, other than that this land hosts five of the world’s tallest 14 peaks, which are above 8,000 metres. Last week, G-B was in the media spotlight as 10 foreign climbers and their Pakistani guide were killed by ...

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Pakistan’s film industry is not dead… yet

I don’t remember watching a Pakistani film growing up. I was way too busy being smothered by Shahrukh Khan’s movies that everyone back then just had to watch — with the entire family. People would memorise lines, know the dance steps of each song by heart and would fantasise about Bollywood happening to them in real life. It never did. When Pakistan came out with films like Khuda Ke Liye and Bol, the content was too ‘heavy’ to appeal to the masses. Critics called the plot convoluted. The treatment contrived and termed the subject matter as just way too overwhelming ...

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The government cannot do everything for you

It is a paradox that I have failed to understand: Pakistanis tend to hate their government, think of it as corrupt and incompetent, but at the same time, we feel that the government should do absolutely everything for us. The average Pakistani sees absolutely nothing wrong with the idea of the government setting prices in energy and agriculture. They see nothing wrong with the government blatantly discriminating against some industries by giving others preferential treatment in the tax code and regulatory structure. And most people do not seem to have a problem with the fact that the government owns vast swathes ...

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From Vital Signs to ‘Vital Saaen’

The journey from the golden age to the recent dark ages has been very short for the Pakistan music industry. So it doesn’t come as a surprise when a song like Taroo Maroo becomes an instant hit in the music deprived nation. It wouldn’t awe a person if Sajjad Ali’s recent four minute video—Har Zulm  is welcomed by an audience getting accustomed to finding music in the title songs of over-rated drama serials. It was not long before Pakistan produced some of the best musicians in the world. From Munni Begum, Nayyara Noor, Iqbal Bano, Farida Khanum to the younger generation of pop ...

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