Asia Pacific
Feature: Better storylines provide hope for Lollywood to rise again
Last Updated: 2018-08-29 09:50 | Xinhua
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Khurram Shakil is a frequent cinema visitor who starts believing that local movies now have the potentials to compete with Bollywood, the sobriquet of Indian movies, after watching recently-released Pakistani films and attracted by the strong storylines.

"I foresee that very soon we don't need to screen Bollywood films at our cinemas, as local movies seem all set to offer a befitting substitute to the spectators," Shakil told Xinhua.

This August was a treat for local cinemagoers in Pakistan due to the screenings of three much-anticipated movies featuring famous stars. According to box office estimates, one of the movies which featured an assemble cast, broke all previous box office records at the local ticket box.

Meanwhile, in August, Eid holidays were followed by a weekend affording a splendid chance to the movies to mint a good amount of profit at the ticket box. The official Facebook pages of the films showed that their collective box office collections were to the tunes of 230 million rupees (over 1.8 million U.S. dollars).

The industry is currently witnessing its resurrection phase as the "Lollywood," local name for Pakistani film industry, was eclipsed by Bollywood films so much so that only a few local movies were released in the whole year and used to be no match for the mega-budget Bollywood outings.

In the absence of good quality movies from Lollywood, the cinema owners and distributors heavily relied on Bollywood, but on the Eid festival, the government made some measures to promote local film industry.

TV dramas, which have always maintained a strong fan base in Pakistan, helped revive local film industry too as directors, producers and actors from the drama industry ventured into filmmaking and delivered many hits over the last few years.

The current three releases also mainly featured TV actors, and two out of the three films, were made by TV directors and producers.

Mehwish Fatima, a 23-year-old university student, said she is a big fan of Pakistani actor Fahad Mustafa who is a household name in Pakistan. "Fahad's film Jawani Phir Nahi Ani 2' was a treat to watch. I like his game show and his TV dramas, and I have heard his movie which I am going to watch is really good," Fatima told Xinhua.

Fatima, who was waiting for the show timing at a cinema in Islamabad with her family, said that she was not a fan of Pakistani cinema because of the weak plot of the films, but things are changing over the past seven or eight years and the standard of the local cinemas was markedly improved.

Talking to Xinhua, veteran filmmaker Syed Noor said that like all other segments of social life, terrorism took a toll on the country's film industry too, refraining the spectators to visit cinemas and discouraging investors to produce films.

He added that the improved law and order situation in the country also had a positive impact on film industry and more and more filmmakers were trying their luck in the industry.

Pakistani films used to compete with Bollywood film. Many Pakistani films were exported to other countries and dubbed in their languages, but gradually, the themed movies were overshadowed by insolent heroes and audacious villains.

"I was a regular visitor of cinema till early 2000, but then they started making movies which glamorized violence and crime and I had to shifted my focus to Bollywood as they were far better than Pakistani movies, but now for the last three or four years, Pakistani cinema is making a comeback," Asif Ahmad, a cinemagoer from Pakistan's southern port city of Karachi, told Xinhua.

Syed Noor, who has 48 Urdu and Punjabi films at his credit, said that the release of three star-studded movies on Eid festival would help the uplift of the local film industry if this trend continued and local filmmakers kept on making good films to attract fans.

Khurram Shakil, the spectator, hoped that the recent success of Pakistani movies at box office would hint a better future of Lollywood if filmmakers keep their focus on strong and realistic plots and give healthy entertainment to the audience.

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