Mustafa Qureshi urges govt to revive film industry
HYDERABAD: Senior film actor Mustafa Qureshi says revival of film industry is not possible without government’s help and proposed development of parallel cinema financed and managed by the government.
Mr Qureshi told Dawn in a interview that he had discussed various proposals with the government but was yet to see any action in this regard.
Worried over the dismal state of affairs of the Pakistani film industry, he said he was surprised what was preventing the government from investing in the industry when it was spending billions of rupees on activities organised by the Pakistan National Council of Arts.
Film is a powerful medium and a source of livelihood for thousands of people. “We have held several meetings and I have noted that President Asif Ali Zardari and other government functionaries were serious about the matter but regrettably no action followed the meetings,” he said.
He said that writers were coming up with same old and hackneyed subjects although there was no dearth of ideas. They should come up with new ideas. “There were about 900 cinema houses in the country but today there are only 175,” said Mr Qureshi.
On an average, 175 to 150 films used to be produced each year.
“The downfall of film industry has the number of jobless people but no one appears to notice it. The decline in filmmaking scares away local investors as they will not get any returns on their investment,” he said.
He praised the few stubborn people who were still investing in films although their subjects were debatable. The government needed to get serious about reviving the industry.
“Proposals have been presented to the government. Institutions are built over time and after great struggle they should not be allowed to fall like this.
“The government should produce a film with an investment of Rs150 million to Rs200 million. Will it be a big problem for the government,” he asked.
Revival of the process of filmmaking will encourage investors. “The PNCA spends huge amounts of money on different activities, which did not return a penny to the exchequer. If an equal amount is diverted to filmmaking the government will reap profits on its investment,” he argued.
The defunct National Film Development Corporation could be revived by the ministry of culture. “But it should not just award a statuette but should lace it with some monetary benefits for the best artistes, directors and producers,” he proposed.
He said films should and could be used to fight negative propaganda against Pakistan. “We can show through films that we are educated and civilised people and believe in peace,” he said.
This message could easily be sent to the world and ‘Khuda key Liye’ and ‘Bol’ are its examples.
Referring to a mushrooming of multiplexes, Mr Qureshi complained that they were of no help because they were showing only English and Indian films.
He has high hopes in youths who are studying filmmaking abroad. “They will respond to challenges of film production,” he said.
He criticised TV talk shows, which he said had surprisingly become a source of entertainment. “Anchors enjoy pitting guests against each other. Such shows are often devoid of ethics and morality,” he said.