Artistes slam TV channels showing Indian content
KARACHI: Criticising various TV channels for showing Indian content, TV and film artistes at a press conference on Monday argued that these channels were harming the interests of local technicians as well as that of the artiste community.
Actor and chairman of the United Producers Association Tanvir Jamal started off by shedding light on the reasons for making the UPA. He said the association was established four years before with the purpose of providing ‘modern know-how’ to local producers. He cleared the air that the association was not against any TV channel.
He said illegal Indian software (programmes) were being shown on different television networks, and they needed to know how
the different ways through which money earned from those software was sent to India. He said television reflected how a society functioned, and Indian culture was destroying Pakistani values. He said running Indian programmes also caused problems for local technicians who often went out of work. He argued India didn’t allow any Pakistani TV channel to be run in their country, yet Pakistani networks were doing the opposite.
Talking about the decline of the Pakistan film industry, Mr Jamal said film was a powerful tool that could be used for furthering national causes. He announced that he was making a film titled Ab payamber nahin aen gey (written by Tariq Siddiqui) which would clear a lot of misunderstandings about Islam and Pakistan.
TV producer Bakhtiar Ahmed said institutions like banks should help prop up the Pakistan film industry by loaning it the requisite capital. He lamented the fact that the entire nation would get ready to fight a war against India it appeared to be reluctant to fight a war on the cultural front.
Actor Faisal Qureshi apprised journalists of the yet-to-be-registered Actors Association of Pakistan which he had made with some other actors to look into the various issued faced by the actor community. Touching upon the subject of Indian content, he narrated incidents in which Pakistani children seemed to have been influenced by Indian movies (shadi mein dulhan ke phairey etc). He claimed his fraternity wanted to protect Pakistani culture.
Actor Sajid Hasan abstained from the emotionalism that the previous speakers had resorted to and suggested that the ground realities must be taken into account before protesting against anything. He said India and Pakistan were two different countries with different objectives. He said local artistes also had themselves to blame for many shortcomings and shouldn’t be defending unworthy films. He said we ought to be playing to our strength, and TV was our strength. He said our TV channel owners were lost in their own world and didn’t think much about the welfare of the artiste community.
He said things had come to a point where artistes’ children didn’t want to follow in the footsteps of their parents. Artistes were becoming isolated, he rued. He said our channel owners were themselves filling their pockets and no one was questioning them about the money they were earning through Indian content. He said it was the artiste fraternity that was the protector of the country’s geographical boundaries. Urdu is our language and we hadn’t been paying heed to it. The language was also used in Indian films but Pakistanis knew how to speak it well, he said.
Film actor Arbaz Khan said the Indian film industry was only better facilitated than Pakistan’s and had nothing much to offer.
Actress Atiqa Odho said she had gained a lot from her country and wanted to give something back to it. She discussed the plight of technicians (cameramen, editors, spot boys) who didnÂ’t get their pay for months and no one spoke for them. She said if the media and her fellow artistes supported her, from January she’d not appear on those channels who’d be ill-treating their workers. She argued it was necessary to empower the workers.
With reference to India, she said a carefully planned policy must be put in place as no one knew what the bilateral policy was vis-Ã -vis Indian content. She warned if action was not taken on time, TV would suffer from the same fate as the Pakistani film industry.
Actors Faisal Rehman, Azra Mohyeddin and Adnan Jilani echoed the sentiments of the earlier speakers. Journalists Imtiazul Haq Bukhari, Imtiaz Faran and Wasi Qureshi also spoke.
The press conference was organised by the Pakistan Film and TV Journalists Association at the Karachi Press Club.