Lollywood & entertainment industry hit hard by terrorism -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Lollywood & entertainment industry hit hard by terrorism

LAHORE (January 12 2009): Pakistan’s film and entertainment industry has been hit hard by the serial bomb blasts here on Friday night as artistes are scared to perform on stage and people are afraid to go to a theatre or the cinema house for entertainment.

The five bomb blasts at two theatres in Lahore, dubbed as Lollywood for being base of the film industry have left hundreds of thousands daily wage earners jobless in this cultural and intellectual centre of the country.

There are more than a dozen cinema houses and as many drama theatres in this sprawling city where people go for a good laughter and entertainment in the evenings. However these entertainment houses have been under “cultural” terrorism of those elements who wanted to impose their own code on the society.

This scribe visited various theatres and cinema houses in the city on Sunday and talked to a few producers, directors , artistes, and theatre and cinema goers about the future of the film and entertainment industry.

Directors and producers of the stage dramas said that actors and performers have put up a brave face against these terrorists and have decided to continue their shows from Sunday night, yet audience would take time to restore their confidence for going out in the evening. Manager of a local cinema house showing Aamar Khan’s block buster Ghajini said harldly a few people are coming to see the movie during the daily three shows due to fear of bomb blasts.

Presidential Pride of Performance Award winner and senior actor/producer Mohammad Qavi said “it is a sad day for the performing arts and cultural and intellectual life of the nation that the extremists have succeeded in creating a mass panic.

Another veteran artiste Waheed Butt said besides the artistes, musicians, technicians, beauticians, fashion designers, make-up men, light men, cameramen, hairdressers, tailors, livelihood of hundreds of thousands daily wage earners like tea boys, burger, dry fruit, popcorn and beatle sellers, chowkidars, gatekeepers, rickshaw and taxi drivers and other attendants is linked with the film and entertainment industry. He demanded that the government should take immediate and special measures for protection of the people in the theattre halls and cinemas houses. Popular female drama artistes/stage performers Roohi Inm Deedar, and Khushboo told Business Recorder that no one performed any vulgar dance at any of drama halls in Lahore. They said that some people have launched a propaganda campaign against stage dramas with ulterior motives.

They also opined that scare outside drama halls is being created in a bid to keep the drama goers away from theatres. “The local film industry has collapsed while Indian films also failed to attract cine goers,” they added.

They said there were five teams, ie the Punjab Arts Council, Home Department, DCO, Chief Minister’s Special Monitoring Team, Cultural Minister’s Special Monitoring Team that are closely monitoring the dance performances at stage dramas. ” In the presence of these teams, performance of vulgar dances on stage is absolutely impossible. “Those who were facing losses in film business are just criticising the stage artistes with ulterior motives.” However Megga who is also a good dancer admitted that some artistes had been presenting vulgar dances and were guilty of obscenity on the stage and the authorities must take action against them.

Some popular “Mujra” performers argued that some dancers were being slammed on the basis of vulgar CDs which had no concern whatsoever with their stage performances. “These CDs were prepared by some unscrupulous elements just to mint money” they admitted.

They said that they could not be budged by attacks outsides theatres and would continue to perform as it is their profession and source of earning livelihood for their families.

Social analysts were of the view that since bomb blasts have scared the people and restricted their outings, therefore they would remain at home and entertain themselves by CDs, DVD ,TV viewing etc.

This would attract a mushroom growth of CD, DVD business whereas it is estimated that there are already more than 50,000 video and DVD shops throughout the country; in addition to the manufacturers, distributors and marketers. They said critics, film producers, directors, actors, and film exhibitors agree that Pakistan’s film industry is in decline, but differ on how to revive it.

“The successive government of Pakistan had long lost any track of the peoples needs for entertainment and their essential intellectual , cultural and social growth to become a tolerant, forwarding look and a dynamic society.

Source: Business Recorder

Date:1/12/2009