Veteran Pakistani actor-director Khalid Ahmed, who is in India to attend the seventh edition of the Jagran Film Festival, on Tuesday said that many films which are made in Pakistan are funded by their army for their own image-building.
Not many know that Khalid, known for his popular TV serials like Firdous ki Dozakh (he also had a bit role in Zindagi Gulzar Hai), is the uncle of Bollywood director Imtiaz Ali.
The filmmaker was in Delhi to hold a discussion on Our Cinema, Their Cinema along with Indian filmmaker Anand L Rai, filmmaker and politician Raja Bundela and Pakistani filmmaker Shahbaz Sumar.
Ahmed said that the Pakistani army funds a host of movies across the border, in what can also be called an “image building exercise”.
Sumar, who recently shot a short film with other prominent filmmakers of both India and Pakistan called Zeal For Unity, said that the films that are made in Pakistan are “independent films, there are no studios there. The funds come from TV networks and the army”.
About the film industry in Pakistan, Ahmed said that “it’s just 4-5 years back that it started picking up”.
Watch Khalid Ahmad’s Firdous ki Dozakh here:
“During the era of Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq -- when entertainment taxes were introduced, strict laws based upon ultra-conservative jurisprudence -- was an obstacle to the industry’s growth in 1980, it became difficult to make movies and an industry collapsed. But it is the last three to four years the industry picked up, the tradition of what is called Lollywood, the tradition of filmmaking in Lahore has changed,” said Ahmed.
Sumar added that now the industry in Pakistan has become more confident, as they now make good money.
“We now have 40 working screens. The middle class is now coming up like crazy, there is a lot of cash in hand. There are a lot of people now who want entertainment. You can call it the take off point for the Pakistani film industry,” Sumar said.
The Jagran Film Festival, which kick-started on July 1 will screen over 400 films this year in 16 cities. The five-day Delhi leg of the festival ended on Tuesday.