August Issue 2008
The Rise and Fall of Lollywood
On July 13, a screening of Adnan Malik’s feature-length documentary, Bhooli Hui Hoon Daastan, was held at The Second Floor. Young adults and older audience members, as well as a few media correspondents, occupied every inch of space in the cosy cafÃ©.
The documentary explores the rise and fall of the Lollywood film industry from its past days of successful indigenous productions to the creative scarcity it faces at present. Adnan Malik reached out to a remarkable range of voices in the industry, including directors, producers, crew members, actors, extras and cinema-goers. For example, actor Shaan commented on how the demands of commercial film-making stifle any creative input he may have, while a group of female extras talked about being looked down upon. The interviews also lend a fresh and varied perspective on several other issues pertaining to the Pakistani film industry, such as competition with the Bollywood market and stringent censorship laws.
The reasons behind the stagnant cinema culture were also investigated in depth, revealing an array of factors, including the shutting down of cinemas and expenses faced both by film-makers and the average cinema-goer. The documentary questioned how and whether at all a revival is possible given the lack of regular audiences and short supply of worthy films. In doing so, Malik probed into the exhausted stereotypes and brain-numbing sex and violence that characterise current Lollywood films. Interestingly, Lollywood is compared to the Pashto film industry, where the market is well established and films consistently popular.
A brief intermission gave the audience a chance to grab some refreshments. The second half of the screening was then followed by a lively Q&A session with Adnan Malik, director Saqib Malik and KaraFilm festival director Hasan Zaidi. The discussion revolved around how to get Pakistani films more recognition abroad and the current efforts to salvage the industry, such as the appearance of media studies and production courses in local educational institutions. The three shed light upon their upcoming projects as well as the industry’s deficiency in crucial filmmaking elements such as good scripts, technical expertise and financial instituitions that can fund films, as done abroad.
The evening proved to be enjoyable and thought-provoking for all who attended. The Second Floor was left buzzing long after the end of the Q&A session as everyone mingled informally and continued to debate the fate of Lollywood.