News Column

Pakistan at the Oscars [Nation (Pakistan)]

September 15, 2013

YellowBrix

Zinda Bhaag, a Pakistani movie nominated for the 86 Academy awards in the foreign film category has doubtless lit the hope that dark days for Pakistan's film industry might finally be coming to an end. The movie which is a part of a latest creative process that includes others movies such as, Chambeli, Lamha, Main Hoon Shahid Afridi and Josh, among others, is quite remarkable given the hurdles faced by the industry. Piracy is widespread, there is no governmental support the movie industry has yet to be declared as an industry and finally a general contempt for arts and culture is still prevalent.

A happy respite from the hackneyed themes involving love triangles, Gandaasa culture, and other unrealistic themes repeated out of sheer lack of original thinking, the movie Zinda Bhaag shows the way forward and in a lot of ways. Neither is there any heavy funding nor big names criteria erroneously thought to be perquisites for better movies. Nearly the entire cast, except veteran Naseerud Din Shah, are new; after already having won four awards in Toronto, the film seems to have a fair chance of bagging the Oscar.

The raw material for incredible movies is already there; there is no dearth of ideas, and directors from the Hollywood are looking to Pakistan for themes and subjects, as well as actors. We can see that the Oscar club isn't out of reach of our talented directors; Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy's documentary 'Saving Face' is a case in point.

In the age of cable and DVD when blockbusters and flicks from a whole variety of subjects are just a click away, Pakistan's directors, actors would have to have high ambitions to attract a big fan following. Directors who are not afraid to experiment can make their own place despite the stiff competition. Naturally, what the directors look for in return is fame and the actors' stardom, but ultimately they want their movies to do good business and generate revenue. There is a lot that needs to be done in order to catch up with Bollywood and Hollywood, but Pakistan's appearance at the Oscars for the second year in a row is a cause for much needed celebration. Kudos, team Zinda Bhaag!

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