It was nice to listen to actor Usman Pirzada’s thoughts in a discussion on a TV channel on Pakistan’s film industry, its past, present and future.
Usman raised some very valid points regarding technical backwardness in terms of equipment that our industry is faced with. He, without beating about the bush, praised Bollywood no end for its technical prowess and said technicians (editors, cameramen, etc.) hailing from South India in particular were doing a great job. UP inferred that Pakistan should have a niche film industry that might take it further.
While it’s hard to dispute his opinion, the problem is that on the very basic level of concept (storyline and plot) Pakistani film-makers — including the so-called better equipped music video and TV play directors — haven’t offered anything substantial or worthwhile. It all begins with the realisation that there’s a story to be told. Technical mastery is a later consideration. In an industry such as Hollywood where the average budget of a film exceeds 200m, a film like The Blair Witch Project is made on a shoe-string budget ($12,000) and does business worth millions. Let’s face it: we don’t have a story to tell. If we do, we don’t have storytellers to tell it.