If there is one Pakistani film director who doesn’t mince words, it’s got to be Jamshed Mehmood Raza aka Jami. The filmmaker, whose film Moor might make it to the final race for the Oscars, wholeheartedly admits that Bollywood films are providing a lifeline to the Pakistani film industry.
“It’s very simple. We are cousins. We share the same language. We share the same songs. We had cinemas, but we were not making films. New cinemas came because of Bollywood. Once the cinemas started to emerge, the filmmakers were ready. We can’t make films if there’s no cinema to show it. Bollywood is still giving CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) to our industry,” the director said in an interview with IANS.
Moor, which is Jami’s second film after O21, was recently screened at the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) in Goa.
‘Moor was sidelined as a film’
Although Moor received a lot of critical acclaim and was screened at various film festivals, Jami shared that the film was unable to rake in a lot of profit.
“It’s slightly abstract for a Pakistani audience. Critically, it’s one of the best, but financially it’s probably the worst right now. The film was not for the masses and we had 11 am screen timings. I mean nobody would come on a weekday at 11 am. We were sidelined as an art film,” he said.
Of Moor, Jami says: “It’s slightly abstract for a Pakistani audience. Critically, it’s one of the best, but financially it’s probably the worst right now”
But he joked that perhaps that as the reason why it was chosen as an entry for Academy Awards.
“Well, I mean if you look at all the Oscar entries, only Whiplash or some other film made money. It’s interesting, if you don’t make money, it is pretty much of a guarantee that you will make the Oscar entry,” Raza said.
“I have a very different story from Bollywood or Lollywood,” says Jami. “I was trained in an American film school. I loved Kubrick and in Pakistan not many people understood him,” he told.
‘Banning Indian films destroyed our film industry’
A fan of Aamir Khan, Jami doesn’t shy away from admitting that the ban put on Indian films in 1971 did more harm than good to the Pakistani film industry: “From 1971, when we banned (Indian films), our industry was destroyed, not the Indian industry.”
Nevertheless, Jami is hopeful as ever.
“Actually what people don’t know about Pakistan is [that it’s] very interesting and that right now it’s exploding in every direction. We are sick and tired of terrorism. Everyone is getting over this religious thing now, slowly, slowly. So many bands are coming back, so many films are being made, so many cinema halls are coming up. There is definitely a change on cards,” he added.
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