Investment; and not just creativity and technicality, has now become the dire need for a film industry to survive in this age of ‘Global village’. This dosen’t just go for the commercial cinema, for an art film too, money is as important as it is for other genres. Where the fine quality of imagination and complete hold on the subject and overall procedure is required, a good investment helps that imaginative composure to turn into reality. This is as if constructing Taj Mahal, the finer you want to build it, the more resources you will need.
The present unfavorable economic circumstances of the country have deeply affected this important source of entertainment. Moreover, the cost of production has increased many folds. At the moment, filmmakers are avoiding investing in the movies as they don’t believe their money would be recovered back.
Cameras and the raw films are to be imported along with other crucial filmmaking equipment, and with Dollar ascending day by day, the bills get higher too. The chemical used for making film positives, lab equipment, sound mixing, modern editing units, projectors, stereo sound systems, outdoor shoots, and many other expenses also require millions of rupees in totality. And don’t forget the film marketing here.
With no support from government or corporate sector, the filmmaker himself is the sole source of finance for his project currently. What better can be done?
Sponsors from corporate sector:
Looking at our thriving television or drama industry, we see an unparalleled support from corporate sector almost in every aspect. At times we even see them directly involved in the production, as is in the case of Olper’s Tanhaiyan – Ek Naye Silsiley, Omore’s Annie ki Ayegi Barat and most famous of all, Coca Cola’s Coke Studio or even Coke Kahani.
On the other hand, the film industry thirsts for corporate sector’s financial rescue, but there seems to be no one to quench it. Of course, the bigger quotient of blame is on the local filmmakers, as they have failed greatly in the image building of the industry. The directors, producers, actors and its other stakeholders are ambassadors of the local film industry, and they have surely failed in their job.
Why Shoaib Mansoor gets the support of corporate sector and NGOs for his films and the other filmmakers don’t, there isn’t any conspiracy in this, instead, it is sheer intelligence by Mansoor and utter failure of other filmmakers in convincing the corporate sector to invest in their project. The conventional filmmakers instead of adopting the present age demands for filmmaking; come on TV and still shamelessly defend whatever rubbish they have been creating for now more than past two decades. The mettle has now to be proven though quality work and not just the number of formulae films you have made. The mindset needs to be changed.
There is something in corporate sector called ‘product life cycle’, it starts from the introduction of the product in market, reaches its heights of sales called the point of ‘maturity’, and then it declines. The business invests heavily on the marketing and overall production of the product when it is introduced in the market and is in its growing stages, contrary to that, when the sales of the product declines, the business withdraws it and replaces it with a new one. The life cycle of ‘Gujjar and Gandasa film’ has reached its decline stage and the brand overall needs to be replaced with something new, corporate sector can do it for the industry, only if our filmmakers understand the cycle too.
Filmmaking by TV/drama production houses:
Although film is completely a different ball game with its own separate requirements, but the similarities between Television and Film industry aren’t any less either. Our drama production houses aren’t only known for making some of the highest budgeted productions in the country, but they also maintain pretty good ties with the corporate sector. The recent times have seen progress in this aspect with Humayun Saeed and other big television production houses announcing their films, but the trend needs to spread-up more. People there are known for high professional standards and quality work, which is exactly what we need in film industry.
Collaboration with TV Channels:
To Pakistan’s economy TV channel is one of the fastest growing industries. We have seen the impact of it on our film industry too, but to a very small extent. Geo, ARY, and Aaj have in past collaborated with some of the biggest films produced locally, but the collaboration mainly remained isolated to the promotional aspects of the film. Not only the diameter of these collaborations needs to be stretched, but also the continuous improvements are to be made in the marketing strategies of these channels.
One biggest flaw in the common marketing strategy of these ‘private channel headed distribution houses’ is that the film promotion gets restricted to just one channel that heads the particular distribution house, while the others refrain from even promoting the film slightly on their channels. This just can’t go on like this in future. The best thing would be to make these distribution houses independent from the channels, GEO or ARY films must not have the identity of their respective channels, instead, just the investment would play the enough part.
The TV industry overall has a bigger role to play, for now we can just hope and pray that people who matter most realise this need soon.
Article is a collaborated effort of: Husne Takhleeq and Aayan Mirza