Ever since its inception, Pakistani cinema has mostly been known for movies in the action, romance, and comedy genre. Be it classics like Maula Jutt and Churiyan, or post-revival films like Jawani Phir Nahi Ani to the very recent release SherDil, our movies are packed with either action, romance, or humor. The quality of movies made in these genres may vary, but the base remains the same. And as the overall quality of our films increase by leaps and bounds with time, the genres have remained blandly unchanged. Honestly, it is high time our producers and directors do something about it.
Variety is the flavor of life.
Our industry has some of the greatest writers and actors, but what we need to realize is that no matter how good a movie’s story line, direction or cast is, if the movies being made consistently belong to only one genre, the audience is bound to lose their interest. Too much of anything is never a good sign.
Compared to the film industry, Pakistan’s television industry has immensely improved not only due to the quality, but due to the versatility in content that it produces. The content being aired nowadays belongs to various genres from pure romance to comedy, even playing with unconventional genres such from horror and suspense. With dramas like Do Bol, Bandish, Inkaar, Cheekh, Ranjha Ranjha Kardi, Romeo Weds Heer, all being aired in one week, the TV audience has a versatile content to choose from.
Pakistani cinema needs to target the youngsters
Yes, it is true that our film industry has recently started venturing into animation, and the success of movies like Donkey King, 3 Bahadur, Allahyar and the Legend of Markhor prove that the venture has been very successful, we cannot deny that it is not enough for today’s audience, specifically the youngsters. A large part of our audience consists of youngsters, and it’s about time we create content that targets that demographic.
The fact that it took release of Hollywood movies like Captain Marvel to increase the footfalls in the cinema after the Bollywood ban, means that our audience craves a well-made PG-13 movie. The insane amount of pre-bookings for Avengers: Endgame only give more evidence to this statement. Hollywood movies continue to bring in more audience to the cinema than most of our local Pakistani releases all because they target demographic largely ignored by the Pakistani movie makers.
Experimentation in genres is a must
When was the last time we watched a well-made Pakistani horror film? A sci-fi? A fantasy? A crime? Mystery? Thriller? While there are some movies that do tick these genres, none of them have made any impact. Consequently, there are so many other genres that I can list here but no movies have been made that fall in those genres.
The kind of critical and commercial success that movies like Laal Kabootar and Cake have garnered, both movies which went against the conventional rom-com, action genre movies, means that audience is ready for good content in different genres. The conventional massy, festival entertainers might bring in more numbers but it is human nature to become bored of the mundane routine. And watching films revolving around the same kind of story line, with the tried and tested beats, and predictable twists would eventually bore the audience.
Let this be a wake up call to our film producers and writers. If we do want to succeed in the cinema industry internationally, it’s high time that we broaden our horizons and start experimenting with diverse genres more efficiently. It is not enough to just make one off-beat film and take a rest. The movie makers need to learn from the failures and continue making more movies instead of falling back to safe formulas.
We have some of the most talented actors in the world, all we need is to utilize them as per their potential. Imagine Fawad Khan in a period drama, or Hamza Ali Abbasi in a sci-fi mystery; or Mahira Khan and Maya Ali teaming up to take the bad guys town total Charlie’s Angels style. The possibilities are endless; all the movie makers need to do is to take them.