Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Galaxy Lollywood.
If there is one thing that is evident from the success of ‘Baaji’, one of the more recently-released Lollywood films, it is that Pakistani audiences are finally embracing complex stories. The movie not only managed to enchant the critics, but also ended up being a hit among the audiences. The fact that as of yesterday the film was at 6.6 crores, despite being niche and not releasing on a festival weekend, it shows people are interested.
While the success of a drama like ‘Baaji’ is indeed an achievement for the Lollywood industry, we still need to work on a lot of things. It is a known fact that most of the Pakistani movies released in the recent years have revolved around two storylines: marriages and the armed forces. The term ‘Pakistani cinema revival’ is thrown around every now and then but the truth is, our cinema will only evolve if we look beyond the two aforementioned topics.
So here are a few things that I would change about Lollywood films:
No doubt that the Pakistani audience has a spot for romantic comedies, but filmmakers need to understand that in order to tap the wider audience, they need to try out different genres in Lollywood films. Some people might say that they’re restrained due to budget issues, but a good crime thriller doesn’t need billions of rupees. ‘Laal Kabootar’ is proof of that.
Lose the stereotypes
If Pakistani culture was really as our movies show it to be, then everyone belonging to Punjab would be loud and uneducated, and every Pathan would have killed at least one person in his life. We are showing our culture to the world in our movies. If we don’t lose the stereotypes first, how else do we expect others to have a positive opinion about us?
Strong female characters
It is 2019 and women in our movies are still doing what they have been doing for the last century: serve as a secondary character so that the male character can come and save them, or in other words, a damsel in distress. Last year, we saw incredible female characters in Zara and Zareen from ‘Cake’, and Zenith Irfan from ‘The Motorcycle Girl’. All the three women were heroes of their own stories and did not rely on a man to come and save them.
Say no to item numbers
This point may be controversial for some people, but it needs to be said. If we are talking about women empowerment, then we need to lose item numbers from our movies. There is nothing empowering about a woman dancing in front of hundreds of men – all while wearing skimpy clothes. They serve no purpose to the story.
Humor is something Pakistani industry has always struggled with, especially when making movies. Relying on sexual innuendos and double meaning jokes has been a hobby of a lot of our filmmakers. Clean humor for the whole family is very rare to see in our movies.
Diverse male characters
Male characters taking a backseat and giving female characters the spotlight might be something that a lot of our male characters might not be happy about, but there is nothing wrong with playing a sensitive, supporting yet equally important character. Adnan Malik in ‘Cake’ is proof of that. Although it is a story about two sisters, played by Amina Shaikh and Sanam Saeed, Adnan Malik’s character is very crucial to the story and we get to see how in the climax of the movie.
Our movies have started to look more and more like Bollywood movies. Art transcends boundaries, yes, but every movie industry is known for its distinct qualities and so far our film industry is affiliated with Bollywood. The grand sets, colorful clothes and lavish weddings are the elements of a Bollywood movie but they can be seen in a lot of Lollywood movies these days.
Do you also share the same thoughts?