LAHORE: Unfortunate as it may be, Lahore will not be seeing the release of any Punjabi films on Eidul Fitr this year, despite having been the hub of Punjabi films at one point in time. Last year saw just two films come out, namely Haidar Gujjar and Chan Choudhary, but cinemas across the city are planning to make do with old films this time around.
It must be noted that prior to this, Eidul Fitr has been a premium occasion for the industry to release new films. Up until recent times, producers would be vying to release the films around Eid time and there would be up to seven or eight films competing for the top spots every year. In 2015, there were three Punjabi films that saw the light of day, including Razia Gundon Main Phans Gai, Sami Rawal and Sohna Gujjar while 2014 had Ishq Dil Gali and Eho Kurri Lani to offer.
Unfortunately, none of these managed to do as well at the box office as was expected. Most Punjabi films released over the last few years have failed to generate much footfall in the theatres, thereby discouraging producers from wanting to invest in other films. Besides, most cinemas have switched to screening more mainstream Urdu films such as Yalghaar and Mehrunissa V Lub U, both of which are slated to release this Eid.
“There was a time when Punjabi films were ruling over the Pakistani film industry. There used to be a line of Punjabi films, some of them which would even be copied by Indian film-makers,” director Altaf Hussain told The Express Tribune. “But back then, we were producing good quality films and had talented actors to work with. When the quality of our films declined, viewers naturally rejected them and now, we don’t have a single Punjabi film releasing on Eid.”
A small ray of hope is that some popular Punjabi film-makers like Hassan Askari, Iqbal Kashmiri, Altaf Hussain, Pervaiz Kaleem and Sangeeta have been working on some projects but were reportedly unable to release them this Eidul Fitr. “There is still some demand for Punjabi films but it’s sad that on an occasion like Eid, there will be no new one to look forward to,” said director Kaleem. “Back in the day, cinemas in areas such as Lakshmi Chowk and old Lahore used to be decorated and there would be a variety of films to choose from. If you ask me, the only ones to blame for the downfall of Punjabi cinema are those who introduced Kalashnikovs to films as that culture is still going strong.”
Nonetheless, film-maker Iqbal Kashmiri remains hopeful about a revival in the industry. “I believe now is the time to turn things around. Hopefully, we will have some Punjabi films releasing next year,” he said. “Things are changing, albeit slowly. Many of us have been contemplating producing again. We’ve taken notice of the current state of the industry and are working to make it better. I know Punjabi films can be great again.”
Have something to add to the story? Share it in the comments below.
The post No Punjabi films to see light of day this Eidul Fitr appeared first on The Express Tribune.