Peshawar cinemas screening World Cup to bring back the crowds
By Zakir Hassnain
PESHAWAR: A cinema house in the Frontier capital screened the Pak-Australia World Cup match on Tuesday to attract viewers lost to cable TV.
Capital Cinema on Arbab Road here will continue screening all World Cup matches instead of Pakistani and English films to try and drum up business. “It’s an effort to bring back lost viewers, especially those who never had a chance to watch a movie in the cinema, and there are a large number of such people,” said Khalid Saeed, the owner of Capital Cinema.
“Most people stopped going to cinemas around 20 years ago. I want them to become cinema goers once again,” Mr Saeed told Daily Times during the match. The cinema business is passing through a lean patch these days.
“It is getting worse with the passage of each day,” a worried cinema owner said, adding the departure of a large number of Afghan refugees from the NWFP had further harmed the cinema industry. The main idea behind the move is to lure the educated class. “My special target is the educated youth. I want them to come and enjoy the big screen. This will also dispel the impression that cinema houses only screen obscene movies,” he said.
The decision to show matches instead of films is aimed at providing healthy entertainment.
“The MMA government should help in such ventures because it is in line with its policy aims and objectives,” said a friend of Mr Saeed, sitting by his side and sipping tea. The cinema hall sounded more like a cricket stadium while the match was being shown, the fans cheering wildly when Australia lost early wickets. However, only a handful of viewers, mostly youngsters, were present. Those that were present did seem to be enjoying themselves though. “I’m thrilled to watch the match on such a huge screen. It is a treat,” said Jawad Akhtar, one such viewer.
Syed Asif, another young viewer, said it was a different experience from watching cricket on TV. He said if Pakistan won he would try and watch all its matches in the cinema. In the next few days, the cinema owners will find out whether their decision to show World Cup matches has been worth it financially or not.