Stars feel film city more effective if in Lahore
* Say such an establishment will not be useful in Sheikhupura
* Five Indian films to be screened from first week of April, says minister
By Shoaib Ahmed
LAHORE: Pakistani film stars have received the government decision to establish a ‘film city’ near Sheikhupura warmly, but feel that such an enterprise would be useful if placed within Lahore – the hub of the Pakistani film industry.
Muhammad Ajmal Khan, the federal culture minister, told Daily Times that Chief Minister Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi had announced that land would be acquired for a film city near Sheikhupura. The ‘city’ would have a state-of-art training institute, studios and would assimilate all film related technology in one place, he said.
However, people from the film industry felt that the site was too far from them and it would be a better idea if the land was acquired in Lahore. “A film city here (Lahore) will be more appropriate as almost all of the film industry is concentrated in Lahore,” said leading film director Syed Noor.
“Technologically, the step will bring in much-needed expertise in film production and will go a long way in establishing our industry at par with those in our region,” said Noor.
Heroine Zara Shaikh said that the step would “inject much-needed life in the cinema” and would secure the future of the industry. “But by establishing the film city in Lahore, our technicians and directors will have access to better production facilities, and will be able to compete with the regional industry,” she said.
Film heroine Laila also welcomed the step. “After the introduction of the film city, we will no longer be considered inferior to Indian cinema and Pakistan will be able to produce more films,” she said.
The minister said that in order to introduce latest film technology in Pakistan, it was important for private and government sectors to work together. He said that the ministry was considering sending experts to India to learn how their film institutes worked, so that similar institutes could be set up in the film city.
He said that earlier this month, a meeting had been held in Islamabad between key film industry figures and government officials. “The screening of Indian movies was discussed at the meeting,” he said.
He said that the government had “in principle” agreed to screen Indian movies in Pakistan and it was expected that five Indian films would be screened in the first week of April.
He said that the final decision to screen Indian films would be made by the prime minister. “He (the prime minister) will be briefed on the issue at the end of this month,” said the minister.
To a question, he said that the film industry was in a crisis, but the government was determined to revive cinema in Pakistan by adopting measures to strengthen the industry. He said that certain film people had asked for loans to produce films and the government was considering the demand.