Of Journalism

December 17, 2008

Pollywood and Vulgarity

Filed under: Uncategorized — fawadalishah @ 1:23 pm

Pashto filmmakers thriving on vulgarity rather than depicting culture

By Fawad Ali Shah

KARACHI: Despite the fact that Pashto films no more depict the Pakhtoon culture and many of the admirers have bid adieu to the cinema, yet cinema owners of Karachi claim that the films are the sole reason for the survival of the industry in the city. 

These films attract youngsters, who serve as a replacement of the old fans, but many critics opine that the Pashto filmmakers are now attracting the audience at the cost of Pakhtoon cultural norms and traditions.

Youngsters of the city are seen flocking to the cinemas whenever Pashto films are released. Moreover, cinema owners claim that the number of ‘Pollywood’ film viewers are second only to Indian film viewers in the city. However, critics attribute the increase in the number of viewers of pollywood films to the sensually attractive scenes and dances. They argue that cinema-lovers are not coming to watch films and Pakhtoon families that once loved to watch Pashto movies like Adam Khan and Dur Khanai on the big screen, are no more ready to come to cinemas.

Ismail Shah, 63, who runs a travel agency, claims that he had enjoyed watching all of the classical Pashto films on the big screen but now he does not want to go watch Pashto films. “The new generation has killed our culture and tradition,” Shah opined, with his face mirroring his utter displeasure. Shah, seated in his office in a wooden chair, gazes towards a picture of Badar Munir and the colour of his face changes. “There were times when Badar Munir ruled the industry and only traditional films were produced. However, nowadays Pashto films are only known for their vulgarity,” he claims. 

“Most of the people watch Pashto films on the big screen in order to get sexual satisfaction out of them,” he said. It is not possible for a family to come and watch such a film, he states. Riaz, whose mother tongue is not Pashto, is also a viewer of Pashto films.

“I like Pashto films because of the dances in them,” he says, with a sly smile forming on his lips.

Another landmark of Pashto films are the camera angles used to emphasize specific body parts. Pashto film producers and cameramen have learned the art of making a scene out of nothing, he said.

The fact that none of the obese woman, seen jumping around the fields on screen, can speak Pashto means nothing to the people, nor does the fact that the writers and financers of the Pashto movies are mostly from Lollywood. Javed Babar, an artist and producer of Pashto films and dramas, told this scribe that those financing Pashto films were from Lollywood and that they only serve financial purposes. “They only include vulgar scenes to attract viewers and increase revenue,” said Babar, expressing anger at the lack of investment in the industry by Pakhtoons. 

“Non-professionals in the industry have destroyed Pashto cinema for mere pennies. 

What they are depicting is simply not Pakhtoon culture. Pakhtoon women do not dance without covering their entire bodies and neither do they come out to the Hujras,” he states, clenching his fists in anger.

Gulzaar Alam, a senior singer, is also against the interference of Lollywood in the Pakhtoon films. He, too, touched upon the fact that the industry is being used to make a quick buck and also objected to the way the dances are choreographed. 

“The way different body parts are presented in these movies is horrific,” he said, adding that at some point in the movie, the camera is focused specifically on body parts in a way that will make anyone blush.

Ajab Gul, a senior producer and actor in today’s Pashto cinema when contacted offered no comments


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