Film industry divisions surface
The meeting of 19-member film industry delegation with the Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz was highly successful in that the government has shown its resolve to help revive the declining industry. The delegates held a press conference at Plaza Cinema on Wednesday to express their gratitude to the government for its cooperation. The event, however, showed that there are deep divisions in the film industry.
Chairman Pakistan Film Producers Association Mian Amjad Farzand flanked by Ghulam Mohyuddin, Reema, Resham, Mubasher Lucman, Aslam Dar, Kh Pervaiz, Shan, Saud and Jehanzeb Baig briefed the press about the meeting with PM. Shahzad Gul was also present. From time to time these film personalities spoke about the dissenters in the film industry. The film exhibitors are reportedly not happy after the meeting as the PM had flatly refused to consider their demand to allow exhibition of Indian films. Jehanzeb, who is also the owner of Plaza Cinema, was the only exhibitor present.
Super star Shan, who was not part of the delegation, dominated the proceedings with his straight talk and reservations about the plan to revive the film industry. He stressed on creating a second line of people in the industry. "We must secure the future. What is the use of bringing in new equipment or upgrading the studios when you do not have the skilled people to use them. India did this many years ago. We too should send our people abroad for training.
"We must send at least 15 people for training to India. If we will not do this India will continue to take away our best acting talent and bring down our industry. We have to clear our vision first that is what we have do and what should be the priorities," he said.
Shan said that a number of people in the industry were angry on being ignored by Mian Amjad. "I am ready to build bridges and arrange meeting with them. We must be united in the task of rebuilding the industry," he said. Mian Amjad accepted his offer to play the role of a mediator. Ghulam Mohyuddin sharing his views had said that those who did not want to join them in the task of industry revival could do whatever they wanted to do.
He said that he was ready to make six movies with Shan as hero provided he came to shootings on time. Shan accepted the offer and said he would act in only his films in 2006.
Kh Pervaiz had remarked that Shan was too busy to meet the prime minister. Shan later talking about it said that he has been in the industry for 15 years. "My family has also contributed a lot to this industry. You feel hurt when you are left out," Shan said.
Earlier Amjad speaking about the meeting said that GST and all taxes on import of equipment would be waived. "Only five percent custom duty will be imposed," he said.
A source said that last year only 35 Punjabi and Urdu films were made in Lollywood whereas 45 Pushto films were produced. Pushto film personalities including producer Gul Akbar Afridi were not invited to become part of the delegation or join the team for revival of industry. Chairman Movie Artistes Association of Pakistan Yousaf Khan, producers led by Sohail Butt, noted film directors Syed Noor and Altaf Hussain, actress Saima and Babar Ali are also not part of Mian Amjad's team.