In an interview to the IANS, the Moor director was forthright and open about how he sees Bollywood films and the impact that they have on the Pakistani film industry. Jamshed Mahmood Raza, also known as Jami, said that when Pakistan banned Bollywood films way back in the 1970s, it harmed their own film industry, rather than India’s.
“From 1971, when we banned (Indian films), our industry was destroyed, not the Indian industry,” he siad. Jami also elaborated as to how both India and Pakistan were two similar countries with the same language, culture and traditions. Hence, the cultural impact was nothing but natural for both countries.
“It’s very simple. We are cousins. We share the same language. We share the same songs. We had cinemas, but we were not making films. New cinemas came because of Bollywood. Once the cinemas started to emerge, the filmmakers were ready. We can’t make films if there’s no cinema to show it. Bollywood is still giving CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) to our industry,” he said.
Despite all, Jami was also hopeful that there were better times ahead for the Pakistani film industry, as more and more cinemas were cropping up across the country and several musicians had also made their way back into the mainstream, after years of oblivion.
“Actually what people don’t know about Pakistan is [that it’s] very interesting and that right now it’s exploding in every direction. We are sick and tired of terrorism. Everyone is getting over this religious thing now, slowly, slowly. So many bands are coming back, so many films are being made, so many cinema halls are coming up. There is definitely a change on cards,” said Jami.
Jami’s film Moor received rave reviews for being one of the best films from this year, is an issue-based film which got the nod for Pakistan’s nomination for the Oscar category. You’d think owing to the film’s popularity that it would be notching up impressive numbers at the box office. However, according to Jami, that is not quite so. “It’s slightly abstract for a Pakistani audience. Critically, it’s one of the best, but financially it’s probably the worst right now. The film was not for the masses and we had 11 am screen timings. I mean nobody would come on a weekday at 11 am. We were sidelined as an art film,” he said.
Moor was Jami’s second film, after Operation 021.