Lets look at a few interesting facts about our Cinema Industry:
- Out of 1100 cinemas that existed in Pakistan before 1975, only 160 remain active at present.
- The remaining 940 have been demolished.
- A first run film is only released in 15 to 20 cinemas.
- A total of 200 distributors were active before 1975 at present there are not more then 10.
- Before 1975 there were more then 100 producers in the country actively producing Urdu, Punjabi and Pashto films.
- At present there are barely 20 producers producing movies in Punjabi and Pushto only.
We can’t even begin to compare these stats with those of Bollywood, French, American or the Japanese film industry. Since 1896 when the first motion picture theater was established in Vitascope Hall, New Orleans the motion picture industry of the world and the cinema has come a long way with films averaging multi billion dollars in revenues annually. Our film industry pales in comparison to the size and grandeur of the films around the world...
There was a time before President Bhutto when our cinema was in full plume, what was the reason for its decline? Lets refer to an industry veteran Nadeem Mandviwalla owner of Nishat cinema and CEO of Mandviwalla Entertainment to shed some light on the matter:
Thus the unregulated introduction of the VCR, blatant apathy of the governments to regulate the industry (Piracy) and lack
of support are the reasons why our films are limited to Punjabi actors who are still alive after being shot a 100 times!
First off, lets be wary of the fact that a movie house a.k.a cinema is spoken of synonymously with films around the world.
A cinema house is the place where a motion picture is screened, or at least should be screened (pun intended). Hence the
revival of the film industry means the same as the revival of our cinema. In this brandsynario special coverage we will
be talking about the exact mechanics of Piracy taking place in Pakistan, what it is doing to our cinema and our image abroad
and what can be done to stop it.
Now, what is piracy of a film? Simply put it is a theft of a viewing pleasure, a film made of a fortune (most popular film
these days generally are of that magnitude) with the aim of delighting people, providing some entertainment value and charging
a premium for that viewing pleasure. I pirate profits on the hard work of the film maker. And not just the filmmaker, there
are other supporting industries involved, there are animators, actors, hi-tech production houses, musicians, then there
are investors, international rights, advertisers, marketers and sooo many other businesses that the industry caters to not
to mention thousands of jobs that depend on this industry that are affected directly by piracy.
The most prevalent way this crime occurs is through smugglers not only bringing in telesync quality film screenings from
abroad but in some cases ripping of stolen master prints. Since high speed internet is limited to a few urban areas, piracy
through downloading is not a great threat at present but even so Pakistani consumers watch all of their films for free,
or at most at the cost of a DVD!? There aren’t many places on earth where films can we viewed
entirely for free. Since our own cinema has never progressed we have never understood the importance of films and the dynamics
of show biz.
Let’s talk to a retailer who has worked in Rainbow center for 5 years and who agreed to tell us the mechanics of this business
The Piracy Industry - Part 1 from Brandsynario
Most of you will already know these things, please try to appreciate the significance of this act, cinema doesn’t just create
jobs as explained earlier, it’s a complete art form which gives a country its identity. These days we talk a lot about how
we ignore our culture… well making good films, resisting pirated films and supporting existing ones rather then criticizing
them for a religious or any other issue seems like a good start!? It’s a shame that quite a number of films made by Pakistani
directors never saw the light of a local cinema house. Blood of Hussain & Jinnah of Jamil Dhelvi, Rath chaley hai jhoom
kay of Hassan Zaidi, Kashf of Ayesha Khan are prominent examples.
Having established a root cause for piracy lets explore how other supporting mediums have propped up to facilitate illegal
films. Yes, we are talking about the emergence of Cable Tv and Compact Disk plants setup especially for pirated films.
Now what is the purpose of the booming business of compact disc manufacturers lets ask our contact from Rainbow center Karachi
The Piracy Industry - Part 3 from Brandsynario
Before CDs became the medium for watching films it was the video cassette and the VCR which was catering to the piracy industry.
The arrival of a cheaper and more effective medium have fueled the industry further.
Then came the ultimate medium powered by enlightened moderation and freedom of the press. Not 12 years ago foreign channels
were ridiculously limited to those who could afford a satellite dish, all of that changed when cable television came to
Pakistan. Almost 90% of the tv viewership now enjoys cable tv specially those who have the patience to wait for a few days
more to watch the latest movie. Cable television has enabled a system where by pirated movies can be aired to a very large
audience. Do you honestly think that movies brought to you by the cable tv providers (this also includes the regulated ones)
are original? Hardly.
Having understood the different mediums which cater to the piracy issue in our country lets talk about the consumers the
actual drivers of and the real culprits behind the demand for pirated films. Why do we watch pirated films? Do we know the
impact of piracy?
Obviously we don’t know anything about the impact of our viewing habbits, the government is for the people, if the people
demand pirated films, how can the government prioritize its demise, if the people do not understand its disastrous impact
on our cinema how can the government understand its impact. If no one in a country understands that theft is a crime it
will always be treated with apathy and a norm.
The Piracy Industry - Part 2 from Brandsynario
To catch Nadeem Mandviwalla’s complete interview click on this link