According to feedback from the international South Asian audience that saw both films in the UAE. The only thing holding the Pakistani film back was the Marketing/ advertising budget and its limited distribution. A problem we need to address very urgently. Whose responsibility is it anyway?
Recently saw the much-hyped Bollywood film, the Yash Raj release ‘Sui Dhaaga’ by Sharat Katariya, in Dubai starring big names from the Indian film industry such as Anushka Sharma and Varun Dhawan. It was a beautiful watch, a romantic, family drama set in rural India which highlighted various issues related to economic & social empowerment of the rural masses against the exploitative capitalistic system of most third world countries where the urban elite takes advantage and steals from the helpless & uneducated poor. After the film was over, we, i.e.me and some of my Indian friends – all movie lovers who had also watched the Pakistani film ‘Load Wedding’ in Dubai with me earlier, could not help but compare ‘Sui Dhaaga’ with ‘Load Wedding’ to the advantage of the latter. Yes all of us Indians and Pakistanis alike unanimously agreed that the Pakistani film was a superior film compared to the Indian one.
Despite the fact that the Bollywood film ‘Sui Dhaaga’ was a lovely watch, Pakistan’s ‘Load Wedding’ by Fizza Ali Meerza & Nabeel Qureshi, which is also a romantic comedy, a family film set in rural Pakistan, was in every way a superior film. The story, the script, the pace at which the Pakistani film moves, the dialogues, the tight editing, the direction and the performances, the cinematography of the Pakistani film are all much better than the above mentioned Indian movie. This is very rare, as we are always mostly left wishing that our Pakistani films post the revival of our industry would match up in content, script, editing and other aspects to the new films coming out of India.
‘Load Wedding’ was exceptional and wowed Indians & Pakistanis alike on all fronts. The social reform messages built into its script & story so elegantly with great impact, are important for Pakistani & South Asian society in general. The challenges related to the rural eradication of polio campaigns to the society’s attitude towards the re-marriage of widows, the curse of the dowry system, the impact of reality TV and game shows on the innocent & gullible, rural audience and the exploitative nature of media houses and personalities for ratings.
The question remains why is a Pakistani film that is proving itself as a superior cinematic experience for all South Asians when compared to India’s own high-quality production, still suffering due to lack of proper awareness, lack of advertising and limited international distribution?
We were literally bombarded with the trailer of ‘Sui Dhaaga’ one month in advance across all screens in the UAE. The film was also much hyped in the press, on radio and the prominent posters and standees were plastered across cinemas in the UAE. Once released, the film was playing across all major cinemas in the UAE at convenient times.
In contrast ‘Load Wedding’ did not receive the above hype nor the massive distribution? How do we solve this problem? How do we get the international distributors to treat a superior film in a fair manner, making them realize that if given appropriate number of screens and good viewing timings on weekends and weekdays, the Pakistani film can perhaps outperform the Indian one? Are Marketing and advertising the film also the international distributor’s responsibility? If so how do we convince them to spend the same amount of money on cinema trailer advertising, posters, standees and other visibility in the press, on radio etc.. to the Pakistani movie that could produce as much revenue in the end as an Indian movie does?
I have answers to none of the above questions. I am sure someone does and they can address the problem soon. Our Pakistani industry is now beyond the revival stage and quality films from our new filmmakers will now start pouring out of our industry that is going to be comparable in every way (if not superior) to Indian films. A film is a piece of art that takes a lot of time, effort, creative work, cooperation and money to make. All that effort deserves a great return on the investment that producers and professionals engaged in the film’s production should benefit from. That all important return on investment is what will make our film industry grow. If we continue to be limited by low marketing budgets and limited distribution, we are unlikely to reach the potential size, growth and international influence that our filmmakers and other creative professionals involved in the industry are capable of.