This year hasn’t exactly been great for Pakistani movies up until now, maybe because of the quid pro quo ban on Indian movies which our cinemas seemingly lurched into without realising the footfall death which would occur or the lacklustre response to the content being churned out. Its also been bad timing in some cases and in others technical problems which have plagued our movie making prowess but sadly most of the time it comes down to the script. Having been part of a screen writing initiative called “Qalambaaz” spearheaded by Iram Parveen Bilal – an award winning filmmaker from Pakistan, I have in the last three years been privileged to read quite a few very decent scripts coming out of the upcoming script writers of Pakistan but sadly it seems like nobody is willing to give the young guns a chance when it comes to movie making time. Why is it that we fail to take simple yet powerful stories and tell them through this medium is something we need to seriously look at, as this industry has the capacity to not just become much bigger then it is but represent us worldwide in a light we would like to see. Also, for a lot of us movie watchers, the consumers having to suffer through commercialism and branding in the name of cinema, would like to know how far are we supposed to keep shelling out ticket money in the name of supporting Pakistani cinema when all it has to offer is triviality? Does the fault lie in the fact that investors are so few in number that all they would like to do is play it safe and go for commercial masala movies which they or their brand managers think may give the quickest return? Don’t get me wrong I am not saying we are incapable of producing good movies at all, neither am I claiming that no good movie has come out of this country in the recent years. They have but the ones that stand out seem to be few and far between the releases we are suffering through day after day. Does the fault lie in the fact that investors in filmmaking are so few in number that all they would like to do is play it safe and go for commercial masala movies which they or their brand managers think may give the quickest return, or that our audience doesn’t seem to have the intellectual capacity to see movies made on scripts which challenge watchers to think and introspect? Or the fact that there is no process of taking script doctors on board and having a second set of eyes look over what one has written. The intellectual part cannot be true when movies made in Hollywood or Bollywood on socially relevant and alternate topics are doing well in the same cinemas in Pakistan can it? Or is the screen time given to our Pakistani movies so low in number that they don’t have a prayer of doing well at all no matter what topic they are made on? Perhaps the fault lies in our approach as well where most movies look either like cheap copies of whatever fare the director has been exposed to or tele dramas shot and adapted for the bigger screen. I mean its not like we have proper infrastructure for training talent or distinguishing smaller screen talent from the big screen here as well. Slim pickings don’t really make for a tasty dish do they no matter where the kitchen and the rat race to keep churning out movies in the hope of finding a unicorn doesn’t help either. Whatever may be the case I think we are currently standing yet again at a crossroads in our film industry where if projects continue to fail we may slide back into the pre revival era again rather then move forward? In all fairness we cannot expect the viewing public to keep showing up when they are being let down again and again especially in a country with no shortage of let downs in day-to-day life. The writer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Published in Daily Times, July 24th 2017.