Pakistani films are funded by the army for image building: Khalid Ahmad

New Delhi, July 5 (IANS) Veteran Pakistani actor-director Khalid Ahmed on Tuesday revealed that many films which are made in Pakistan are funded by their army for their own image-building.

Present here for the seventh Jagran Film Festival, the filmmaker was here to hold a discussion on “Our Cinema, Their Cinema” along with Indian filmmaker Anand L. Rai, filmmaker and politician Raja Bundela and Pakistani filmmaker Shahbaz Sumar.

Ahmed said that the Pakistani army funds a host of movies across the border, in what can also be called an “image building exercise”.

Sumar, who recently shot a short film with other prominent filmmakers of both India and Pakistan called Zeal For Unity, said that the films that are made in Pakistan are “independent films, there are no studios there. The funds come from TV networks and the army”.

About the film industry in Pakistan, Ahmed said that its just 4-5 years back that it started picking up.

“During the era of Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq – when entertainment taxes were introduced, strict laws based upon ultra-conservative jurisprudence – was an obstacle to the industry’s growth in 1980, it becasme difficult to make movies and an industry collapsed. But its the last three to four years the industry picked up, the tradition of what is called Lollywood, the tradition of filmmaking in Lahore has changed,” said Ahmed, who is uncle of Indian filmmaker Imtiaz Ali.

Sumar added that now the industry in Pakistan has become more confident, as they now make good money.

“We now have 40 working screens. The middle class is now coming up like crazy, there is a lot of cash in hand. There are lot of people now who want entertainment. This is you can call the take off point for the Pakistani film industry,” Sumar said.

The seventh edition of the Jagran Film Festival, which kick-started on July 1 will screen over 400 films this year in 16 cities. The five-day Delhi leg of the festival ended on Tuesday.



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