I have no love lost for Pakistan . Its monsterous army and ISI unleashed Mumbai and killed so many just to teach its civilian president Zardari a lesson against seeking peace with India just like her wife and former PM Benazir Bhutto. It was repeated by ISI in Pathankot after PM Modi visited Lahore , a grim reminder of reality to a perceived puppet PM Nawaz Sharif about his real power to change Indo Pak history of hostilities , which every sane leader and citizen wants on both sides of border.
Historically , due to religious bias , Pakistan never permitted equal access to our film artists . We welcomed Mehndi Hassan ,Gulam Ali , Nadia ( aap jaisa koi ),Rahat Fateh Ali Khan ,etc so openly and rightly . If Indians enjoyed Gulam Ali Gazals why not let them enjoy it even more in live performance . Indians gained by this traditional open policies . Madhuri’s famous song’ Mera Piya Ghar aayaa ‘ was based on a song of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan . Pakistani public too would have loved to see and hear Lata live or see Madhuri and Sri Devi dance on stage . Pakistani government denied its citizens a pleasure which was harmless . If it is capability based and not on Dawaoodian considerations , it is equally applicable to all artist irrespective of nationalities . After all, Indian IPL has so many foreign cricket players and not only no one minds it but they are paid huge money .
But Pakistani actor Rabi Pirzada has recently made a very profound statement which is not only valid for Pakistan but it has a global value for all countries .
She complained that every other Bollywood film is based on crime or criminal activity .Enjoying crime continuously is debasing Pakistani youth’s mind . As per him Pakistani films were social and spread value based morality . She is not only right about the effect of Pakistani films but also about Pakisatni TV dramas . During my posting in Africa in nineties , I had chance to see almost all major Pakistani serials . I have no qualms in admitting that in my whole life I have not seen or enjoyed a social serial better than Tanhaiyan or Dhoop Kinare . I wondered how Pakistani authors or script writers mastered the art of portraying simple human emotions so effectively and enjoyably . One reason could be that Delhi, Lucknow or UP from where most of the rich refugees went to Pakistan were the centre of art and culture in Moghul period . So they carried with them the simple art of story telling .
But a few Pakistani films I saw were so horrible that I could not watch them for more than half an hour . An exception was a recent Pakistani film ‘ bol’ which was remarkable for its sensitive portrayal of transgender problem . Similarly the Pakisatni film music too had no universal appeal and even legendary singer Noor Jahan kept singing songs of her bollywood days like ‘ Awaz do kahan ho ‘. Independent Pakistan could not produce any Naushad or Rafi or Sahir Ludhianvi . But its non filmi ghazal or qawali singers did keep the flame alive.
So Rabi Pirzada may not be right in glorifying Pakisatni films which are generally of poor quality . If a film entertains it will find an audience anywhere as ‘Bol ‘ or ‘ Titanic ‘did in India or Pakistan .
But where Rabi Pirzada is not only right but is almost like a philosopher or prophet ,is in asking why entertainment must be increasingly based on crime ?
Not only bolywood fims but Indian TV serials are the biggest culprit . Ekta Kapoor ‘ Sas Bahu ‘ serials have changed Indian families where the old parents are now feeling guilty in living with son and twice the number of men are committing suicide than women . The nation has got addicted to evil for entertainment . Light hearted but seriously educative serials are now a passé . Initially we had ‘Hum Log ‘ genre serials but we could not carry on due to lack of creativity . Pakisatni socially oriented serials to that extent carried on longer due to more creative people of that kind and appreciative audience .
It is also true for Hollywood . Now more and more movies are based on science and technology than simple human emotions or life .Exceptions like ‘ Titanic ‘ whose love story was as old as hills or Will Smith’s ‘ Persuit of Happiness’ are very few in number . Hollywood stopped making musicals in sixties which bollywood is still continuing . Possible it is also linked to rise of materialism . Excessive sentimentalism or emotionalism is also a trade mark of poverty sticken societies.
So all of us , irrespective of being in India or Pakistan ,have to seriously analyse why our entertainment has acquired an over dose of negativity . But Pakistan must also find out why its artistic creativity is poor in comparison . Just like ‘Gandhi ‘ was made by Richard Attenborough an Englishmen , an equally legendary ‘Mirza Ghalib ‘ serial was made by an Indian sikh refugee from Multan ie ‘ Gulzar’. The trauma of partition did not diminish his love for Urdu shairi or Ghalib and he was supported by entire bollywood irrespective of religious affiliations .
Love , security and religious freedom and tolerance are essential for creativity . Pakistan society should reflect on its direction as well as destination .