While Urdu may be our mother tongue, our country has numerous beautiful native languages. Each also has its own media content as well however it is usually Urdu that is in the mainstream. There was a time when Pashto and Punjabi cinema was also thriving and drew in crowds however they are no longer on the grid.
During our interview with the Pashto films superstar Arbaz Khan, we asked him the reason for the decline. He mentioned that now people only hail to the cinemas on Eid. On regular days we don’t see many people in cinemas. One problem that caused the cinemas to suffer was that families did not use to come to watch the movies.
He recalled the time when Pashto cinema was at its peak, at that time their movies screened in Peshawar, Kohat, Quetta, Mardan Karachi and also in Kabul. These movies managed to beat Hollywood and Bollywood movies and dominated the theaters there.
According to Arbaz while Bollywood movies have a great market all over Pakistan, KPK remains indifferent to these movies. They are not watched by audience there. The reason being that the locals have a bias, they prefer watching people who speak their native language.
Cinema culture needs to be developed like it has been in case of revived Urdu cinema, we were curious to know why in today’s day and age no such efforts were made. Why aren’t cinemas working out over there?
He placed the blame for the failure of cinemas in the region on unprecedented terrorism that has prevailed. While the security situation was weak, people still went out to watch film, however when there were bomb blasts in cinemas that sealed the faith for cinema’s future in KPK.