Entertainment has special importance in human life as it protects a person from mental and physical stress, but the opportunities for healthy recreational activities in Pakistan are very limited and in the rush of life, people cannot focus on recreational activities.
While the coronavirus virus has badly affected many lives in Pakistan, the cinema industry is also one of those that have been severely affected by the deadly virus. In this regard, we discussed the role of the cinema industry in entertainment and economic stability in Pakistan with Nadeem Mandviwalla, the owner of Atrium Cinemas.
MM News: What is the role of Pakistani cinema industry in providing entertainment?
Nadeem Mandviwalla: The role of the cinema industry is very important in Pakistan as well as all over the world, but due to unbalanced policies in the country, the cinema industry has been facing severe difficulties.
In the last 12 years, the cinema industry has developed tremendously across the country and played its full role in providing quality entertainment to the people.
MM News: How much damage has the coronavirus caused the cinema industry?
Nadeem Mandviwalla: The coronavirus caused misfortunes to people around the world, but the cinema industry had to bear the brunt of the epidemic. Films are now being released, but the 15-month deficit is yet to be determined. Not immediately possible. The cinema industry has suffered a lot compared to other parts of the world.
MM News: How have the living conditions of cinema owners and employees been impacted during the shutdown?
Nadeem Mandviwalla: The closure of cinemas due to coronavirus caused severe financial loss to the owners, due to which the owners paid the employees for some time but the closure was prolonged and some people lost their jobs due to lack of business. I tried to control the situation by retaining the necessary staff and now after the opening of the cinema, some of the people who were laid off will be called back, which will also restore employment.
MM News: Has the ban on Indian films in Pakistan affected the cinema industry?
Nadeem Mandviwalla: When Indian films were banned in February 2019, the cinema industry suffered a lot that year and caused a severe blow to the cinema industry. However, there is an arrangement under which films are released and become an accessory of the cinema but due to the COVID closure, there is no alternative, and this time, cinema industry has been hit hard.
Due to this sudden decision, the attendance was reduced by 50% or 70% as Pakistani and English films had their own sequence. In 2018, the cinema industry saw a great time and the result was to come out in 2020. Due to the virus in 2019, the loss was huge. 80 to 90 films used to come from India annually and due to the ban, this series was stopped, which caused a lot of difficulties to the cinema industry. Now Pakistani movies have to increase their production.
MM News: Can Pakistani films compete with Indian films?
Nadeem Mandviwalla: As far as Pakistan is concerned, there has been a lot of competition between Pakistani and Indian films, and Pakistani films have done many times more business if compared to Indian movies because Pakistani films can be widely promoted in the country.
However, it is impossible to compete in Indian films as there is no competition between Pakistani and Indian films on the international level as there is no competition between Indian and Pakistani actors globally. Indian actors are famous all over the world, on the other hand, a few know Pakistani artists.
MM News: What is the harm of coming to the internet with cinema after the release of a new film?
Nadeem Mandviwalla: Many movies have been released on online streaming services in the last few months due to coronavirus and some companies have decided for this year that the film will now be released on OTT platforms on the same day of its release in cinemas.
This act will indeed make a difference in cinemas’ earning but we have an idea that for those who have made films during the closure of the cinema, the money that the filmmaker has invested in the film had to recover the release of films online streaming is a temporary solution.
MM News: Can cinema return to its original state after the current changes?
Nadeem Mandviwalla: Cinema has its own importance and uniqueness. We hope that in the year 2022, the colors of cinema will be restored along with the routine of life.
MM News: What is the reason for the lack of cinemas and other entertainment opportunities in Pakistan?
Nadeem Mandviwalla: The reason for the lack of cinema and other entertainment opportunities in Pakistan is that the policy for cinema in Pakistan has been very restricted for the last 25 years while VCR, DVD, and other platforms have been introduced all over the world but the interesting part is that these things are still unstable in Pakistan today.
The same thing that the cinema spends millions or crores of rupees on can be stolen and shown all over the country for which no license, censorship, or law applies. When you allow these things to have all the rules and regulations apply to the one thing I’m selling and on the other hand, you allow another platform that you don’t need the rules. It hurts.
As far as cinema is concerned, one has to get a regular license for cinema and this license can bring movies under restrictions but sadly there is no restriction in the country.
The same thing that the cinema spends worth billions on movies that are easily pirated and shown all over the country under no license, or censorship. When regulating authorities allow such tactics and set no rules and regulations on it then it will severely affect the cinema industry.
MM News: Is cinema business protected in Pakistan?
Nadeem Mandviwalla: The cinema industry has been in decline for the past 25 years. From 1980 to 2000, the cinema industry went into decline and at one time the industry went into a severe deficit. It was not possible and by now the name of the cinema would have been erased. The government should create a system in which business is protected.
MM News: What is the difference between the cinema of Pakistan and the rest of the world?
Nadeem Mandviwalla: The cinema industry in Pakistan has undergone tremendous changes in the last 12 years and today Pakistani cinema is not behind any other country in the world, when you watch cinemas abroad and watch today’s Pakistani cinema, you don’t see the difference between them because today Pakistani cinema has all the facilities available in the world.