In a recent episode of Ahmad Ali Butt’s Sorry Podcastrenowned Pakistani actor and writer Vasay Chaudhry delved into various aspects of the film industry, sharing his views on the similarities between Pakistani and Indian films, his criticism of certain award shows and his reservations about inviting bloggers to preview films.
Vasay began by highlighting the historical connection between the Pakistani and Indian film industries, stressing that both emerged from the shared history of a united India in 1947. According to him, Pakistani films do not copy Bollywood but are rather an extension of Indian cinema, as both cultures share common elements.
“The Pakistani film industry was that,” he shared. “We were the extension of India in 1947, right? There was a common India from which Pakistan emerged. The people were the same. This style is seen in the 1948 film, Terry Yard, which was Pakistan’s first film. Now, there was a hiatus from 2006/2005 onwards for a couple of years, so people thought this was exclusively the Indian style, but it wasn’t.”
He continued, “This is also the style of Pakistani films. Waheed Murad Sahabmay God give him a place in heaven, or Nadeem Sahab, when they sang songs on mountains or around trees, they didn’t copy Indians, that was our style too. What was that; That was our culture. This is our culture. It was very foolish to say that the Indian style was copied.’
Expressing his views on awards and item numbers, Vasay criticized several concepts. “I don’t think tracks should be in movies,” he said. When Ahmad pointed out that the term ‘item number’ was not of Pakistani origin, Vasai said: “Indians started calling it ‘item’, we got it because we don’t have time to give it another word. We also use to cook dishes . We want to do the ‘viewer’s choice’ award which is a cooked dish from India. We said we’ll use that too.”
Talking about songs in Pakistani cinema, Vasai said, “Songs have always been in our films in such a way. Sometimes, a vamp would sing. Sometimes, there would be a random song. It was always a part of your film culture, but if not you like it now, that’s a separate issue.” Reiterating that he believes it “shouldn’t be a thing,” Vasai said, “We can do without it. Likewise, I think overexposure to movies shouldn’t be a thing. We can do without it. Sometimes, they add a kiss randomly. If the purpose is accomplished by a high one, why add a kiss to the impression?”
The conversation took an interesting turn as Vasay expressed his reservations about inviting bloggers to preview movies. He questioned the benefit to creators, pointing out that bloggers often watch these views for free and, despite enjoying the privilege, sometimes provide negative reviews. It highlighted the disconnect between the social media hype created by bloggers and the actual performance of the film at the box office. He suggested that the industry should reconsider the practice of relying on social media influencers to promote films.
His candid insights shed light on the complexities of the Pakistani film industry, addressing issues of cultural influence, award show structures and the impact of social media on film promotion. As Vasay continues to contribute his experience and observations, his perspectives serve as valuable reflections on the evolution and challenges facing the dynamic world of Pakistani cinema.
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