Can Brands Help Revive Cinema Culture In Pakistan

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Maria Mahesar

Cinema, often considered by experts as a tool that can either make or break the perception of the country of the movie’s originates from, is currently in the process of continuous evolution in Pakistan. Yet, this powerful tool still has to be capitalized to the fullest; especially since Pakistan is often the victim of negative perception in the eyes of the western media. We are a nation where talent is growing as fast as the economy of any developed country but the lack of platforms and opportunities to showcase that talent remains the main obstacle in the way of taking cinema culture in Pakistan to the next level.

One of the areas where this talent needs major support is a rapidly growing interest in our youth i.e. Filmmaking. With the right corporate infrastructure in place, brands indeed have a pivotal role to play in reviving the cinema culture; once perceived as the pride of Pakistan. We’ve seen support in the recent past from brands but monetary support has often been compensated by forced, in-the-face promotion of the brand and product placement throughout the movie. But with no sense of assurity or support from the government, often aspiring filmmakers have fallen victim to the corporate wish-list that has often hampered the creativity of filmmaking. Instead of jeopardizing creativity of the filmmaking process, brands should look into areas that can further enhance and nurture the art of filmmaking in Pakistan.

We’ve seen more people joining the filmmaking bandwagon but have they been able to showcase their talent and release their film is a question that remains unanswered. We’ve even seen rise in state-of-the-art cinema houses in urban outlets across Pakistan but foreign films remain the center of attention of cinemagoers. This is the perfect opportunity for brands to fill the gap by cashing in an area that is of an interest to many in Pakistan. Initiating workshops, supporting scripts with a strong message, showcasing films at international film festivals can help generate interest by large in Pakistan that in turn can result in majorly reviving the cinema culture of Pakistan.

We’ve seen films making it to the top in recent years; Khuda Kay Liye and Bol, to name a few. But it is only after these films are appreciated in other countries that encourages brands to support the release of the same film in Pakistan, usually after the response from international film festivals before we start appreciating and applauding the hard work invested by our local filmmakers. Given the competitive nature of filmmaking today, the attitude and mindset of the brand custodians has to change before it’s too late. There should definitely be a win-win-situation for both, film and brand; however it shouldn’t be over and above the prime objective which is to revive the cinema culture of Pakistan. For once, brands must stop over-branding the film where over-display of logos, frequent and unnatural verbal and written mention and POS material of the brand overshadows and takes over the limelight from the film. Supporting a film can also be handled in a credible and authentic fashion that can also win support and loyalty from the movie-watchers. We need to start believing in our talent, our culture and look into ways to support them since day one instead of acknowledging their talent only when they make it big internationally. Brands instead should increase their involvement within the movie by looking into ways such as conducting acting workshops, bringing in international production expertise and more to further help improve the overall look and feel of the movie.

The once popular entertainment medium ‘cinema’ needs to be revived so that we can see more of Pakistan films instead of foreign content. We’ve seen some great movies in the last few years, Khuda Kay Liye, Bol and Mein Hoon Shahid Afridi to name a few. With increased support from brands, the number of films made locally yet recognized internationally may tilt to made and recognized locally.

Brands for once need to keep their interest aside and look into areas such as cinema to not only revive the culture but to also improve the image of the country. It is high time brands look into creative, subtle ways to integrate their presence within a script; leaving the creativity to the film’s craftspeople making it standout as the king of the film.

Maria Mahesar is the National Communications Manager for Red Bull Operations in Pakistan. She can be reached at maria.mahesar@pk.redbull.com

 

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