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2010 worst year for Pakistani film industry

Islamabad, Dec 12 (IANS) The Pakistan film industry witnessed its worst year with only 12 movies, including regional language films, produced in 2010.

Of the 12, only three were in Urdu, while the rest were in Punjabi, including ‘Virsa’, the first India-Pakistan joint venture that was exempted from entertainment tax, Express Tribune reported Sunday.

No movie was produced in Pashto, spoken in the northwestern Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa province, Sindhi or other regional languages.

‘The record (books) of the film producers’ association shows that six movies were made in Pashto, but it does not correspond with the ground situation,’ the report said.

Seven of the 12 movies were released between September and November on the occasion of Eid and other religious festivals.

‘It means that several other months, particularly the first half of the year, were mostly barren for the industry,’ said the report.

In 2009, only 14 movies were produced.

The last decade has seen the industry declining with hardly a handful of movies being produced every year. The best year was 2001 when 48 movies were made.

In last 10 years, the situation has gone from bad to worse. During this period, cinema halls were replaced by shopping malls because people had stopped coming to the theaters.

The poor law and order situation in the country has also contributed to the decline in film production and the situation is showing no signs of improvement in the near future.

The entertainment-starved people have been relying on Indian movies.

In 2007, the Pakistan government lifted ban on the screening of Indian films and this helped in bringing the masses back to theaters. New cinema halls are now being constructed.

Though ticket prices for Indian movies are higher than the Pakistani films, still the Hindi movies manage to do good business at the box-office.

Cinema-owner Zoraiz Lashari said: ‘Pakistani movies lack the requisite quality that can fetch people to the theatres. Indian movies have always been liked in Pakistan and the permission for official screening has kept the cinema culture alive.’

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