The city has lost yet another place of entertainment — Nishat Cinema — now a theatre hall, as it has been sold and the new owner has started demolishing the decades old building reportedly to erect a plaza there.
The cinema established decades ago had been screening Punjabi, Urdu and English movies and was later converted into theatre hall, showing stage dramas.
According to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, in 2003-04, Faisalabad division — Faisalabad, Toba Tek Singh and Jhang — had 28 cinemas; 18 in Faisalabad, five each in Toba Tek Singh and Jhang. The number was sadly reduced to seven in 2011-12. Earlier, a number of cinemas, including Shehzad, Metropole, Tariq, Nadir, Novelty, Shabnum, Odeon, Javeed, Reo, Regal, Naaz, Bambino, ABC, Sangeet, Shadman etc had been demolished.
The land of these cinemas was later used either to establish residential colonies or commercial plazas. Currently, Faisalabad has about seven modern multiplex cinemas.
Qavi Khan, a renowned film, television and stage actor, commenting on decay of the local entertainment industry told Dawn that many of those who were doing cinema and theatre business should simply do something else as they didn’t belong to the industry.
He said due to such elements, most of the productions were without any message for youth. He held the entertainment industry as well as the government responsible for the decay, saying the local industry failed to adapt to the changing scenario of the business.
Former manager of Nishat Cinema, Mr Humayon said the new owner would go for construction of a commercial plaza that might also have a theatre hall on one of its floors.
The new owner had started demolishing the cinema building to build a plaza there because the land was located on Narawala Road, a major thoroughfare connecting various residential colonies to the eight bazaars of Clock Tower.
A food vendor, Aslam, who was sitting on a bench outside the locked gate of the cinema, said, “ I’m 48 and my elders told me that the cinema was here even before the inception of Pakistan.”
Aslam was of the view that plaza to be built on cinema land would give financial boost to his business.
Ali Jaan, a local stage actor, lamenting the demise of the theatre hall said it was feeding many small time actors, actresses, technicians and their families. He said the elimination of yet another place of entertainment would add to the problems of artists.
Originally published in Dawn December 14th, 2016