The Faiz International Festival concluded here at Alhamra on Sunday with the largest crowd out of all the three days of the festival, partly due to the hype it created and partly Sunday being a holiday.
A session on the trends in cinema, ‘The Future of Cinema, Alternative Versus Commercial’, was moderated by Mira Hashmi with actress Samiya Mumtaz, actor/filmmaker Sarmad Khoosat, model/actress Eman Suleman and documentary filmmaker Ammar Aziz as panelists.
Ms Mumtaz said there was no mainstream cinema in Pakistan or a cinema having the support of the government, therefore every individual was making independent films. Cinema should not be tagged as alternative or commercial, she said, adding that alternative cinema had its own beauty and creativity.
Answering a question about what is a film, Mr Khoosat said it is either good or bad -- there is no middle way. He said films should not be bracketed or limitised: for example, some people thought only comedy movies clicked, while some thought otherwise.
He was of the opinion that a film should have some meat, strong concept and spontaneous way of telling the story. He said a filmmaker or even a cinegoer of traditional cinema perhaps might not feel easy with the technique and mannerisms of alternative cinema. The experience of cinema was something collective, it could not be enjoyed on Youtube, he added.
Mr Aziz also felt cinema was a traditional medium. He said documentaries in Pakistan were often considered agenda-based, which was utterly baseless. He said lines blurred in documentary making when it came to mixing a feature and documentary.
Ms Suleman said there was a clear divide between alternative and commercial cinema.
In a jam-packed session, ‘Stardom with Responsibility’, actress Mahira Khan discussed her daily routine and various issues. She talked about her family, her ailing mother and the studies of her son Azlaan, who was now in Class V.
She also talked about her film Superstar and the audience’s “good response” to it, saying even her harsh critics wrote well about the film. She advised the young generation to use social media with caution and with a positive approach.
Ms Khan also talked about her website and how it catered to different issues of women. About her film The Legend of Maula Jutt, she said the release date of the film was not final yet.
Originally published in Dawn, November 18th, 2019