The revival of the Pakistani film industry was a cumbersome task executed with the grace possessed only by a phoenix rising from the ashes as scripts were inked, sets were created and the dust of time was swept off of the stunning affair known as Lollywood. The cogs of the once obsolete industry turned and the outputs were reels of deliciously dramatic, sentimental and haunting movies sure to go down in history.
At the inception, movies were light-hearted, comedic skits dripping satire and sarcasm such as Na Maloom Afraad and Wrong Number that quickly gained traction. Audiences loved this new face of an otherwise sombre industry and producers jumped on the bandwagon to create more to satiate the unending desires of the fans.
However their lustre wore off and soon the industry was choked with stereotypical and overused tropes, movies seemed to be injected with a veterinary sized syringe of convoluted love affairs and baseless plots. Producers seemed to be xeroxing the scenes and recycling the scripts as film after film flopped with their stale dialogues and asymmetrical relationships. Lollywood became the official flag-bearer of movies where the goal was to stoke drama, fuse it with passion and angst yet the weak plot snuffed out the embers even before they could burn.
There were a few stellar debuts in the genre; Humsafar is one such example that successfully created a masterpiece using the love-triangle trope setting a standard for Pakistani dramas.
But the question remains:
Are these tropes necessary to create a blockbuster?
A movie is only as good as its elements and one that packs potent elements such as a sensible plot, well-developed characters and intense dialogues is bound to have ratings fly off the charts. Producers seem to have their compass permanently pointing to the safest option bound to be swallowed by the drama buffs that fetishize such scenarios. The incorporation of half-baked characters is a pointless pursuit as it dampens the beauty of a solid character arc and then the fusion of skull-numbing item songs together creates a movie worth sleeping on.
Our society has been feeding off of this toxicity like leeches and somebody needs to voice it out. With the prevalent issues in our society such as domestic violence, gender inequality, femicide, rape, double standards and many more viable topics; one should consider the impact these movies will have in fostering the mindsets of the audience.
Not only will these issues finally be highlighted but adequate measures can be taken to spread awareness regarding it and hopefully eradicating them. Efforts were definitely made with hauntingly beautiful serials such as Udaari and Darr Si Jaati Hy Sila but these masterpieces seem to be dissolved into nothingness in the colourless melange of love-triangles.
Art has an almost hypnotic way of influencing the consumer, much more potent than any elixir and I firmly believe if we utilize this power, not only do we get a shot at changing the fate of Pakistan’s film industry but the entirety of Pakistan’s society as a whole.