Showbiz industry strives to make up for losses | The Express Tribune


LAHORE:

Artistes and workers associated with the entertainment industry braved another year of economic hardship and uncertainty in 2021 as theatres, cinemas and production houses remained closed for a long period because of coronavirus.

The revival of the industry still hinges on a new wave of the pandemic not disrupting the activities in the near future.

The crisis persisting since 2019 has left the film industry financially weakened and those associated with it insecure.

While 125 to 150 films were once produced in the country annually, very few could be released after restrictions were imposed to curb the virus.

Read Umar urges provinces to follow NPIs to beat Covid

Prior to the pandemic, the Pakistan Film Producers Association had set a target of making 50 films by 2020. It is estimated that an investment of more than Rs1 billion by filmmakers was stuck.

After the closure of cinemas till November 2021 for almost two years, the film Khel Khel Mein was screened on November 19. The film manages to entertain as well as inform the viewers but it has not done substantial business.

Only 13 films were released during 2021, including six in the Punjab circuit only. Films were also screened during July but their earning was negligible.

English movies from Hollywood were also released, but the cinema owners continued to suffer losses.

Several famous artistes passed away during the year.

They included actress Arif Siddiqui’s mother and singer Fareeha Pervez’s aunt Talat Siddiqui, who herself was a senior actress.

Actress Bushra Ansari’s sister Sumbul Shahid lost her life due to coronavirus epidemic. Like her other sisters, she was also an actress. Famous singer Mehdi Hassan’s disciple Asif Javed died due to coronavirus. Later, Asif Mehdi, the son of Mehdi Hassan, also died after prolonged illness.

Dhol player Goonga Sain passed away due to a heart ailment. Later, world-renowned drummer Pappu Sain also died.

Film director S Suleiman dies at the age of 80. He was the younger brother of the late Santosh Kumar and Darpan.

Classical singer Ustad Mubarak Ali Khan died at the age of 86. Folk singer Shaukat Ali also passed away in April because of liver problems. Actor Sohail Asghar also passed away during the year.

The film industry also lost its stars Neelo and Ijaz Durrani, while the television enthusiasts bid adieu to announcer Kanwal Naseer and Farooq Qaiser, the creator of the puppet character Uncle Sargam.

In the last three months of the year, showbiz activities were restored.

Events to celebrate national days on August 14, September 6 and December 25 were organised at Alhamra centre.

The Asian Cultural Awards show and a bridal show were also held. Singers Shahida Mini, Saman Rai, Anwar Rafi, Shazia Manzoor and Falak Shabbir performed at the shows.

Pakistani film Mukhtara on the topic of coronavirus was nominated for a Hollywood film festival.

Pakistan’s first Miss Trans was also named last year.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 12th, 2022.




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