Film director Syed Noor, credited for revitalising Lollywood in the mid-90s, shares his opinion on the reasons behind the decline of the film industry and how he plans to reverse the situation. Noor, known for making issue-based films, has been praised for making some of Lollywood’s biggest hits, such as Choorian, Jeeva, Ghoonghat and Deewane Tere Pyar Ke.
Pakistan’s film industry is struggling, what are you doing to revive it?
I’m still struggling for the survival of the industry. Lollywood has given me so much, how can I not support it. The talent hunt show “Hero Bannay Ki Tarang” is one of the projects aimed to revive Pakistani film industry. Previously, not much thought went into the idea of rejuvenating the industry. Hopefully, this television show will bring new talent to light.
Additionally, I am opening an academy by the name of Paragon Academy of Performing Arts (PAPA). It will, hopefully, start functioning from September or October, this year. I also plan on doing experimental films in Karachi and my next production will be in the city.
Although there is no dearth of actors in Pakistan, why is it that we don’t see films like Jeeva and Ghoonghat?
Lollywood’s decline began 25 years ago. Currently, it lacks funding and support from the government. Add political issues and a dearth of technical facilities to this and you will have some of the factors which have contributed to the decline. The boom of Bollywood in Pakistan has also exacerbated the situation.
I believe both individuals and corporate entities should support the local film industry. Lollywood should also be promoted on television, in the same way that Bollywood is being promoted today. It’s a shame that the cinemas prefer screening Indian films instead of Lollywood films. This is the result of a mindset that everything about Lollywood is rubbish; this attitude has to be changed. We need to establish academies where actors, directors and writers can be groomed.
You chose to feature Saima in many of your films, why is that?
As an actor, Saima is pure genius. She is the best performer in the industry and ensures that she is professional in her work. For a director, it’s important to get the best actor in town. If, she hadn’t been what she is, I wouldn’t have relied on her.
You are opening a film street in Lahore, what is the aim of this project?
A film street is in the pipeline, which will be located at a locality that is the main domain of film stars. The film street will pay tribute to stars of by-gone days like Om Parkash, who was initially settled in this city before leaving for India post-independence. So there will be old memories, a food street, posters all around the place and a cinema where old films will be screened.