Pakistani cinema finally taking shape: Actress Humaima Malick (Interview)

Mumbai, Sep 2 The Pakistani film industry is finally undergoing a revolution and is emerging from the shadow of Bollywood, says Pakistani model-actress Humaima Malick, whose film 'Bol', about women in a patriarchal society, has just released in I

Friday, September 02, 2011 | 12:34:04 PM IST (+05:30 GMT)
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Mumbai, Sep 2 (IANS) The Pakistani film industry is finally undergoing a revolution and is emerging from the shadow of Bollywood, says Pakistani model-actress Humaima Malick, whose film 'Bol', about women in a patriarchal society, has just released in India.

'I am extremely blessed to be a part of this revolution in the Pakistani film industry. Our country has witnessed many drastic changes in the film business, but thanks to some people, I can say that cinema in my country is finally taking shape,' Humaima, 25, told IANS about her film, the latest Pakistani offering to be screened for Indian audiences.

'However, we have much to learn and much to experiment. We need more daring people who can take a perilous script and test the audience,' Humaima said in an email interview from Lahore.

According to Humaima, the general mindset of people in her country is also changing and one proof of that is the growing freedom of speech exercised by women.

'I cannot say that women in my country now take pleasure in freedom of speech in all walks of life, but, yes, recent times have given women a certain edge over the conventional customs.

'For instance, today models and actresses in my country do enjoy the liberty that their professions offer. But even then we all must maintain a social code of conduct and for the right reasons,' said the actress.

The Pakistani film industry has been on a downhill journey since piracy took root and entertainment tax was introduced. According to The Dawn newspaper, in the 'golden days' before the 1970s, the industry churned out more than 200 films annually and it is now producing one-fifth of that number.

The struggling film business, often referred to as Lollywood, is trying to regain its glory and the box office success of director Shaoib Mansoor's 'Bol' has marked a new beginning for filmmakers who compete with Bollywood glossies.

'Bol' released June 24 in Pakistan. According to a report, the opening-day collection of the hard hitting social drama about a girl who stands up and challenges the age-old tradition of treating women as lesser beings broke the box office records made by Bollywood biggies like 'My Name Is Khan' and 'Ready'.

'Bol' collected (Pakistani) Rs. 22,038,000 in first six days of its release, while 'My Name is Khan' had earned almost Rs. 21,658,000 in a week.

After a four-decade gap, the Pakistani government in 2008 allowed Hindi films to be screened without restriction across theatres in the country.

Apart from Humaima, 'Bol' also stars Atif Aslam, Mahira Khan, Shafqat Cheema, Manzar Sehbai, Zaib Rehman and Amr Kashmiri.

The actress, who has earlier been part of serials like 'Akbari Asghari', 'Ishq-Junoon-Deewangi' and 'Barish Kay Ansoo' among others, made her silver screen debut with 'Bol'.

Humaima says her journey into showbiz was not a cakewalk. The actress, who was previously married to actor Shamoon Abbasi and separated from him in April 2010, have had to fight for becoming an actress.

'When your brother is a doctor and your father runs a strict household, getting into films is not a cakewalk. Initially, I had to face endless criticism, but soon with the passage of time my family started to see in my direction.

'At the premiere of my movie in Karachi, when my mother cried after the screening, I knew they couldn't be more proud of me. I am blessed to have a very encouraging family, who now supports me in all my future ventures,' she said.

(Ruchika Kher can be contacted at [email protected])

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