The Glamour is Back
Awards ceremonies were previously limited to the Indian cinema but the foundation laid by the Lux Style Awards some years ago has turned things around. With the advent of the Hum TV Awards, media moguls finally woke up to the idea that viewers actually enjoy watching such shows and that there is a great deal of money to be made from it. As a result, the Tarang Housefull Awards came into being. The result of a collaboration between Engro Foods and Geo Films, the awards hope to support the local entertainment industry, particularly Pakistani cinema, which seemed to have been dying a slow death till a few years ago. The aim here is to bring to the forefront local talent and talk about issues and themes relevant to Pakistani society.
Prior to the awards, however, Tarang introduced what is known as the ‘Housefull’ project. The idea was to recreate the cinematic magic of the bygone era via remakes of classic Pakistani movies, some of which included ‘Anjuman’, ‘Aina’, ‘Dil Mera Dhadkan Teri’ and ‘Armaan’. Without deviating from the plot too much, new actors played characters that were previously enacted by stars such as Nadeem, Shahid, Waheed Murad, Shabnam and Babra Sharif, to name a few. The musical score remained the same but was redone by contemporary musicians such as Rahat Fateh Ali and Aamir Zaki along with some vocalists from Bollywood.
Needless to say, the project was a resounding success, particularly with the current generation that heavily relies on Bollywood and Hollywood as a source of entertainment. It introduced to them the Pakistani film industry in a novel fashion, bringing into the limelight storylines and actors that they had
previously not heard of. Furthermore, it provided a window into the past, enabling them to understand what the Pakistani cinema was like in its days of glory. As for those who grew up on a staple diet of local movies back then, it was great way to revisit some of those classics with a modern feel. Be it the blockbuster Armaan that had people going down memory lane as they enjoyed the onscreen chemistry of Fawad Khan and Aamina Sheikh, the hilarious Abhi Tou Main Jawan Hoon that had people in stitches with its snappy script and stellar performances or the shocking social commentary of Anjuman that’s still relevant today, all the telefilms sparked debate and comparison. So Tarang did manage to bring about a full house. The ratings were good and the soundtracks have been doing well on the music charts, which mean that people have been watching these remakes.
Of course, it’s all very well to have one-off releases/premiers in the theatres and to air these movies on television. The real test is whether or not Tarang will be able to make a film for release in cinemas around Pakistan. And the competition isn’t getting anyny easier, especially since movies like Chambaili and Siyaahaah (a horror movie from some newbies in Islamabad) havee made it to the big screen in 2013. Furthermore, Humayunmayun Saeed’s Main Shahid Afridi Hoon will be releasedd this Eid, Farjad Nabi’s new filmmay also see the light of day in August this year in both Pakistan and India and there is news of Bilal Lashari’s long awaited Waarar finally hitting the screens too. Then there is Jami’s film,m, the promos for which look fantastic and more filmsms are slated for release by next year. In this environment,nment, telefilms, be they Tarang Housefull projects or efforts like Behadd, the Asim Raza directed telefilmefilm for a local drama channel, may just fall shortt of the audience’s expectations in the long run. n.
Having said that, however, the Tarang Housefull Awards are a step in the right direction since they promote these telefilms and, if nothing else, have become a subject of conversation among the masses as well as media circles. The format was all-toofamiliar: that of a Bollywood awards show with umpteen performances that made it all the more entertaining. Also, while the list of nominees was more or less predictable with six nominees in each category, mostly each representing one of the six Tarang Housefull remakes, the jury selection was impressive and lent credibility to the show. These included theatreman and music composer Arshad Mehmood, journalist, filmmaker and founder of the now defunct Karafilm Festival Hasan Zaidi, actress extraordinaire Sania Saeed, TV actress Marina Khan, director par excellence Sahira Kazmi, film distributor and cinema magnate Nadeem Mandviwala, legendary Lollywood actor Ghulam Mohiuddin, Pakistani film director Shehzad Rafique and composer M. Arshad.
It was heartening to see that the event was attended by some of the biggest names of the industry lending their support to the revival of Pakistani cinema. Hosted by TV actor Ahsan Khan, who was also a part of this project, the awards ceremony was a hit and featured the likes of Shaan, Syed Noor, Yasir Nawaz, Anjum Shehzad, Nadeem, Aamina Sheikh, Sarwat Gilani, Bushra Ansari, Atiqa Odho, Usman Peerzada and Saba Hameed, among others.
While the Housefull project may still have a long way to go for it to turn Pakistani cinema into a commercial success, it has certainly set the ball rolling. Tarang Housefull is proof that nothing is impossible if you put your mind to it. For a long time now, Pakistani audiences have endured remakes of Indian movies and have found them entertaining. Clearly, they are okay with the concept of movie makeovers so the idea works well for the local industry as well. The local actors and actresses, who entertain us on the small screen all year round on TV, deserve just as much a chance as their Indian and even Western counterparts. It’s time that Pakistani cinema was given a new lease on life and if remakes are the way to do it, then so be it. The litmus test will be the audience response when these movies hit theatres eventually and one hopes that Tarang’s efforts pay off and give that muchneeded push to our industry when the time comes.