BBC Radio Scotland
Thought for the Day - Monday 5th November 2007
The Pakistani Film Festival began in Glasgow this weekend. The festival aims to showcase Pakistani films, arts and artists. Does Pakistan even have a film industry I hear you say? Well, Bollywood, the Indian film industry, churns out the largest number of movies in the world but the Pakistani movie industry, better known as Lollywood, has not been as successful. This has been largely due to Pakistan’s turbulent political times.
For in Pakistan there's been a 'push and pull' between those who wish to promote film and the arts and those who believe that they should not be part of their ideal ‘Islamic’ state. So - It is only in recent times that Pakistanis have started to invest properly in their movie industry. This has meant a new wave of more daring, critical and controversial themes in movies. Terrorism, mixed faith marriages, and reform in Islam are just some of the issues people have been making films about in recent years.
The puritans of Pakistan have used many sayings of the Prophet Muhammad and passages of the Qur’an to curb music and films, but to no avail. Music and movies have always been a part of Pakistani culture. The current wave of Pakistani movies, show us that every religious text and law needs to relate to the lives of real human beings, and not exist in a cultural or historical vacuum. With emergency rule being enforced this weekend - the media restricted, hundreds arrested and possibly elections delayed; it seems a faint hope that the film industry will not be affected!
But for me, the cinema theatre is a 'sacred space' where the mind and soul sees no limit to creativity and critical analysis. Something I personally take for granted from the western film industries. I pray that peace comes to Pakistan soon and they continue to make such challenging films. We all have our own sacred space for creativity and I hope this space is not denied to others but celebrated.