In a conversation with Images, Abbasi revealed that he has formally joined PTI and is pushing forward some new policies to revive Pakistani cinema.
“I’ve joined PTI not as a politician; I’ve joined the development department of the media industry,” he told Images. “We’ve created and forwarded new policies that the government has accepted and started implementing. Thankfully, Prime Minister Imran Khan is supporting us.”
Opening up about the recurring issues in the industry, Shamoon said regulations were the need of the hour. “Because there are no formal agreements, lots of issues arise in payments,” he said.
“We will be making this a legal issue. A department is being created which will visit sets without notice and make sure things are functioning professionally. If a producer has employed someone without an agreement, he will be questioned and we will work things out accordingly.”
According to Abbasi, a summit was earlier held with stakeholders, actors, producers and technicians where everyone registered their concerns and grievances. “The most common complaints were that payments were not being made on time or that actors had taken money and left the producers hanging,” he told Images. “So these things have to be regulated first and foremost.”
Acknowledging that the global film industry is undergoing problems, he said that he has suggested the government to fund some projects out of their own finances. “Tradition, culture, sports, religion, history — whatever they would like,” he said, adding that movies on the theme of military had been overdone and new, refreshing stories were needed for the revival of cinema.
“At the moment, we need to encourage OTT platforms and use the existing ones to promote local content. Most of our talented directors are being hired outside of Pakistan,” he said, giving the example of ZEE5. “And it’s a shame we haven’t given them space or empowered them through our local platforms.”
The Waar actor disclosed that he has used his new designation to launch Caravan 2021 — a festival for fresh Pakistani filmmakers from all over the world, where they can submit their short-films. “This will be a fresh market, starting from a fresh mindset. The process of the festival will train them on how to be a part of mainstream media.”