Given the emergence of the digital platform as the premiere medium for quality entertainment, there was a growing debate on need of digital foray in Pakistan. While Netflix is yet to penetrate into the Pakistani market, what’s good to see is our local companies themselves realizing the need of joining the bandwagon of “Digital age”.
Pakistan in recent times has emerged as a major sources of revenue for Bollywood films. Over the previous year, record prices by distributors such as IMGC were paid for films from across the border. The country also currently ranks among the top 5 markets for Bollywood films. It is only natural that the relationship be reciprocal, and Pakistan too needs to be able to benefit from the Indian market. Currently, Pakistani films and television serials are banned in India, which leaves the digital medium as the only avenue for access to that market.
And Pakistani film makers are trying their best to build the cultural bridges and provide content to the Indian market. Just recently we saw launch of first Pakistani web series “Enaaya” which according to IMGC, was sold worth 0.4 million dollars to Eros Now and that is quite a number considering the budget of series was not much high. While season 2 of “Enaaya” is already in works, IMGC has already announced their next web series “Ruswaee” and that too just like “Enaaya” will be produced for Eros Now. Another web series “Dhoop ki Deewar” by Haseeb Hassan is also announced for another digital platform from India, Zee5. Apart from these announced projects, there are half a dozen web series and films for Indian digital channels, that are in pre production stage at the moment and are awaiting their official announcement.
It doesn’t stop here, as apart from web series and films, music rights of Pakistani films during last couple of years, have been sold to different music companies from across the border. Music rights of 2017’s “Mehrunisa V Lub U” were sold to T series, while that of last year’s “Teefa in Trouble” and “Load Wedding” were acquired by Times Music and Zee music company respectively. The most recent film to join the league is Yasir Nawaz’s next “Wrong No 2”, as rights of which have already been sold to Zee music company at approximately 4 million pkr.
However after the recent inflamed tensions in India post Pulwama incident, resulting in platforms like T series, under pressure from the Indian government, have removed songs of Pakistani singers from their youtube channels it will be interesting to see the fate of these projects. This will tilt the balance of exchange of entertainment between the two nations, and it remains to be seen how Pakistan will respond.