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After the Success of “Sijjin” More Indonesian Horror Films Are Coming to Pakistan

‘Sijjin’, the Indonesian horror film about black magic has raked in a decent 4 Cr within its 4-week run at the Pakistani box office. This is a pretty good response considering it’s a foreign language film. ‘Sijjin’ is actually the highest grossing film at the Pakistani box office so far this year.

Now, it seems that Pakistani distributors are looking to screen more Indonesian horror films. Two films have been announced for screening so far.

Pemandi Jenazah

“Pemandi Jenazah” translates to “Corpse Bath” or “Corpse Bather”. From the trailer, the film seems to be about a woman who gives dead bodies their final “ghusl” before their burial. It shows her being affected and corrupted by a certain evil force.

“Pemandi Jenazah” is being reviewed by censors right now and will be released shortly. It is being distributed by Cinepax Cinemas.

Waktu Maghrib

“Waktu Maghrib” translates to “At Dusk”, or literally “Maghrib Time”. The trailer shows a village that is struck by tragedy when a young boy falls prey to demonic forces. The film seems to revolve around a group of childhood friends, and their families.

“Waktu Maghrib” is also being distributed by Cinepax Cinemas. There is no release date yet.

Foreign Cinema and the Genre Obsession

Foreign cinema should be shown in Pakistan. Aside from Hollywood flicks, major studio releases and film festival favourites should be regularly screened in Pakistan to give the audience something different.

However, Pakistani distributors seem to be milking the Indonesian horror film genre now. This is part and parcel of what we’ve come to expect.

Those old enough to remember Urdu-dubbed Jet Li films will recall how often Chinese action films were screened in the late 90s and early 2000s.

A more recent obsession has been with Turkish soap operas and historical dramas (“Mera Sultan”, “Resurrection: Ertugrul”, “Osman Ghazi”, “Ishq-e-Mamnoon”, “Sultan Abdulhamid”, etc.).

However, giving people the same thing over and over again doesn’t work. The Pakistani audience is no longer enamoured with Turkish dramas because they’ve seen too many. Even across the border, patriotic and historical Indian films are losing ground and flopping. And of course, the superhero genre has crashed and burned completely in Hollywood.

Indonesian Films Have a Lot to Offer

Indonesian cinema has been progressing well for decades now and they’ve made significant contributions to world cinema.

For instance, the “Raid” films (1 and 2) are considered perhaps the best action movies ever made. They brought the Indonesian martial art “Pencak Silat” to the world stage and feature some of the most intense hand to hand combat sequences ever made.

Indonesia is also known for films about historical events and political satire like “Autobiography” (2022), “How Funny This Country Is” (2010) and “Sang Kiai – The Clerics “(2013). As of late, films like “Gundala” (2018) and “Sri Asih” (2022) have led to the rise of the superhero genre in Indonesia as well.

So, there’s a whole lot to choose from. Film distributors should screen more foreign films, but they should screen different genres as well, and not just stick to what is making money right now.

Written by Yousuf Mehmood


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