Adnan Sarwar is an intelligent and sincere filmmaker and we were fans after watching his debut film, Shah. He’s also a great actor, proven in Shah as well as his brief stint as an abusive husband in Episode One of Akhri Station. For all these reasons as well as the frequent interactions we’ve had with him, we’re a fan. And his recent interview with Manal Khan, published in Instep on Sunday, just reinforced that fact.
There are two significant things that Adnan said in the interview and we’d like to put the spotlight on.
CINEMA IS NOT A PHILANTHROPIC INSTITUTION. STOP BEGGING FOR SUPPORT
“I’m never going to come and say ‘support Pakistani cinema’ anymore,” Adnan clearly said in the interview. “These words have been abused a lot these past few years. No, we have to create good content. Why should a family support your cinema by spending 5000 rupees on your film? Shouldn’t they go and donate to Edhi? Isn’t that a better cause? We have created such a film that when you go to watch it, you’ll walk out thinking that it was money well spent.
AN ACTOR IS NOT AN ACTIVIST WORKING FOR SOCIAL REFORM
“An artist doesn’t owe anything to anyone,” he said, when asked whether actors and films had a responsibility to reform society. “It’s not our responsibility to reform society. If you assume that your work will change society, then it’s bordering on megalomania. I’m not one of those artists who think that they’ll change the world.”
FILMS WITH AGENDAS USUALLY VEER TOWARDS PROPAGANDA, WHICH LEADS TO CENSORSHIP
“If we start treating art like that, it’s dangerous territory,” Adnan said about message-driven films. “It starts to move towards propaganda and that is when the state steps in; we’ve seen this with the German film industry. If cinema is to have an impact, it should happen organically. If we start imposing our beliefs on cinema, then it veers between propaganda and censorship. Because then who will call the shots? A boardroom filled with old men with agendas.
CINEMA ISN’T RESPONSIBLE FOR FIXING SEXISM
“It is said that society’s degradation is because of the media, but if you look at places where all sorts of weird, pornographic material is coming out, such as Scandinavia, then this argument falls flat,” Adnan said when he was asked whether he agreed that there is a relation between sexist cinema and crimes against women, as critics point is the case in India. “There are no crimes against women in Sandanavia. The stuff coming out from European countries is much worse than slightly kinky item numbers. Cinema isn’t responsible for fixing sexism. The problem with this side of the world is that society is sexist, that’s why such films are being made, not the other way around.”
RAISING YOUR BOYS BETTER IS THE ANSWER TO SEXISM
“Change will come when a child is sent to school and taught the right values there,” Adnan commented on the social evil of gender discrimination and sexism. “When you’re sexualizing children by making them aware of their differences at a young age or when boys are treated as golden boys in a household that has daughters as well, that is when you teach sexism. The answer to fighting sexism isn’t censorship. It’s a change in curriculum and a change in our values. To fight domestic abuse and violence, stricter laws are the answer. Raising your boys better is the answer.”
We’re looking forward to Motorcyle Girl, releasing on April 20 in cinemas across Pakistan!