Echoes of the Big Screen: The Story of 'Cinema Wala

Echoes of the Big Screen: The Story of 'Cinema Wala
Published On: 17-May-2024

Article by

William Pervaiz

Today I happened to watch the movie "Cinema Wala," which popped up while surfing YouTube. I really liked it. Why did I like it? Here's the background:

During the past three decades, 846 famous cinema halls have closed down in various parts of the country, including Hyderabad. According to Pakistan Film Data's report, the number of cinema halls in Pakistan has dropped to 135 from 981 in the past three decades. In Sindh, including Karachi division, there were almost 257 cinema houses, out of which 218 cinema halls have been closed down, leaving only 39 operational. In Punjab, including Lahore, there were approximately 611 cinema halls, but now there are only 90 in the province. In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, there were 68 cinema halls, but now only 6 remain. In Balochistan, there were around 24 cinema halls in the past three decades, but now there are only 3. There are no cinema houses in Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Kashmir at the moment.

In India, over the past 25 years, the number of single-screen cinema halls has decreased from less than 24,000 to 9,000. Some have been converted into malls and residential buildings, while others have been demolished as they lost their appeal to movie enthusiasts. They used to be the cornerstone of Indian cinema culture.

For the new generation, this might seem normal, but for the old generation, whose lives revolved around these cinemas and who spent thousands of movies watching, it feels like their past has been brutally severed, akin to a sword slashing through their memories. Especially for those who were closely associated with the cinema industry, it feels like their homes have been destroyed. They can feel the same emotional pain as they did when they went through that torment.

"Cinema Wala" is a beautiful masterpiece that captures these emotions and sentiments. It portrays the story of a cinema owner who wants to continue the tradition of showing films on the big screen and is not ready for any change. It's alive in its broken-down cinema, but like a dead man. His son, however, engages in pirated CDs business and despite many efforts, fails to convince his father to modernize their cinema with new techniques.

The film presents two perspectives: the old generation unable to understand the new generation, and vice versa. There's a word in English; Empathy, which means to feel someone's emotions from their position. Both generations fail to do this. A father is suffering from nostalgia, which his son fails to comprehend, and how much the world has changed and the need to adapt with it, which the father fails to understand.

The cinematography and lighting in the film are captivating. The background music is excellent, enhancing the scenes and making them more impactful. The performances, especially by the father and his cinema projector operator, servant, who has been with him for decades, are remarkable. Particularly, the father's voice and dialogue delivery are superb.

"Cinema Wala" was released in 2016 and won five awards, including Best Film and Best Director, at the Filmfare Awards East 2017 in India.

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