Laal Kabootar and the curse of watching a pirated movie


Let me confess that I have not seen Laal Kabootar yet. When the news recently came out that the film has been chosen for submission to the Academy Awards, I googled Laal Kabootar to know something about it. My first instinct was to write about the prospect of this movie achieving what no other movie could in the last 7 decades; an Oscar Nomination.

Before analyzing how far Laal Kabootar could go in the Oscar race, I had to watch the movie first. Mostly Pakistani movies are usually uploaded on YouTube within a few months of their release. I searched it on YouTube and the first search result showed almost 2-hour long video. It was uploaded by the name “Laal Kabootar Full Pakistani Movie Released 2019 Video Action Movies Ahmed Ali Akbar, Ali Kazmi”.

Pakistan selects Laal Kapootar for its entery to the Oscars.

I was relived to find the movie and pressed the play button. As the movie started streaming, I made up my mind to watch it in one sitting. It finally started. In the very first minute the word “Parchi” was spoken a few times that raised my eyebrows a little. Before the end of the first minute Heer Man Ja famed Hareem Farooq made her appearance on the screen. Was it really Laal Kabootar? I was not sure whether Hareem was part of the movie or not. I stopped the movie and looked up the cast. Hareem was not there. Upon jumping through scenes, I realized that the movie was in fact “Parchi”.

After a huge disappointment I decided not to give up on the idea of watching the movie. I rushed out to find a DVD store nearby. “Laal Kabootar?” I asked. “No” replied the first shopkeeper. The next did the same. Before I could give up the idea, I thought I could check one more store. And bingo, I got one. It was in a shiny plastic cover.

I came home inserted the movie in the DVD player and the message came no disc. The player failed to read the DVD. I was furious. I took out the disc inserted it in my laptop in the disillusionment that it will not work but guess what, it did. I was happy for just a few seconds before realizing that it was one of those jerky camera prints that you cannot watch more than a few minutes. I wanted to throw the DVD away for good but decided to keep it as a souvenir of helplessness.

I did succeed in watching the trailer of Laal Kabootar. It was interesting to say the least. The crime thriller, based in Karachi reminds us of the Gotham city from the DC universe. There are a lot of similarities between Gotham city and the city of Karachi.

There are serious piracy issues when it comes to the distribution of films and music. Once a movie goes out of the cinema there is no way for a person to watch it. The production companies are not also interested to release the movies on DVD due to piracy. The concerned authorities should look into this matter to make the business of film production profitable.

Film production is one of the most lucrative businesses around the world. The future of Pakistan film industry lies in making it fruitful for filmmakers. The more movies we produce in a year the better will be our chances of picking the best one for submission at the Oscars.

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