Lahore is known as the cultural capital of Pakistan. This great city produced artists and writers like Mehdi Hassan, Noor Jehan, Ashfaq Ahmed, Bano Qudsiya, Nadeem, Shabnam, Robin Ghosh, Muhammad Ali, Zeba Ali, Syed Noor, Umaira Ahmed, Mustansar Hussain Tarrar, Reema, A. Nayyer, Tariq Aziz, Naheed Akhtar, Nauman Ejaz, Shaan, Moammar Rana, Ali Azmat, Jawad Ahmed, Hadiqa Kiani, Tahira Syed, Atif Aslam, Nayyara Noor, Abid Ali, Uzma Gilani, Afzal Ahmed, Rahat Kazmi, Qawi Khan, Khalida Riasat, Jameel Fakhari, Irfan Khusat, Sarmad Khusat, Tauqir Nasir, Roohi Bano, Babra Shareef, Saba Hammed, Janan Malik, Saba Qamar and many others. Even Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan also got recognition from this great city. Theatre artists like Aman Ullah, Sohail Ahmed, Iftikhar Thakur, Nargis and Deedar also are from the showbiz industry of Lahore. Pakistan’s small film industry Lollywood also has its base in Lahore.
Karachi and Lahore always have been enjoying a healthy competition in making TV serials. At the PTV Awards there used to be always a very good competition between the artists of these two cities for winning awards on their performances. In the last decade however gradually the music and drama industries in Karachi got stronger and many TV artists and singers from Lahore relocated to Karachi. The reason was that in Karachi many production houses and private TV channels were formed that offered more opportunities to the artists. On the other side directors and producers there are more serious and committed than those working in Lahore. This affected the showbiz industry of Lahore badly.
On the other side, producers from the Lollywood kept producing low quality films thinking that they had no competition from Karachi in this area. However recently young TV artists and producers from Karachi have come up with some heavy budged high quality films and showed a new face of Pakistani cinema to the people of Pakistan. Today Lahore is left only with stage dramas where families cannot go because of the cheap comedy.
I am from Lahore and feel very sad over this situation. I request Lahore based artists (from TV and film) to sit together and develop a strategy for getting Lahore its status of the ‘cultural capital’ once again. We must remember that healthy competitions are necessary for improving the quality of artworks.