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Ace Director Ehteshamuddin Says We Can’t Make Content We Want To in Pakistan

Ace director, actor, and writer Muhammad Ehteshamuddin says that the local industry is asked why we don’t make content like Dirilis Ertugrul, and the truth is we cannot! We only make what we can make with limited resources and controlled social dynamics.

“Whenever we exercise our right to freedom of speech and try to tell a story, our narrative will either clash with some group, or the state and establishment,” said the Aangan director while in conversation with filmmaker/host Rafay Rashdi on his talk show Behind the Curtain with Rafay Rashdi.

“Content is king and if we don’t work on that, things will cease up. It is very difficult in Pakistan to change its content. What stories will you tell? Will you be able to tell a story that you really want to tell?

“We have a lot of things to say but how do we say those things? This is also why television primarily runs saas bahu content… what will our channels show apart from that? Can our channels run content like Churails?” Ehteshamuddin asked of the web series which was recently taken down and banned by Pemra – a decision it then retracted.

Ehteshamuddin went on to say that while primarily it’s the obstacles like restrictions on free speech that dampen the content on television, it is also because of lack of incentives for writers who are worldwide given ownership of their work.

“There’s a concept of ownership the world over and that changes a lot of things. For example, if you write a series for BBC, even your kids will get royalties from it if they were to use it later,” explained the artist. “A drama is made for the channel, run by the channel, it’s then uploaded to YouTube, and then, maybe sold to another platform. This use of intellectual property needs to be addressed!”

TV is a writers’ medium and our entertainment industry needs to follow a fair system to ensure quality. You will have to give them (writers) their rights. Content is a writers’ intellectual property and they should be paid for it. If you’re running their content on different mediums and platforms, they should get their rightful share of the royalties,” the Yaqeen Ka Safar actor stated.

“I believe the biggest change that we want to see will be brought by the youth who we don’t pay much heed to and cast aside. We say, ‘The work we did in our time was great and the new generation can’t do that,’ but that’s the wrong approach. These new kids will be the ones who bring the change and we will have to accept it,” he said.

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