Granddaughter of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, Fatima Bhutto has launched her new book. “New Kings of The World‘ talks about the emerging mass culture movements from outside the western world, which are going to challenge the future success of Hollywood.
The poetess and writer sat down in Liberty Books to discuss her book with fans and enthusiasts. While commenting on the influence the West has had over the past few decades, she said that time is long gone where masses followed the western culture, and made it the center of the world.
Where we’re standing, should be our center, we won’t say we’re the South of this or East of that. So I think the West’s moment is coming to a close.
Her book focuses on the new waves that are promoting cultures other than that of the western world. The Trump regime is a sign of panic and fear, she further explained.
They still want us to believe that they’re the height of enlightenment, but really they’re not. It doesn’t mean that we’re the height either, but we’re in an interesting position, which can’t be judged from the lens of politics alone. Culture is an interesting way to look at it because it’s accessible. It’s still loaded with agendas but we can all connect to it. Not everyone may be interested in politics, but everyone watches films and listens to music.
Fatima suggests that since culture should be the grounds on which countries should be judged; we should look at the influence some other Asian countries have made all over the world. She gives examples of:
- How Bollywood has affected the working class in Peru;
- The rise in K-pop around the world;
- The explosive viewership numbers for Turkish dramas
Turkish television distributions fall right after America; making it worth examining according to Fatima.
The Bold and Beautiful at its peak was watched by an audience of 26 million. Mera Sultan at its peak was watched by 200 million. Unofficially, they told me that number is now 500 million.
South Korea, another one of the fascinating countries that Fatima visited for her book, exported all of its cultures. Despite being a non-western country, it overcame the financial crisis (of 1997) by investing in and exporting its culture.
They had to rebuild their economy but they couldn’t do that so easily because they had no natural resources, or agricultural land – they couldn’t have rebuilt it on ginseng alone. They are also not allowed to pursue military technology because of their defense pact with North America. Not to mention, their reliance on massive corporations like Samsung and Hyundai is what got them into trouble in the first place. But the president of that time, Kim de Jong, was inspired by Hollywood’s pop culture and Korea put all its efforts behind their cultural ministries
Due to the fact that South Korea brought broadband to its people in 1984, by 2015 their internet connection was 200 times faster than that of America.
Music brings Korea five billion dollars a year, video games bring it a 1000 times more than that.
Bollywood movies are not behind either when it comes to mass influence. Pakistan could take their lead, as it is filled with cultural heritage that can be utilized in every aspect in the pop culture dynamic.
John, one of the people I interviewed for this book was a film enthusiast.
He said ‘listen, I’m not a big fan of Shahrukh Khan, but I do love Rajnikanth.’
After this, he started talking about Shaan’s latest film, which came as a shock to me.
Pakistan’s Historical Background
Pakistan’s background is filled with bold and brave history; Thus the focus of our films and shows can shift from typical drama to the rich heritage our country possesses. Pakistan needs a well-deserved reboot of the image created by movies produced in other countries.
I don’t understand why Hrithik Roshan can be in a film featuring Moenjodaro but we can’t make a film on our heritage!
In Raazi, Alia Bhatt can walk in a place representative of Pakistan, with posters titled ‘Crush India’, but I’ve never seen such posters in Pakistan.
Where is that narrative coming from and why can’t we challenge it by building a different image?
She isn’t wrong; we’ve seen this bizarre image of Pakistan even in video games like Medal of Honor: Warfighter and Call of Duty: Black Ops Il. Both these games portray Pakistan as a country riddled with terrorism. Why can’t our focus be to redeem that image?
Are you excited to buy Fatima Bhutto’s new book? It’s in stores now, priced at just Rs. 1000. Let us know what you think.