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Friday, February 16, 2024

Islamabad sees ’80s drive-in cinema culture make a comeback

Karachi, in the late 80s, remained a hub of drive-in cinemas. But on Friday, amid much fanfare, Islamabad launched its first-ever drive-in cinema where a week-wise theme ranging from classics to action, science fiction, fantasy and animations will be followed.

It seems the drive-in cinema culture of the late ’80s has returned to the country with full force as on Friday the newly appointed Interior Minister, Sheikh Rashid Ahmed inaugurated Islamabad’s first ever drive-in cinema at F-9 Park.

The minister congratulated Capital Development Authority (CDA) and other stakeholders for launching this initiative amidst the pandemic.

For this project, which will provide big-screen experience to moviegoers during Covid-19 pandemic, CDA is partnering with the Active Marketing Agency and Jazz.

The cinema will be functional for three days every week from Friday to Sunday. It will be a good alternative to the traditional cinemas where the implementation of SOPs is difficult.

According to organizers movies will be screened in the evenings from Friday to Sunday and will follow a week-wise theme ranging from classics to action, science fiction, fantasy and animations.

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The ticket price which is one thousand Rupees concerned the minister who proposed a hefty discount on the cost saying it should be no more than Rs. 50 per vehicle.  

It’s noteworthy that on an earlier occasion while replying to a question, the CDA director general said: “This is not a commercial project and the ticket price will be nominal and affordable,” he said.

CDA Chairman Amer Ali Ahmed, at that time, while speaking to the media said that the drive-in cinema will provide entertainment to residents of twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad in a safe environment during stressing time of Covid-19.

He said while sitting in their cars people will watch movies on the big screen and they will use a radio set for audio. “If this project attracts people, we will set up two or three more such facilities in Islamabad,” he said.

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Earlier, we heard reports of a drive-in cinema being launched at Parade Ground adjacent to Islamabad Highway from Dec 18th. It seems the Capital Administration changed its mind over the venue.

The project will be a pilot for similar cinemas across the country. Jazz is also trying to promote e-payments and will refund half of the ticket price initially. The cinemas will screen movies from 5.30 in the evening.

Drive-in cinema culture in the country

Karachi, in the late 80s, remained a hub of drive-in cinemas. These included cinemas at Shirin in Korangi and Kismet in Saddar

Drive-in cinemas are not a new phenomenon around the world. However, for years now Pakistan has completely shifted to traditional cinema halls and theatres. People rarely felt the need for a drive-in cinema before.

But now, amidst the pandemic, Pakistanis have found this to be the best alternative for cinema halls to enjoy some off time with friends and family away from the otherwise stressful life. The positives of such an idea of entertainment are plenty, with the most obvious one maintenance of social distancing and at the same time enjoying oneself.

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From the news, it might seem that the capital is the only city where drive-in cinemas have emerged – in fact, Karachi has already seen such forms of entertainment being realised. Near the famous Avari Towers, a cinema has opened up at the Village Restaurant. The additional perks of this cinema include the mouth-watering barbeque that one will be able to have while watching their favourite movies.

The drive-in cinema is open five days a week, from Monday to Friday. The timings are 5 pm to 10 pm and it even plays old, classic movies like ‘Charlie Chaplin’ and the ‘3 Stooges’.