October 4, 2023

By Ahmet Abdulaziz….

I belong to the generation, who did not experience the Second World War but heard a lot of it. What we read, heard, and saw on the cinema screens made us a “knowing all, seeing nothing”, sort of generation.

Though my generation witnessed, the wars of Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, and more, yet we all remember the Second World War, due to the long array of fantastic films produced since the end of the war in 1945. The Bridge on the River Kwai” was the first such film that I watched with my father, in Karachi, during the 1960s when I was in middle school. My father had already watched it, but he took us along a few days later to the film theatre, just because he wanted to listen and sing along with the theme music of the film. Indeed that was a fantastic film, that we all as a family liked, and I personally still have it all memorised in my mind, whatever I watched on the screen that evening.

But “The bridge on the River Kwai” was not the only film that made lasting effects on my mind. The next one was “The Great Escape”. Wow, that was really a fantastic movie. I do still remember that particular scene, when Steve Mcqueen, was throwing the ball at the wall and catching it as it bounced back repeatedly in his small prison cell. Of course, everyone who had watched this particular movie can never forget that fantastic motorcycle chase. I remember that for years I could not forget that particular scene. That was really fantastic. Of course, the way the whole escape plan was organised and worked upon was exceptional. Those scenes of making the tunnel and transferring the sand out of the barracks, really speak of the quality of the screenplay writer and others. That was really fantastic.

My generation, however, perhaps watched most of the films regarding the second world war, when we did not have either Netflix or any other source of film watching, except the cinema houses. However, honestly speaking watching a war movie on a large screen, with a good sound system, is such a nice treat and experience that we do not have now on our television screens when watching the same films.

There have been many films like this, and it’s difficult to single out any of them as number one. For example, we cannot declare anyone as the best out of “Where Eagles Dare” or “The Guns of Navarone” or “Tobruk” or “The Dirty Dozen”. For example, we cannot say that “Saving Private Ryan” was better than “Schindler’s List”, or vice versa. All of them were movies of very high class, and I consider myself fortunate that I watched most of them in a cinema hall.

Unfortunately, the culture of watching a movie in cinema halls is fast fading, as the younger generation is more used to watching films on small screens, at home. The cinemas are thus losing the battle, and their numbers are on the decline. However, I still remember watching all these movies particularly regarding the Second World War, on a big screen.

My recommendation to the new and young generation is to go and watch these films in large cinema halls with a good sound system where you will feel you were part of it..



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