The self-imposed ban on Indian films is presumably being lifted by Pakistani cinema owners today. Zoraiz Lashari, chairman- Film exhibitor’s Association, recently confirmed that the cinemas would, in fact, resume screening Indian films across the nation.
Lashari was also reported to say, “the self-imposed ban has heavily impacted cinema owners and businesses. For this reason, the stakeholders felt that this was the right time to resume screening Bollywood films. We witnessed a self-imposed ban and not a suspension. The nation will also be seeing a release of the latest film, Freaky Ali, in the cinema houses. Other cinemas may also follow the lifting of the ban.”
The original decision to impose a ban was seen on September 30, and the suspension was believed to be indefinite. The action was indeed taken to protest against India’s initiative to ban Pakistani artists publicly.
The ban imposed by India was placed due to the attack between the neighboring countries. 80 days after the imposing of the ban, cinema owners in Pakistan have released statements stating that the ban was temporary, and not a permanent one. It is still unclear if all cinema owners are to follow the same action, however.
One cinema owner said, “we intend to lift the suspension for the cooperation of the artists, and we hope they (Indian cinema) support us back too.” The fist movies to release are Freaky Ali; that stars Nawazuddin Siddiqui.
The neighboring countries are known to relate the cinematic cooperation, with the political occurrences. It was only eight years ago, in 2008 that the 43 years long ban in Indian films was lifted. The hiatus spanned from the time of the 1965 war, till 2008.
The ban has caused severe repercussions for Pakistani cinema owners and has been a massive blow to the businesses. In the past two months, the cinema houses have made no profits, and have been bearing losses. The choice many owners had to face was reducing the staff, and scheduling lesser films for the day.
The decades’ old tension among both countries is concerned with the discerning views towards Kashmir, a Himalayan territory that is claimed by both nuclear powers. Despite the old rivalry, Pakistani musicians, actors, and the masses resonate with Indian content.
A board member of the Pakistan Film exhibitor’s Association said that the protest was led as a consequence of the move initiated by the Indian film fraternity. Nadeem is the owner of numerous cinemas in Islamabad and Karachi.
Big film distributors/exhibitors have been trying to release Dangal in the flagship cinemas, such as CineStar in Lahore and other areas. Although the ban is set to lift, it is still unclear if Dangal and the many films that are slated to release will be aired.
Indian Motion Pictures Producers’ Association, (IMPPA)’s decision after the Uri attacks has been impacting the Pakistani economy, to say the least. Movies such as Freaky Ali and Pink are starting to show in the cinemas, although the films are not current.
It is clear, however, that the cinema owners are testing the waters with releasing older unreleased films. Negotiations are being carried out with distributors in India, to foresee the future of the proposed cinematic collaboration by Pakistan.