Banning Indian films in Pakistan is likely to hit business in local theatres and boost the piracy industry, say theatre owners in Pakistan.
Last week, Pakistani cinemas collectively declared an indefinite ban on the screening of Indian movies, owing to the rising tensions between India and Pakistan. Tensions escalated after a militant terror attack in Uri, Kashmir, in which several Indian soldiers were killed. The Indian army responded with strikes on terrorist launchpads in POK. Meanwhile, Indian film producers, led by the Indian Motion Pictures Producers Association, banned actors, sings, and technicians from working in Bollywood. The move has affected singer Rahat Ali Khan and actor Fawad Khan.
Read: IMPPA Bans Pakistani Artistes From Working In Indian Film Industry
According to a Dawn report, cinema owners in Pakistan are of the opinion that while the decision to ban Indian films was taken to “show solidarity with our army and Pakistani actors,” it will affect the film industry in both countries.
Khorem Gultasab, General Manager of SuperCinema, Lahore said, “The suspension of Bollywood films was provoked due to the Indian Motion Picture Producers Association’s (IMMP) ban on local talent. Naturally, we were bound to take action on two accounts: 1) to show solidarity with our army; and 2) to show solidarity with our Pakistani actors.” He pointed out that Pakistan was a sizeable market for Indian films, “50-60 percent of the revenue generation in Pakistani cinemas came from Bollywood movies. Pakistan is the third largest market for Indian films.”
According to the report, reruns of old Pakistani films along with current films are now running in cinemas. The lifespan of a Pakistani film is normally one to two weeks. Last year, 15 Pakistani films were released. Six films have been released this year, of which three flopped.
“Pakistan and India are neighbours, and they will be, they are not going away anywhere. If they cannot be friends, they need to learn to co-exist,” Gultasab told the Dawn.
Nadeem Mandviwalla, owner of Atrium Cinema in Karachi and Centaurus cinema, said that in the long run the ban on Indian films will only hurt legitimate business. He said, “The winner is the pirate.”
“We did this because of IMPPA’s resolution. We (stakeholders) had to respond quickly. There was no time to call a meeting to discuss. The trade association is supposed to improve relations, not destroy them. It will hurt them, it will hurt us,” he said.