No ban on Indian films… yet

Ali Usman July 28, 2010

LAHORE: Film distributors and cinema owners have reacted sharply to a proposed decision to block the release of Indian films this Eid.

The Federal Minister for Culture Pir Aftab Shah Jilani announced on Tuesday that Indian movies may not be screened on Eid if four Pakistani movies are released. This has caused consternation amongst affected groups. Distributors and cinema owners said that the government should take this risk on its own by hiring cinema houses as they cannot afford to lose millions of rupees in their peak earning days of the year.

They said that Eid is an occasion when people thronged cinemas and Pakistani movies didn’t have a track record of doing great business during the holiday. Pakistan Film Exhibitors Association Chairman Zoraiz Lashari termed the proposal as ‘unfair’.

“It seems as if the honorable minister has looked at only those aspects which the film directors wanted him to look at. The cinemas in Sindh don’t screen Punjabi movies. If two of the four movies being released in Karachi are Punjabi what will they do?”

“In Punjab we have lot of cinemas and Cineplex which don’t have an audience for Punjabi films. I own two cinemas in Lahore, if I buy one print of a movie what will I screen in my other cinemas. Cineplex has five shows and how will they manage with one or two Urdu movies?” Lashari asked.

Currently there are 14 cinemas in Lahore and many of them including DHA Cinema, Sozoworld, Cine Star and Cine Gold don’t screen Punjabi movies. “We are ready to give shows to Pakistani movies but the government should not bind us to stick only to them. The film industry should compete with good work instead of creating a monopoly,” he said. Lashari added that they were trying to meet with the federal minister and would brief him on the subject.

Nadeem Mandviwalla, a known film distributor and the owner of DHA Cinema, said that the decision of banning the screening of Indian movies on Eid was not justified and should not be taken.

However, United Film Association Chairman Amjad Farzand Ali applauded the announcement, adding that the film industry was more important than the business generated by Indian films. “Cinemas show Indian movies throughout the year, why is it wrong if they screen our own films on Eid?”

Filmmaker Sangeeta also supported the decision and told The Express Tribune that her production Haseeno Ka Mela, which was filmed in Dubai, will be released on Eid. The other three films which are likely to be released on Eid include Vohti Ley Ke Jani Ay, a Punjabi film by Syed Noor, Lado Rani, a Punjabi film by Soodi Butt and Sooraj Barsaey Phool by Nasir Adeeb. Bollywood films that are releasing in India during Eid, and which would possibly see a Pakistan release, include Action Replayy, Kajraare, We Are Family and Dabangg.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 29th, 2010.


saad | 11 years ago | Reply the (begging) govt would think twice about banning indian movies as it (badly) needs entertainment tax (read money money money) the kind which it is getting from allowing the release of indian films not from saima- syed noor-shaan-reema-muamar tamashas.
satsuma | 11 years ago | Reply let people watch what they want. have an indian,urdu and punjabi movie run at the same cinema. the occupancy ratio will make it crystal clear what the people want. deal with the competition pakistani movies suck and thats the TRUTH !!!!
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