LAHORE: As Eid approaches, confusion is increasing among film circles about whether or not Indian movies will be allowed screening in Pakistani cinemas.
Cinema owners and film distributors are campaigning to convince the ministry of culture not to ban the screening of Indian movies while Lollywood film producers and directors are in no mood to show any leniency on the subject.
Two main groups of the film industry - United Film Association led by Amjad Farzand Ali and Film Federation of Pakistan led by Sangeeta - are both unanimously opposing the screening of Bollywood films on Eid.
Minister of Culture Aftab Jillani has announced the ban on foreign films to stay as long as Lollywood manages to release four new films on the occasion.
Surprisingly, the two groups of Pakistani film industry have joined hands in opposing the screening of foreign films, but still remain divided on the lines of Lollywood’s revival. Talking to The Express Tribune Farzand reiterated that his association will not support the screening of Indian movies. “We convinced the minister of culture to take this step. We were the ones who had convinced him a few years ago to allow the screening of Indian movies. Now, when cinema owners and distributors have earned a lot, they should do something to promote their own film industry as well,” he maintained.
Farzand believes that the film industry will manage to release four Pakistani films. Some sources, on the other hand, told The Express Tribune that three of these films were old and could not be released in the past. Only one film by Sangeeta is ready to be screened, sources added.
When asked why there was confusion among film circles about the films set to hit theatres this September, Farzand replied, “We don’t have any confusion. We are committed [to make sure] that only Pakistani movies should be screened on Eid.”
Director Sangeeta said that she also supported the ban on screening of Indian films around Eid. “This is a high time for our industry and people as well. We will try to provide entertainment to our people on Eid through our movies and will oppose the screening of Indian movies on this day of happiness,” she said.
While the bigwigs of Lollywood are determined to get the screening of Indian films banned, Film Exhibitors Association Pakistan Chairman Zoraiz Lashari is trying his best to ensure that these films make it to cinemas. “There is one point to understand. If two of the movies being released on Eid are Punjabi, what are the cinemas going to screen? We are in favour of Pakistani movies but the government shouldn’t deprive us from our income on Eid which is one of the biggest days for our business,” he said.
Lashari believes that the government will reconsider its decision, to lift the ban, but had no definite answer whether or not he will succeed in his efforts.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 21st, 2010.
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