The Pakistan-India dispute has ignited a lot of animosity amongst people residing on both sides of the border, particularly Indians, who came up with really harsh and intense remarks about Pakistan. This naturally affected cultural exchange between the two states, resulting in a blanket ban on Pakistani artists working in India.
In light of aforementioned situation, exhibitors in Pakistan decided to stop showing Bollywood films in cinemas across Pakistan. While we know it is a huge loss for cinema houses and ultimately hinders growth of our film industry, it is perhaps the right decision for the time being.
“Considering the current scenario, I feel the ban is justified,” Nabeel Qureshi told Instep on the sidelines of a recent event. “Whether it is business or cultural exchange, dignity comes first. If some people are calling you terrorists or aren’t giving you the respect you give to them then nothing matters more than your country.”
“The situation will probably get better in the coming months and Bollywood films will come back to cinemas, just like the last time,” he added. When asked if local cinema can survive without these films, he responded, “It all depends on what we do to compensate it. There was a time when there were no Bollywood films running in our cinemas then we started showing them so we can’t say whether we can survive without them or not. It depends on how much we, as filmmakers, as well as exhibitors and distributors are willing to invest in cinema. If we ban Indian films completely, the first two to three years will be challenging but then we will be on track.”
He also shared that in 2018, Pakistani films made more money than Indian films that didn’t do really well at the box office except Sanju and Padmaavat. Speaking on the subject, Humayun Saeed added, “It’s their (Indian) stupidity as they banned our artists so we had to maintain our dignity too. Our exhibitors banned their films, which is ultimately not good for our cinema.” “I hope our audience doesn’t stop going to cinemas and our producers make more and more films,” he continued. This isn’t the first time Bollywood films have been banned in Pakistan and there have been multiple reasons varying from India banning our artists to the idea of promoting local films. Let’s see how long the ban stays this time and what consequences our cinemas face, if any, due to this