Bollywood filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt feels that steady, subtle infiltration of Indian cinema into Pakistani households is one of the reasons which has kept both countries from an all out war.
Speaking in Panaji on Wednesday to announce the launch of the South Asian Film Festival (SAFF) being held here June 26-29, Bhatt said that the medium of storytelling automatically dissolved political boundaries.
"Even the Indian government has woken up to this soft power of Indian films. Our cinema has definitely made inroads into Pakistani homes," said Bhatt, the SAFF brand ambassador.
He also said that Pakistan had also realised that the commercial and technical prowess of Indian cinema was not something that could not be ignored any longer.
"The exhibition industry in Pakistan has realised that without India's technical endorsement, the film market there will crash without fail," Bhatt said.
The SAFF is expected to screen more than 60 films from eight South Asian countries namely Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka as well as India, with a special thrust on Iranian films.
"We live in dangerous times and we need a collective regional response to terrorism," Bhatt said, adding that the medium of cinema was one way of bringing peoples across south Asian together to battle the menace.
The festival will be inaugurated June 26 with a special musical performance by the cast and crew of Bhatt's upcoming film "Jashnn". Starring Adhyayan Suman, Anjana Sukhani and Shahana Goswami, the film was largely shot in Goa. It also stars Pakistani actor Humayun Saeed.
"Renowned film personalities like Prasanna Vithanage, Fathimath Nahula, Enamul Nirjhar, Nakim Uddin will also be attending the SAFF," secretary general of SAFF Rahul Barua said, adding that a seminar will also be held during SAFF, which will be attended by various directors and actors from the participating countries.