The Aamir Khan starrer Bollywood thriller, Ghajini is not only a hit among the Indians but also proving to be a great crowd puller at the Pakistani cinemas as well.
“I loved this movie, not just because it was made in India but because we don''''t produce such quality stuff here,” Muhammad Salim said after watching the flick.
Screening of a Bollywood film would not have been possible just a year ago, as Pakistan had barred films from its rival neighbour for more than 40 years. And lifting the ban only benefited the loss-stricken Pakistani cinema halls, the Dawn reports.
But the latest India threat to suspend all the cross-border business ties in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks could spell doom for the Pakistani cinema business.
“The entire industry is looking at fresh tensions between India and Pakistan with great worry. We are certainly anxious to see how the situation develops,” said Nadeem Mandviwala of Pakistan''''s association of film exhibitors.
Bollywood stars are very popular in Pakistan, courtesy of the pirated videos and DVDs for decades until the ban was lifted. Pakistani tabloids are filled with gossip about Indian film stars, but Pakistani filmmakers don’t consider the trend to be unhealthy for them.
“Indian movies will not obliterate the Pakistani film industry. They will encourage the production of good quality movies here. The stiff competition from Bollywood would eventually force authorities to change censorship policy, allowing the production of domestic films with sensitive themes,” Jehanzeb Baig, a cinema operator in Lahore said.
A Pakistani cultural ministry official source said that the government had no plans to reinstate the ban on Indian films in response to the ongoing row with New Delhi.
“Pakistan wants stability in the region and banning Indian films could enhance mistrust that is something that our leaders do not want to do at present,'''' he said.