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Pakistan's Punjabi filmmakers eye Bollywood

Critics, however, have strong doubts about the success of Pakistan-made celluloid projects in India because of "the Hindu mentality".

india Updated: May 19, 2006 12:26 IST

While unsure of the success of Urdu films in Indian theatres, Pakistani filmmakers believe their Punjabi movies could make it big in Bollywood country.

Culture Minister GG Jamal has said the issue of exchange of films between the two countries would be raised in a meeting of secretaries scheduled for June. The government is interested in Pakistani films being screened in India, he said.

The minister said he had recently met filmmakers from Lahore who were dissatisfied with the quality of films they were producing, many of them in Urdu. They asked how they could expect business in India under the circumstances.

Jamal, however, said regional language films from Pakistan had scope in India and Punjabi movies in particular could be successful in the Indian state of Punjab.

At the same time, Jamal said, the feasibility of Pakistani films in India was a secondary issue linked to political developments.

Film producer Shehzad Rafique said the Pakistan film industry should forget the "bitter past" and revive relationships with the Indian film industry.

Agreeing with Jamal, Rafique also betted on Pakistan-made Punjabi films as a number of these have apparently been remade in the Indian state of Punjab like Heer Ranjha, Nikkah, Maula Jaat, Sher Khan, Sala Sahab and Dhee Rani.

He said Pakistani Punjabi films had great scope as Indian Punjabi filmmakers were not producing good films. Pakistani films could be commercially successful in India with better marketing, he said.

Jahanzaib Baig, chairman of the Film Exhibitors Association, said exchanging films was a confidence building measure (CBM) and a political issue and so commercial viability of Pakistani films in India was of no significance.

But he too shared the view that Punjabi films had scope, mainly in Indian Punjab.

Rasheed Sajid, chairman of the Film Writers Association, however, had strong doubts about the success of Pakistan-made celluloid projects in India because of "the Hindu mentality" prevalent there, he told the Daily Times newspaper.

Indian films were earning billions of rupees all over the world and did not need Pakistani films, he added.