Pakistan lifts ban on two Indian films

Published on Jan 23, 2006 07:19 PM IST

The 40-year-long ban on screening of Indian films in Pakistan has been lifted after Islamabad permitted public screening of two Bollywood movies.

HT Image
HT Image
None | ByVijay Dutt, London

The 40-year-long ban on the screening of Indian films in Pakistan has been lifted after Islamabad permitted the public screening of Sohni Mahiwal, a 1984 classic based on popular Punjabi love legend and K.Asif's magnum opus Mughal-e-Azam. President Pervez Musharraf had been presented a copy of Asif's film last year when he was on an official visit to London.

According to reports, his office had later said that Mughal-e-Azam would be allowed for screening at an appropriate time. But a few months ago the Pakistani Prime Minister had said that there were many issues involved and it would not be possible to lift the ban on India films imposed after the 1965 war. But the ban has now been lifted for the two films.

The movies have been allowed, it s said, as a further gesture towards building goodwill between the two countries. The Censor Board in Pakistan has deleted the words, 'Indian artiste' and 'Indian director' from the guidelines, which prevented release of Indian film in Pakistan.

Film industry sources here told HT that the lifting of the ban on the two movies might be attributed to the continuing good relations between India and Pakistan but it should be relevant to note that the film distribution and cinema industry in general suffered badly in Pakistan since the ban. Also despite the ban millions saw Indian movies aired on cable networks, almost from the day a movie would be released in Mumbai and Delhi.

The number of cinema houses went down in these years of the ban from 1300 to 270 at present. This is why the Pak film industry had been campaigning for the screening of Indian movies.

The two film have been allowed but sources hinted that some kind of ban would continue, particularly to pre-empt Islamic elements from starting their movement branding the Indian films un-Islamic. They do not like the impact of Indian film on the culture on the people in Pakistan. 

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