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Salim-Anarkali?s date with Pakistan

Colour version of Mughal-e-Azam is first Indian film in 40 years to get a big screen release in Pakistan.

india Updated: Feb 18, 2006 19:44 IST

Director K Asif ’s magnum opus, Mughal-e-Azam, will soon be released in Pakistan in its restored colour version.

The timeless tale of love and sacrifice, revolving around Emperor Akbar, Prince Salim and his beloved Anarkali, will be the first film in 40 years to get the green light from the government of Pakistan. The film was cleared by the Pakistani censor board, the Central Board of Film Censors, Islamabad, on February 11.

In Pakistan, the film will be released through one of the leading distributors of the country, Nadeem Mandviwalla of Mandviwalla Entertainment. Talking to HT Style, Mandviwalla informs that the film will be released with 25 prints.

“It’s a great gesture by President Musharraf. In December 2004, Akbar Asif, K Asif ’s son, had presented the film to the President for a screening in Pakistan. It’s gracious of him that he has given his consent to the screening of the film here now.” Mandviwalla also mentions the comment made by Ziauddin, the chairman of CBFC, Islamabad, who said, “I can only certify this film and not censor it.”

The film has been passed for a one-time screening only, making it the fourth Indian film to be screened in Pakistan.

Looking at the bigger issue, Mandviwalla says that it’s a great beginning in the process of legitimising the release of Indian films in Pakistan.

“Watching Indian films in Pakistan is no issue, thanks to pirated CDs. Bollywood films can be found in almost every Pakistani household. Hence, there’s no reason why legalised screenings of these films shouldn’t be allowed.” Talking about Mughale-Azam, Mandviwalla says, “The censors have mentioned CDV (coloured digital version) next to the title, which means that the restored colour version, which was released in India in 2004, will be shown in Pakistan.” The film is expected to hit the screens in April or May.

Indian films have been banned in Pakistan since the 1965 war between the two countries. Since then, the only Indian films cleared by the Pakistani censors are Noor Jehan (in 1981), Kashish (in 1982) and Sohni Mahiwal (in 2006). Recent reports suggest that Akbar Khan’s Taj Mahal might also find favour in Pakistan.

First Published: Feb 18, 2006 19:44 IST