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Bonded by music

Despite a ban on Bollywood music, Hindi film songs are popular in Pakistan.

music Updated: Oct 18, 2005 19:45 IST

Serious statecraft may currently be the order of day as far as the foreign ministers of Pakistan and India are concerned, but for the man on the street in the Pakistan capital, its the melodious hits from Bollywood that rule his head and heart.

A Pakistan Government ban on Bollywood songs notwithstanding, Hindi film songs are still extremely popular here.

A visit to the food court located behind the hotel where the visiting Indian media has been put up for the duration of Foreign Minister Natwar Singh's three-day visit to Pakistan takes you back in time.

Popular numbers of Mohammad Rafi, Lata Mangeshkar, Kishore Kumar and Talat Mehmood to name a few are being belted out with regularity, creating a relaxed ambience.

The songs can also be heard at restaurants, coffee shops and the local super markets and bazars. The Lucknavi Andaz is all too apparent at the entrance of the food court, when two gentlemen dressed in such attire greet guests arriving their for a hot lunch or dinner.

A visit to the Melody or the Jinnah Super Markets in downtown Islamabad can see locals as well as visiting Indians or expats making a beeline for DVDs or VCDs of Bollywood films or music, most of which are quite affordable.

When we asked some locals about a new film release, their reply was "We see Bollywood much before in India. There is great craze about movies here. People here are very keen to see and meet Bollywood film stars or attend their stage shows whenever they are held in Pakistan.

First Published: Oct 04, 2005 21:00 IST