Screening of all Indian films suspended by Pakistan cinemas

KARACHI – The majority stake holders comprising of cinema owners and distributors of Pakistan film industry have decided to suspend the exhibition of all Indian films in Pakistan with immediate effect.

The decision has been taken after Indian Motion Pictures Producers Association (IMPPA) passed a resolution to ban Pakistani Stars and technicians to work in India, after an escalation of violence in disputed Kashmir between the two South Asian neighbours.

Tension between India and Pakistan has been high since an Indian security forces crackdown on protesting Kashmiris in Occupied Kashmir began in July. Relations worsened in September after militants killed 18 soldiers in a raid on an Indian army base, an attack New Delhi blames on Pakistan.

“We have stopped screening Indian movies at our cinemas from Friday till the situation improves and normalcy returns,” said Nadeem Mandviwalla, whose Mandviwalla Entertainment runs eight cinemas in Karachi and the capital, Islamabad.

India said on Thursday it had carried out “surgical strikes” in Azad Kashmir, a claim that Pakistan condemned and denied.

The Indian Motion Picture Producers’ Association (IMPPA), a small filmmakers’ body, on Thursday banned their members from hiring Pakistani actors. Mandviwalla and other cinema owners said the ban in Pakistan was also in response to IMPPA’s move.

Indian media reported that a leader of regional right-wing party, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, last week gave Pakistani actors 48 hours to leave India or faced being “pushed out”.

The party, which was not available for comment, is one of two hardline parties based in Mumbai that has regularly called for Pakistani artists to be banned from working in India.

Indian films are spectacularly popular both at the cinema and on bootlegged DVDs in Pakistan.

Pakistan’s domestic film industry has seen a revival in recent years, but is dwarfed by India’s Bollywood. Pakistani actors have increasingly been appearing in big budget Bollywood films in the last few years.

Some Indian actors came to the defense of their Pakistani counterparts.

“They are artists. These are two different subjects. They were terrorists, these are artists. What do you think, artists are terrorists?” Salman Khan, one of Bollywood’s biggest stars, told reporters when asked if Pakistani actors should be forced out.

Khurram Gultasab, general manager at Super Cinemas, which runs ten cinemas in cities across Pakistan’s Punjab province, confirmed his group would also not be screening Indian films.

“I think we should show solidarity with our army engaged at very hot borders right now and secondly with our actors,” said Gultasab. He said the move had been made by cinema owners themselves, rather than on government directions.

Other Pakistani cinemas posted on social media saying they would not be showing Indian films after Thursday’s violence.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>