The ban on Indian films by owners of Pakistani cinemas in response to the Indian ban on Pakistani actors can only boost piracy, industry insiders say.
Last week, Pakistani cinemas declared an indefinite ban on the screening of Indian movies following the Indian Film Association’s ban on Pakistani talent in Bollywood, the Dawn reported on Wednesday. Khorem Gultasab, General Manager of Super Cinema, Lahore, said 50-60 per cent of the revenue generation in Pakistani cinemas came from Bollywood movies.
But the ban decision was taken to “show solidarity with our army and our Pakistani actors”, he was quoted as saying. Pakistan is the third largest market for Indian films, he added.
Now re-runs of old Pakistani films are hitting cinemas along with current films. But Gultasab admitted that Pakistani cinemas can’t survive on Pakistani films alone. According to him, the lifespan of any Pakistani film was one week while a blockbuster would last two weeks.
Fifteen Pakistani films were released last year. This year, six films have been released, of which three flopped. Like many, Gultasab hopes the ban on Indian movies is lifted soon, local media reported.
“Pakistan and India are neighbours, and they will be, they are not going away anywhere. If they cannot be friends, they need to learn to co-exist,” local media quoted him as saying.
Nadeem Mandviwalla, owner of Atrium Cinema in Karachi and Centaurus cinema, said the ban on Indian films will, in the long run, hurt legitimate business. “The winner is the pirate.”
Bollywood flicks Pink, Baar Baar Dekho and Mohenjo Daro were playing at Cineplex before they were removed. And Mirzya and Shivaay won’t be released.