Cinemas owners across Pakistan are all set to lift the self-imposed ban on Indian films and will start screening movies from December 19.
Speaking to media Chairman Film Exhibitors Association Zoraiz Lashari confirmed that cinema owners would begin screening Indian films across Pakistan from December 19 (Monday).
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“The cinema business has been hit immensely and all stakeholders felt it was the right time to begin screening Indian films. It was always a self-imposed suspension, not a ban. So I’ll be releasing Freaky Ali in our cinemas and other cinema owners will follow suit,” said Lashari
The cinema houses’ owners said that they had only suspended the screening of Indian films but had not completely banned them.
“The suspension that was in place will be lifted on December 19,” confirmed Nadeem Mandviwala of Atrium cinemas.
He added that movies which were missed and could not be screened due to the suspension will be screened first.
“We lifted the suspension as a cinema guild. We took this decision because we would like to support them (Indian cinemas) and expect them to support us,” said Aadil Mandviwala, Director Mandviwala Entertainment.
“It takes two hands to clap, it does not matter if one hand is bigger or smaller. At the end of the day, its the clapping that counts. This is the message that we want India to hear,” added Aadil.
The first film to be screened will be actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s Freaky Ali.
Meanwhile, an owner of a film distributing company, requesting anonymity, said the move was to pave way for a big release by a private media group in the country. “A big media group and film exhibitors and distributors in India are trying to release Dangal in Pakistan. They are testing public sentiments and also the government’s reaction by releasing Freaky Ali at CineStar cinema,” he added.
On September 30, the management of Pakistani cinemas, announced their decision to indefinitely cease the screening of all Indian films as a protest against the ban of Pakistani artists in India and to show solidarity with the armed forces of Pakistan.
The move to suspend screening of Indian movies came as a tit for tat move after the Indian Motion Picture Producers Association (IMPPA) banned Pakistani actors, singers and technicians from working in India till “normalcy” returns.
India’s hard-line party Shiv Sena’s chief Raj Thackeray had also asked to suppress Pakistan actors, saying “with a population of 1.5 billion, we don’t need them”.
Indian movies returned to Pakistani cinema houses in 2008 after a 43-year-long hiatus imposed during the 1965 war.