Hindustan Times (Patna) - Live - - Front Page - Prashant Singh

Cinemas in the neigh­bour­ing coun­try run empty with­out Hindi films

What’s com­mon to Naam Sha­bana, Jolly LLB 2, Raees, Ek Tha Tiger and Raan­jhanaa? All these films weren’t re­leased in Pak­istan — mainly be­cause they were banned. The lat­est one to be banned is Begum Jaan, star­ring Vidya Balan (right), as Pak­istan re­port­edly doesn’t al­low the en­try of any film on Par­ti­tion.

Other re­cent films that didn’t hit Pak­istani theatres in­clude Dishoom, Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, Shivaay, and MS Dhoni: The Un­told Story. While Pak­istani au­di­ences have al­ways lapped up Bol­ly­wood films, of late, Hindi films have been re­peat­edly run­ning into rough weather in the neigh­bour­ing coun­try. In the past four years, over a dozen Bol­ly­wood films have been banned in Pak­istan for of­fend­ing some sen­si­bil­ity or the other — it could be a plot around ter­ror­ism, or sex­u­al­ity in the film’s con­tent.

Most no­tably, Aamir Khan re­fused to re­lease his film Dan­gal in Pak­istan af­ter the au­thor­i­ties there de­manded that he cut out scenes fea­tur­ing the In­dian flag and na­tional an­them.

Pak­istan is the third­biggest for­eign mar­ket for In­dian films — the in­dus­try re­port­edly makes around `65 crore a year from there, af­ter the US and the United Arab Emi­rates. And for Pak­istani theatres, Bol­ly­wood movies bring 70 per cent of their rev­enues.

Raees di­rec­tor Rahul Dho­lakia says that he was “re­ally sur­prised” with the ban on his film. “I’m sure Pak­istani fans wanted to watch Shah Rukh Khan and Mahira Khan. It’s un­eth­i­cal to ban any film any­where in the world,” he says.

Trade an­a­lyst Taran Adarsh says, “The loss is on both sides; in fact, more so in Pak­istan. Their ex­hibitors-dis­trib­u­tors need Bol­ly­wood films to pull in au­di­ences.”

“The loss is way big­ger on the other side. Pak­istani theatres get al­most 70 per cent of their rev­enues from Hindi films. In case of a ban, they run empty,” says ex­hibitor-dis­trib­u­tor Ak­shaye Rathi, adding that “our armed forces and coun­try” are “way above a mar­ginal eco­nomic loss” for the In­dian film in­dus­try.


Dan­gal Raees

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