Bollywood reacts to positive move from Pakistan: Cultural space must be kept alive

Updated: Dec 19, 2016, 17:04 IST | Sonil Dedhia and Mohar Basu

Pakistan, theatre owners' move to resume screening of Indian films, starting with 'Dangal', has been welcomed by the Bollywood fraternity

A still from Dangal, likely to be the first film to play in Pak post ban
A still from Dangal, likely to be the first film to play in Pak post ban

Pakistan, theatre owners' move to resume screening of Indian films, starting with 'Dangal', has been welcomed by the Bollywood fraternity.

Filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt, who has launched many a Pakistani artiste in his productions, said, "Banning Indian films reflected the shortsightedness of the Pakistan Film Federation. It was reckless of them to indulge in politics. Because of their decision [not to screen Hindi films], their theatres were shutting down. Our contribution to their industry was immense and that boosted their business much more than indigenous content could. Eventually, one can't deny the countries are tied culturally and emotionally."

Asked if Bollywood should also reciprocate by lifting the ban on Pakistani artistes, Bhatt said he would like that, but he feels his opinion may not count since he is "in the minority". "The idea of it could incur the wrath of political parties. The Central government has to come up with a solution, if they wish to rebuild relations razed to the ground prior to the release of Ae Dil Hai Mushkil. In my opinion, cultural space must be kept alive; the government needs to deal with terrorism in a different way," he added.

Nitin Datar, vice president, Film Federation of India, lauded the move, calling it a "symbiotically beneficial move". "Now, even their theatre owners will benefit hugely from the release of our films as they were suffering huge losses by not screening Indian films. Here, with a massive cash crunch, a little extra money from across the border will help stabilise the income of our producers."

Ameya Khopkar, who heads the film wing of MNS that warned Bollywood filmmakers against working with Pak talent, said, "We are not concerned about their decision. Pakistan has always created havoc in our country. Till terror attacks don't stop completely, we are not going to relent."

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