CINEMA operators in Pakistan will resume the screening of Indian movies following a two-month self-imposed ban linked to the Kashmir conflict.
Nadeem Mandliwala, a board member of the Pakistan Film Exhibitors Association, said Sunday that the group wanted to “lodge a protest” to India and felt that the message had been sent.
Nadeem, who owns nearly a dozen cinemas in Karachi and Islamabad, said the decision to boycott the films came in response to a similar move by the Indian film industry.
Tensions have soared in recent months over fighting in Kashmir, a divided Himalayan territory claimed by both nuclear-armed rivals.
Despite the decades-old rivalry, Pakistanis flock to Bollywood films, and several Pakistani musicians and artists help make them.
According to the New Indian Express, (via Dawn online) the cinema operators began their indefinite suspension of Indian movies on Sept 30 in response to the ban of Pakistani artists in India following an attack on an army base in bordering Kashmir in which 19 soldiers were killed.
The move was made in response to the Indian Motion Picture Producers’ Association’s imposed ban on the hiring of Pakistani actors, singers, and technicians for Indian films.
Although Indian movies were generally not screened since the suspension, the cinema operators did allow some Bollywood content to be screened.
Cinema owners now say the movies that were affected by the suspension would be screened first.
“We lifted the suspension as a cinema guild. We took this decision to support them (Indian cinemas) and expect them to support us,” the New Indian Express quoted a cinema owner as saying.
The cinema owner said the lifting of the suspension would see actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s film “Freaky Ali” be screened first.
Prior to the suspension, Indian film-makers had imposed a ban against Pakistani actors from acting in films produced in Bollywood.
The self-imposed boycott by the Pakistani cinema owners dealt a massive blow to their businesses as Bollywood films were popular in Pakistan.
Pakistani cinema houses began screening Indian movies in 2008 after a 43-year long hiatus was lifted following a ban imposed during the 1965 war, New Indian Express reported.
Additional reporting by Associated Press