Decision to screen new Indian films will be taken on Wednesday

Decision to screen new Indian films will be taken on Wednesday

One cinema owner said that business had dropped 80 per cent since the ban was imposed
Updated 19 Dec, 2016

ISLAMABAD: Cinema owners will decide on Wednesday whether to lift the ban on screening new Indian movies, Centaurus Marketing and Call Centre Supervisor Anil Altaf said.

He said Cineplex has decided to screen already released Indian movies and the decision regarding new films will take longer as a lot of people are involved in the process of importing a film.

Pakistani cinema owners had in September decided not to show Indian movies until the tension between India and Pakistan on the Line of Control dissipates.

The decision to ban films from across the border was made after the Indian Motion Picture Producers Association banned Pakistani artists from working in Indian films.

Mr Altaf said the decision to not show Indian movies has affected business and fewer shows are put on each day, but cinemas have not decided to downsize as yet.

Also read: Pakistani cinemas will screen Iranian and Turkish films to fill void

He said Cineplex had five movie screens in the mall, including a VIP theatre with 12 seats, two larger halls of 175 seats each and two small halls with 72 seats each.

“There is a lot of demand for Indian movies and till two months ago, when Indian movies were still screened, we used to have full house at all the screenings. We would put five shows a day and six on the weekends, because we would get requests for an additional show,” he said.

“But because we are only showing western and Pakistani movies, we only put on four shows a day and only have a full house on some weekends. People only come to the cinema now when a popular Pakistani or a western movie is playing. If a Pakistani movie flops, we do not have another movie to replace it with now because a limited number of Pakistani films are released each year,” he explained.

Cineplex decides to screen already released Indian movies, CD shop owners see boost in Indian film sales since the ban Investors are now reluctant to open cinemas in the country and are waiting to see if the ban on Indian films is lifted before they invest money in a movie theatre, he said.

Cinema owners in Rawalpindi are also starting to build pressure on the association to lift the ban on Indian movies.

“Our business has been affected as we only screen western and Pakistani films, the audience for which is not that large,” said Mohammad Kaleem, operations manager at Cine Gold in Bahria Town.

He said cinemas had to spend a lot on advertising in order to get people to watch Pakistani movies.

“We screen western and Pakistani films as well as cartoons, but are only able to put on two shows a day,” he added.

One of the oldest cinemas in Rawalpindi, Ciros Cinema has also reduced the number of shows from four to two and has had to cancel shows because there were not that many people attending.

Also read: Banning Indian films in Pakistan will only bolster piracy, say local cinema owners

The owner of the cinema, Manzar Sheikh, told Dawn that business had dropped 80pc since the ban had been imposed.

“We also had to cancel shows on the weekends because only four or five people turned up in a hall meant for 500 people,” he said.

Mr Sheikh explained that Pakistani films are seen as an extension of the regular dramas and that Indian films are thought to be more entertaining and glamorous.

“Ordinary people want to watch Indian movies and the viewership for western movies is very limited,” he said.

Owner of Khursheed Cinema, Syed Ali Raza, on the other hand said that Pakistani cinema owners should encourage Pakistani films.

“Cinema houses should also screen Pakistani movies including Urdu, Punjabi and Pashto ones and limit the number of shows for Indian movies,” he said.

Mr Raza said his cinema house was located in the middle of Rawalpindi and that many people from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa come to the movie theatre to see Pashto movies.

“It was a good decision by the association to stop showing Indian movies on the silver screen,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Pakistan Electronic Media Authority (Pemra) also banned cable operators from airing Indian movies, which has led to an increase in the sale of Indian movies on compact discs from movie shops.

A shopkeeper in Khayaban-i-Sir Syed, Khalid Mehmood, said that for many years now, his biggest sales were from software CDs and that since the ban on Indian movies, the sale of Indian film CDs has increased.

CD shop owners in Raja Bazaar are also experiencing an increase in sales and whole sale CD dealers have established shops in the markets across the city.

A wholesaler at Imperial Market, Awais Anjum, told Dawn that his CD business had picked up since the ban on Indian content.

A resident of Chaklala Scheme III, Iqbal Hussein, disagreed with the ban on Indian content and said people should have the right to chose what they want to watch.

“The ban cannot really be effective because viewers can still access Indian content via the Internet. People love watching Indian movies and dramas and Pakistani movies are usually copies of Indian films,” said Mohsin Malik, a resident of Westridge.

Originally published in Dawn December 19th, 2016


Riyadh Dec 19, 2016 09:57am
Please check whether they also allow our films to be screened in India or authorise our artists to work their without any fear. Only then should you allow their films to be screened here.
Superstar Dec 19, 2016 10:04am
Right time for Indian govt to ban Indian producers from showing their movies in Pakistan. On one hand you sponsor terrorism and kill our people, and on the other you want to enjoy Indian movies.
Ramesh Nakhwa Dec 19, 2016 10:09am
What will they do ??? The market of around PKR 500 Million has come down to zero. The Turkish and Chinese films do not bring an audience. Its dubbed but its alien culture. When will the administration understand this??
Alba Dec 19, 2016 10:26am
No one can possibly be surprised that the business has dropped by 80%.
Jn Dec 19, 2016 11:05am
Moral of the story - do not bite more than you can chew!
Vivaan SINGH Dec 19, 2016 11:15am
Pakistan should be ban bollywood forever ..!!
D&d Dec 19, 2016 11:25am
Just in two months, lesson learned, hopefully will see better action plan in future.
malik Dec 19, 2016 11:38am
We can always watch English movies rather then watching indian movies. People remember what indians did with Fawad Khan! Indians are insecure people. Its about time that we should start investing in our movies. Because we are more talented and better looking then indians and they know it.
IND-WB Dec 19, 2016 12:28pm
Truth has been spoken.
ashish Dec 19, 2016 12:49pm
@malik Ofc ,its been now more 60 YEARS,When you people are thinking to do that ,also do letus know whats the parameter for good looking .
SJ Dec 19, 2016 01:04pm
@malik More talented, then how come you guys are losers in every fields?
prince Dec 19, 2016 02:01pm
@malik Pakistanis are better looking... I will agree partially.. Pakistani women are really gorgeous. Talented... really ? Where... in sports, education, science and technology, films, music, writing... ? How come you are consuming/lagging behind Indian content in most of these fields. Malikbhai, recognizing the truth is the first step towards improvement. Peace.
Dynamitge Dec 19, 2016 02:42pm
@Ramesh Nakhwa - Chinese is not Alien culture for Pakistan......CPEC..... friendship which is higher than the Himalayas, deeper than the Mariana trench , no democracy in either countries etc etc... Pakistan have more in common with China than with any other Country.
SJ Dec 19, 2016 03:10pm
@Dynamitge So true
Chill Man Dec 19, 2016 03:40pm
@Riyadh ... I am an Indian and absolutely support you. (read the hint)
Awesome Lyrics Dec 19, 2016 03:56pm
To revive the income of the theaters we should play TV dramas, arabic movies, chinese content. With CPEC starting more chinese would want to entertain themself by watching their movies in our cinema
prince Dec 19, 2016 05:11pm
There is a misconception about ban on Pakistani content in India. There is no such ban from government. Only a group of producers have announced that they will not work with Pakistani artists. Hopefully that will get reversed too. If there's a great content in form of movies, songs, short films... the same can be freely distributed in India. There's a huge market with rich audience sitting right next to Pakistan. Pakistani talent should take advantage of it rather than bickering.
kash Dec 19, 2016 05:16pm
Don't do it. Ban should stay.
Dynamitge Dec 19, 2016 05:26pm
@malik - Yes sir, totally, fully, confoundedly, politically , constipatedly agree with you 100%.
Opti Dec 19, 2016 06:22pm
@Riyadh Indian govt did not ban screening of Pakistani films. Pakistani artists were threatened into leaving by a political party which has influence in state of Maharashtra where majority of Indian films are made. So according to your suggestion, Pakistan govt can allow Indian films to be screened because India has not put a ban on screening of Pakistani films. Apart from this, maan gaye Shahrukh Khan ke connections ko! His film is about to be released. He had gone to the extent of employing a Pakistani actress to cash in on the market in Pakistan. How could he sit back and see his movie not releasing in Pakistan! I personally believe he is not to be messed with in South Asia.
Ibby Dec 19, 2016 09:24pm
@Riyadh This is Pakistan's decision to allow Indian films. India has nothing to do with it. Obviously, our Cinema owners cannot live without profiting from Bollywood films.
Ibby Dec 19, 2016 09:28pm
@malik Calling others insecure does not change your position. We banned Bollywood movies, they did not but now we cannot survive with the income generated from Bollywood films. Either stick to morality or stick to business but don't blame others for your decisions.
Vishnu Kant Vashisth Dec 20, 2016 09:32am
Please impose lifetime ban on Indian movies in Pakistan. Please do that immediately. We know you don't want Indian movies. You've got talent, beauty, intelligence and everything.
Madhu Dec 24, 2016 10:34am
@Vishnu Kant Vashisth Yes, you have everything. but don't know how to generate money from aal resources. Others have nothing are developed in every field. That's the final verdict.