Lahore: Cinemas in Pakistan on Monday began screening Indian movies, over two months after film exhibitors and theatre owners suspended it amidst Indo-Pak tensions following the Uri terror attack and cross-border firing incidents.
Freaky Ali, a romantic comedy of Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Arbaaz Khan and Amy Jackson, which was released in September, is the first film being screened in the Pakistani cinemas after the film exhibitors and cinema owners lifted the self-imposed suspension on Indian movies’ screening.
Theatre owners are currently screening those Indian movies which are already released and the decision regarding new films will be taken on Wednesday as a lot of people are involved in the process of importing a film, Centaurus marketing and call centre supervisor Anil Altaf said.
The Pakistan Film Exhibitors and Distributors Association, which includes most owners of cineplexes, multiplexes and single screen cinemas in the country, had announced to “temporarily” stop screening Indian films soon after tensions escalated following the Uri terror attack and cross border firing incidents in late September.
The exhibitors and cinema owners had taken the decision voluntarily after the Indian Motion Pictures Producers’ Association (IMPPA) announced a ban on Pakistani artistes and technicians working in India.
Film Exhibitors Association Chairman Zoraiz Lashari said the association decided to lift suspension with the consent of other exhibitors and film stakeholders.
“A couple of months ago we had stopped screening of Indian movies in reaction to a ban on Pakistani artistes in India. We showed our reaction to India. Now it is time to see other ground realities as well,” Lashari said.
Cinema owners across Pakistan have suffered about Rs 150 million loss and some 100 employees lost their jobs since the non-screening of Indian movies, he said.
Pakistani Film Producer Sohail Khan said allowing the Indian movies to be screened in Pakistani cinemas should not be seen in the context of patriotism.
“You know business is business and a cup of tea is a cup of tea. We cannot ignore the reality which is that our movies are not doing fine and cinemas are empty,” he said.