After the Pakistan government made an announcement that they would be banning Indian films from its cinemas across the nation, multiple members from the Indian film fraternity responded and said it does not make any difference to India and that it is indeed Pakistan’s loss.
Firdous Ashiq Awan, who is a special assistant to Prime Minister Imran Khan on Information and Broadcasting, claimed this action was in response to India’s repealing of the Constitution’s Article 370.
I welcome statement given by UN Secretary General on Kashmir dispute. It accepts Pakistan’s long standing position that Kashmir is a disputed territory and this dispute can only be solved according to UN resolutions.This is a diplomatic victory of Pakistan.
— Firdous Ashiq Awan (@Dr_FirdousPTI) August 9, 2019
Article 370 of the Indian constitution gave special status to the region of Jammu and Kashmir, and allowed it to have a separate constitution, a state flag and autonomy over the internal administration of the state. The article was drafted in Part XXI of the Constitution: Temporary, Transitional and Special Provisions. The Constituent Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir, after its establishment, was empowered to recommend the articles of the Indian constitution that should be applied to the state or to abrogate the Article 370 altogether. After consultation with the state’s Constituent Assembly, the 1954 Presidential Order was issued, specifying the articles of the Indian constitution that applied to the state. Since the Constituent Assembly dissolved itself without recommending the abrogation of Article 370, the article was deemed to have become a permanent feature of the Indian Constitution.
Reacting to Pakistan’s decision, talented filmmaker Ashoke Pandit, chief advisor of the Federation of Western India Cine Employees (FWICE), stated in a recent interview: “It does not make any difference whether Pakistanis watch our films or not. I think the internal security of the country comes first. Whether films release there or not is irrelevant. We have a clear issue in front of us.” He went on to add: “Our film industry is very big. Even business wise it does not matter. We are taking about our country.”
However, trade analyst Komal Nahta disagreed and said that strictly from a business point of view, the ban will affect the box-office. “Pakistan had become a hot territory especially for big films with big star cast. Indian films did depend upon Pakistan for a fairly good amount of overseas buisness. Specially, (for stars like) Salman Khan, Shah Rukh Khan and Aamir Khan, their films used to do very well there,” stated Nahta. He went on to stress that this blanket ban will eventually lead to piracy in Pakistan. “There will be piracy. It’s not that people will not watch our films. It is just that officially the money will not come to India. Pirates will make hay while the sun shine,” Nahta clarified.
Bollywood actor Sonu Sood, who had once performed a cameo role in the Pakistani film “Ishq Positive”, stated in a recent interview: “Pakistan banning Indian film is their loss not ours. But (revocation of) Article 370 is the best thing that could have happened in the last 72 years.”
National Award-winning filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar, whose film “Calendar Girls” was banned in Pakistan, also said in a recent report: “Firstly, I am not surprised because they already severed many other bilateral relationships. I am not surprised because they have to take a grand standing in front of their people because Article 370 has been abolished. The film industry has shown solidarity since Pulwama.”
“The Hindi film industry had stopped releasing films post Pulwama attack, as a show of solidarity to the defence services. This was never promoted or discussed on public platforms. The business of Indian films continues growing globally. The revocation of Article 370 was a bold and much-needed move. Any consequence arising from the decision is inconsequential ,” said actor Vidyut Jammwal, who hails originally from Jammu.
Interestingly, this is not the first time Pakistan has put a blanket ban on Indian films. Apart from refusing to release various Indian films regularly on grounds of censorship, Pakistan has also been refusing to release Indian films — particularly Bollywood products. During this time, tensions and friction between the two neighbouring countries are at an all time high.
In recent times, Pakistan has banned various Hindi films owing to different reasons. While “Raazi”, “Aiyyari”, and “Parmanu: The Story Of Pokhran” are among films to have been banned owing to what Pakistan felt was politically objectionable content, “Mulk” was banned because the country’s censor board felt the film’s portrayal of Muslims in India was not accurate and indeed, mislead audiences.
“Pad Man”, “Veere Di Wedding”, and “Pari” have been among other films refused a release in Pakistan even during less tense times.
Talking to the media and reporters outside Parliament House on Thursday, Firdous Ashiq Awan claimed her government was making various efforts to highlight the current Kashmir situation internationally and was making a conscious effort to engage international institutions. These include consultations at the United Nations by Pakistan’s Representative Maleeha Lodhi, and contacting heads of governments of other countries, besides diplomatic engagements.
Besides films, every other Indian cultural content has also been banned from Pakistan.
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