Lahore, Apr 12 : Indian movies have made their way into Pakistani cinemas because of their quality production and good scripts, though local film makers are against screening of Bollywood films in their country, saying it would be "unpatriotic".
There is, however, a difference of opinion between film directors and producers on the one hand, and cinema owners, on the other, over this issue. While the former are against the idea, the latter favour screening of Indian films in Pakistan because they attract huge crowds, fetching them hefty profit as compared to returns by screening Pakistani films.
According to the Daily Times, a debate has arisen in Pakistani cinema circles over whether to screen Indian films during the 60th anniversary celebrations of the Pakistan Film Industry.
Recently released Indian movies are said to be doing considerable business across Pakistan. Film 'Race', which features a song by Pakistani singer Atif Aslam, has received enormous applause from audiences. The movie is especially gaining popularity with young people. Another Bollywood film 'Tare Zameen Par' has become the talk of the town and is being released in Pakistan by a private television network.
How Pakistani cinema has seen a decline over the years could be gauged from the fact that the number of cinema halls has reduced across the country. According to a survey, in 1973 there were 63 cinemas in Lahore, 16 in Rawalpindi, 19 in Multan, 19 in Faisalabad, 11 in Gujranwala, 12 in Sialkot, 12 in Peshawar, 86 in Karachi, 20 in Hyderabad, six in Sukkar, and eight in Quetta. Currently, the number of cinemas has been reduced to 23 in Lahore, 10 in Rawalpindi, 14 in Multan, 13 in Faisalabad, 10 in Gujranwala, eight in Sialkot, 36 in Karachi, four in Hyderabad, one in Sukkar and five in Quetta.
Citing another reason for the decline of Pakistan film industry, a noted Pakistani scriptwriter said that script writers are not paid handsomely and very few producers and directors agree to buy a well written script. Condemning the screening of Indian movies in the country, he said: "The screening of Indian movies is an acceptance of the fact that we have given up before Indian culture. I am not disappointed about the industry's future; it may take some time but it will revive."
Famous director-cum-writer Rukhsana Noor said that it was a most unfortunate thing to give Pakistani films to others. "The Indian buyer is not ready to buy our pictures, then why are we crazily screening their movies? By establishing an editing lab of international standards we can boost our own industry. If the government allows loans to filmmakers, good produces will come back and the industry will revive," the paper quoted her as saying.