New Delhi, May 23 (UNI) He is one of the best ambassadors for furtherance of film ties between India and Pakistan, having pioneered the trend of taking Indian films for public screenings to the neighbouring country , be it showcasing 'Paap' and 'Rog' at the Kara film festival or theatrical release of 'Awarapan' and, now, 'Jannat' in theatres of Pakistan.
However, even as his initial steps for bringing Indian films to Pakistani theatres seem to have borne fruit with the Government of the neighbouring country opening gates of its theatres to Indian cinema, Mahesh Bhatt feels that it is still a ''primarily one sided flow''.
For, while an increasing number of Indian films have made way to Pakistani theatres, giving e lot of exposure to Indian films and actors in the nighbouring country, a similar exposure for Pakistani films and artists in Indian films and the film industry does not seem to be happening.
''It is good to note that the trickle of Indian film releases in Pakistani theatres a few years ago has turned into a deluge.
However, I still feel that what is happening is primarily a one sided exchange with Indian films getting additional sources of revenue through their release in pakistani theatres while the commensurate opportunities are not coming the way of Pakistani film industry and its artists.
All this is nothing but a reflection of imperialism of the Indian film industry. No wonder then, there is a rightful resentment in several sections of Pakistani society towards entry of Indian films in Pakistan,''Bhatt told UNI in an interview here.
''It is true that Pakistani people love Indian films and actors which is why films released in the theatres there in recent months have been doing excellent business. But, at the same time, it also gives them (Pakistani people) a lot of pleasure when they see actors of their country featuring in Indian films being screened there.
For example, during the screening of 'Jannat' (which last week released in Pakistani theatres and became the first film to premiere in Lahore), it was seen that the audiences clapped loudly when Javed Sheikh, a prominent actor in the country, appeared on the screen even though he is playing a villain in the film,''Bhatt said.
Though a number of Pakistani actors and artists have been increasingly featuring in Indian films of late, Bhatt lamented that the attitude of the Indian film industry in this regard was narrow.
''In the face of this one sided exchange, the fledgling Pakistani film industry is finding its difficult to accept the huge flow of Indian films to Pakistan. I fully understand their concern. Unless Pakistani filmmakers, artists and technicians are given an opportunity to be a part of Indian films, the current spate of Indian films to Pakistan will, sooner or later, results in building up of resentment in the neighbouring country towards Indian films,''Bhatt said.
Bhatt said to allay such resentment in Pakistani quarters, he planned to start work on a joint India-Pak film production venture, which would comprise a majority of Pakistani actors and technicians.
''The Joint production will have 60 per cent of its workforce drawn from Pakistan while the rest 40 per cent cast and crew will be from India. The shooting for the film is to begin in July,''Bhatt said.
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