Lahore, Nov 16 (ANI): In an outrageous claim, a Pakistani film director has accused India's Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) of "trying to kill off" the Pashto film industry.
"1980-1998 were very bad years for the Pashto film industry, with very bad movies that weren't suitable to our culture," The Express Tribune quoted director Ajab Gul, as saying.
"The main reason was RAW trying to kill us off because they couldn't compete with Pashtun culture and language," he added.
His team said that they were trying to return Pashto films to their chaste roots while giving their own take on the community's social problems. "It's about Pashtun traditions and rivalries," Gul maintained.
But the cinema refuses to tackle religious or cultural taboos head on. "We cannot because of security," said the 45-year-old former actor, adding, "That's our restriction, we can't touch taboos ... because we represent almost two million people, and we have to live in that culture."
Another convention that remains unchallenged is the male dominance in the society. "In these movies women also have desires, but they accept the man's supremacy," Gul said, adding, "This is the culture and this (is the way it) should be."
However, the chairman of the Pashtun film association, Gul Akbar Khan Afridi, said that a safer environment could turn the industry's fortunes around.
"Because of the security situation people are not coming to the cinemas. If the situation improves, the film industry will be better," said 70-year-old Afridi.
The Pashto film industry, which was known for stalwarts such as Badar Munir, has been eroded and replaced by a collective of producers who make direct-to-CD films that are low-budget, shown on cable networks in the province and are also sold abroad. Since this parallel industry is not structured, the films are not subject to any censor restrictions. (ANI)