Bollywood Fever in Pakistan- Despite 'Offical Ban'
Posted by hinna / 31. December 1969, 17:59
The debate is out on what really is going on in Pakistan with regards to the Hindi film ban. It is common knowledge that the Pakistani Government has imposed a ban on Hindi / Bollywood movies as it claims that they have a 'corrupting influence' on the Islamic culture and the local film industry. Cinema theatres are rapidly declining in Pakistan as films are not allowed to be imported or shown. But ask the real people, the audience, the common man, the children, the families and it is a very different story. When I was visiting Pakistan, Shah Rukh Khan was to the Pakistanis somewhat of a national icon! So what really is going on here? Well according to a leading Pakistani Movie critic Aijaz Gul he quotes as saying ' There is not a single town, a single village, a single 'mohalla' (Neighbourhood) where Indian Films and television are not been seen.' It is known that some one somewhere will always crack the system and it is well known, I for one have seen it myself that at times certain DVDS and Cds are available in Pakistan before release even in Mumbai! So now with the aid of cable operators how far can this ban really hold out? 300 Rs a month will get you a least a dozen Hindi movies over the period of a month, and now popular Indian soaps such as 'Kyun ke Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi' are shown via satellite. The subject remains diviided and in an unusual twist Pakistani actress Meera who has now moved over to Bollywood is supporting the ban. Surely she is contradicting herself in a big way? Well for someone who was highly involved in a joint Indo-Pak project namely the film 'Nazar' she has changed her mind and thinks that Indian movies reflect a culture and mindset that is different to Pakistani Cultures and Values. Many are shocked are by her recent opinions especially those from the Bhatt camp, who have worked extremely hard in sealing the gap between the two nations and its division via the film industry. Eyebrows are raised at the fact that could it be that Meera has to swallow her pride? Her second Bollywood movie 'Kasak' has failed miserably at the box office and was declared a flop, so maybe after all she has to back her country? She currently has a few more Bollywood movies in the pipeline lets and wait and see what the outcome is. It won't really end there, it can't the craze for Bollywood in Pakistan is much larger and apparent than any one really knows. Two Pakistani FM channels broadcast Hindi film songs everyday. For the older genration there is no mistaking that Amitabh Bachchan holds a special place in their hearts and for the younger generation it can be non other than Shah Rukh Khan. Other popular and favourite actors and actresses are : Aamir Khan, Hrithik Roshan, Rani Mukherjee, Juhi Chawla and Sunny Deol. The Bollywood craze is sweeping Pakistan slowly but surely it is creeping in, and yes both India and Pakistan are two different countries with diffferent opinions and views on things. Sameena Ahmed from the International Crisis group (Pakistan Chapter) explained 'India and Pakistan enjoy two distinct identites. There is no doubt about that. But it does not mean people cannot appreciate each other's culture . Indeed, this is a very healthy sign.' She quoted.