Lahore, January 26 (Express Tribune): Shah Rukh Khan’s Raees and Hritik Roshan’s Kaabil are to be released in Pakistan this week, breaking the four month ban on the screening of Bollywood films.
Cinemas in Pakistan will again start screening Indian movies after imposing a ban on films from across the border over military tensions. The suspension of Indian screenings came after Bollywood producers banned Pakistani artists in Indian films.
Sources in the federal information ministry told The Express Tribune on Tuesday that the Prime Minister’s Secretariat is likely to allow the release of Indian movies in the country and hopefully a notification in this regard will be issued soon.
Two Indian movies ‘Raees’ and ‘Kaabil’ are likely to be screened in cinemas this week.
Financial considerations motivated the lifting of the ban as cinema owners made losses. Cinema owners were lobbying Nawaz Sharif to lift the ban and last week the Prime Minister constituted a committee in which all stakeholders were given representation.
The committee under the supervision of Minister of State for Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage Marriyum Aurangzeb and Irfan Siddiqui had forwarded its recommendations to the Prime Minister’s Secretariat.
According to sources, during its third meeting held on Tuesday, the committee finalized its recommendations and sent a summary to the Prime Minister’s Secretariat.
Film Exhibitors Association Chairman Zoraiz Lashari confirmed the development to The Express Tribune.
“According to the recommendations, the federal information ministry will issue No Objection Certificates for import of Indian films while the Provincial Censor Boards will review them,” adding, “there will be no change in the criteria for the release of Indian films.”
Meanwhile, anticipating the lifting of the ban, a private TV channel has already purchased Indian movies ‘Raees’ and ‘Kaabil’ after paying advance money to the Indian distributors.
Speaking exclusively to The Express Tribune in December last year, the Chairman Film Exhibitors Association Zoraiz Lashari confirmed that cinema owners would begin screening Indian films across Pakistan from December 19.
“Cinema business has been hit immensely and all stakeholders felt it was the right time to begin screening Indian films. It was always a self imposed suspension, not a ban. So I’ll be releasing Freaky Ali in our cinemas and other cinema owners will follow suit,” said Lashari.
Meanwhile, an owner of a film distributing company, requesting anonymity, said the move was to pave way for a big release by a private media group in the country.
“A big media group and film exhibitors/distributors in India are trying to release Dungal in Pakistan. They are testing public sentiments and also the government’s reaction by releasing Freaky Ali at CineStar cinema,” he added.
He said stakeholders in India were also being hit by the move to by the self-imposed ban.