In a bid to combat the supremacy of Bollywood films in Pakistan, a petition was filed in a Lahore court by Pakistani filmmakers demanding a curb on the screening of films from India.
"A petition has been filed in a Lahore court, but I want to make it clear that we are not against Bollywood films. It's just that there is a need to regularize their release in Pakistan rather than getting them there illegally," Syed Noor, a Pakistani film producer is reported to have told media. Noor's film "Jugni", could not find theatres to release during Eid this year because of the release of Salman Khan's "Bodyguard."
"We certainly don't want Bollywood films to release in Pakistan during our festivals, which is the main season for business. I know there are issues about the quality of our films and presentation but we need to survive. We produce about 100 films a year and there are not enough cinema halls in our country," Noor added.
Noor complained that Pakistani distributors and exhibitors showed bias towards Bollywood films. "They throw out our films even if they are doing well at the box office so that they can replace them with Bollywood films," he said.
In 2006, the Pakistani government lifted a 37-year-old ban on Bollywood films and allowed films like "Awarapan" (2007) and "Kaafila" (2007), adding that any Indian film with a Pakistani co-producer or cast that is shot outside India could be released in the country. The Lollywood film industry, in turn, alleges that illegal means are being used to screen Bollywood films, by calling them foreign releases in Pakistan.
Meanwhile, Indian filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt expressed concern over the petition.
"I respect the concerns of my Pakistani brothers and sisters to save their own industry from extinction. The indigenous culture of every nation needs to be protected in this age of globalization. But we must not turn the clock back. Any retrograde movement will destroy what we have built brick by brick over the last five years," agencies quoted Bhatt as saying.