Indo Pak cooperation to extend to films, TV software

MUMBAI: A first ever joint venture in the arena of film production is the first most likely outcome of the visit of the Pakistani delegation to Frames 2004.

The delegation, however, is also keenly following up with production houses and broadcasters in India for joint productions in television software. "Thus far, Indian artistes have been crossing the border to act in Pakistani serials. It would be a better idea to tie up with production houses here to produce serials jointly," says Evernew Entertainment executive director Mohammed Jerjees Seja, a member of the delegation. 

The decision to go in for joint productions is not merely sentimental. Despite the fact that the Star channels are not available uniformly in Pakistan, Star Plus' Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi tops the ratings charts in that country, although the predominant channel Geo TV rules the roost otherwise, he says. Seven private satellite channels arecurrently operational in the country, including Geo, ARY and Indus. 

Three channels have started recently, including a regional Sindhi channel. Seja estimates that five new channels, including a business channel and a regional channel in the Pushto language would commence operations this year. The joint film project, due to be announced at Frames 2004, will take technology from India and talent from Pakistan, says Evernew Entertainment chief executive Sajjad Gul. 

With the information and broadcasting minister R S Prasad offering a handshake with the neighbours in the arena of film production, the delegation from across the border should return with some tangible projects in its kitty. According to Seja, there is no official ban on Indian satellite channels and that 85 per cent of cable connected homes in Karachi receive Indian channels. The Pakistan government too has thrown open the DTH segment. Two private players, ARY and Geo are already in the fray while the government too intends to get into the arena, a la Prasar Bharati in this country.

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