Movies

Bleeding Pak theatres may become 'Raees' again

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MUMBAI: Four months after Pakistan stopped screening Hindi films in its cinemas responding to Bollywood's unofficial ban on Pakistani artistes following the Uri attack, Pakistan is again attempting to allow screening as theatre-owners are bleeding financially.

PEMRA (Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority) had then banned Indian TV channels and entertainment programmes and cinema hall owners decided not to screen Bollywood films, the Times of India reported.

Pakistan’s prime minister Nawaz Sharif has constituted a panel to consider a request by distributors and theatre-owners to resume the import of Bollywood films. Distributors are hoping to get the permission before SRK's 'Raees' releases on 25 January.

The Sharif committee is headed by minister of state for information Maryum Aurangzeb and includes the secretary of commerce, advisor to the PM on national history and literary heritage and a representative of ISI.

Films from India are in the list of items banned in Pakistan. But, the commerce ministry, under the import policy order, had issued NOCs (no-objection certificates) at per information ministry request thus allowing the import of 2-3 Indian films each month.

Sources told the Hindu that business in cinema halls in Pakistan was down after the unofficial ban on Indian movies and revenues had fallen up to 75 per cent in some theatres. Around 50 per cent of workers in halls lost their jobs. Bollywood films are also widely available through pirated DVDs in Pakistan.

Atrium Cinema owner in Karachi Nadeem Mandviwalla had earlier said that 70 per cent of their business comes from Bollywood and Hollywood. He said that they could only survive a temporary suspension, and not a continued one.

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