The Pakistan Film Producers Association (PFPA) has demanded for a complete ban on the release of Indian films in the country. Chaudhry Ejaz Kamran, a senior official in the PFPA, said when Pakistani films are not screened in India, why should they screen Indian films in Pakistan. "We have to think seriously about this because though our distributors and exhibitors make money from screening Indian films but in the long run it is hurting the growth of our industry," Kamran told PTI.
The demand for a complete ban on the release of Indian films comes at a time when in recent months, a number of Indian films have been barred from screening in Pakistani cinema houses due to different reasons. The films banned from release in Pakistan include Padman, Veere Di Wedding, Mulk and Raazi, among others.
Kamran said the PFPA has sent a letter to Prime Minister Imran Khan, asking him to issue necessary directives for a final decision in this matter. He said the association believes that, for the sake of their local film industry, the government should impose the ban. "If this ban is not imposed, then the local cinema owners will continue to give preference to Indian films which in turn is hurting our industry."
He said the recent Pakistani releases on Eid have done a good business because cinema owners gave them proper slots for screenings. "We have struggled for the welfare of our local film industry and this is why we decided to contact Imran Khan. We are hopeful that he will listen to us and impose the ban," Kamran said.
A petition for a ban against Indian films has also been submitted to the Lahore High Court. Reacting to the PFPA's move, a well-known film distributor and exhibitor who has stakes in digital cineplexes in the country said if Indian films were completely banned, it would be a step backward for the industry.
"The truth is Indian films help cinema owners make good revenues and recover costs as well. The last time Indian films were banned the cinema owners suffered big losses and the industry also faltered," he said. "Such a ban will discourage investors and disturb the business," he warned. A senior member of the Pakistan Film Exhibitors Association said an appropriate solution would be to give priority to local films, if they are good enough, instead of banning Indian films.