MUMBAI: Pakistani-film Khuda Kay Liye is being officially released in India after a gap of almost four decades.
Khuda Kay Liye, produced and directed by Shoaib Mansoor, is a film about Muslims in a post-9/11 world. It is slated to open in India on 4 April, making it the first-ever Pakistani film to be released in Indian theaters.
It is being released by Percept Picture Company with music being released by Sony BMG. This marks a new chapter in improving cultural and bilateral relations between the two countries.
The ban on exchange of films between the two countries has been lifted and Pakistan has opened business avenues with the Indian film industry. However, it is a barter to protect the Pakistani industry from being flooded with Indian films in their cinemas.
The release of Indian films in Pakistani cinemas was banned in 1968 and Pakistan lost one of its competitors. Now, the Pakistan Government has allowed the exchange with a condition that films will be strictly ‘exchanged’. That is, for each Hindi title released in Pakistan, an Urdu film will have to be exhibited in India.
The opening of dialogue and political doors to establish new ties and improve bilateral relations will promote cross border co-production possibilities that can hugely benefit the Pakistani film industry by eyeing India as new potential market to launch its films.
Khuda Kay Liye also stars Naseeruddin Shah.
Compared to India’s film production of over 1000 movies in a year, Pakistan’s film industry produced just 40 movies in 2006, a fifth of what it turned out during its heyday in the 1970s. Back then, there were more than 1,000 movie theaters throughout the country. Today, there are only around 200, and not one in the capital, Islamabad.
In the 1930s, when Pakistan and India were still united under British Rule, there were two competing centers of the film industry. Lahore, in what is known as Lollywood in Pakistan, and Bombay, now known as Mumbai, of Bollywood filmmakers.