Is Territory Pakistan a good idea for Bollywood?

No, if we have to believe the figures and past record.

MUMBAI :For eons, filmmakers in India have wondered why couldn’t they show their films in theatres across the border or sell the rights of their films there.

Culturally, both countries are the same, the lifestyles, conditions and customs also match. Hence in the given scenario when Mughal-e-Azam, Taj Mahal and soon Sohni Mahiwal sees the light of the projector in Musharrafland, will showing more films in Pakistan be a possibility?

Nadeem Mandviwala, a noted distributor from Pakistan does not think so. “Look at the track record of Pakistani films in Pakistan itself. The biggest hit till date in Pakistan Producer-director-actor Jawed Shaikh’s hit film Yeh Dil Aapka Huwa which has grossed nothing more than Rs 12 crore and that too after a long run in theatres. That’s our benchmark till date. I do not think any film can collect more than that easily,” says Mandviwala.

But Bollywood producers will easily think that even Rs 12 crore is big money. But here Mandviwala does not discount the fact that there are other reasons apart from the objection from Pak film producers.

Piracy is the biggest problem here.

“I have often wondered how DVDs of films could reach Pakistan even before they have released in India. I guess there’s a lot more than meets the eye,” says Ali Azmat, Pakistani singer who has sung for a few Hindi films like Pooja Bhatt’s Paap.

And that’s precisely the reason. Why are Pakistani authorities not taking action against pirates? Rainbow Centre at Karachi in the heart of Saddar is was the biggest exporter of pirated VCDS. Iain Grant, Head of Enforcement, International Federation of the Phonographic Industry says, “I was surprised to see all these VCDS and music CDs missing from Rainbow Centre. Then I came to know that Pakistan has now become the biggest importer of VCDs from being exporters as Pakistani authorities had raided six of the top manufacturing units and sealed them.”

And truly every house in Pakistan watches pirated Indian films. “How can we stop that? How do we expect people to come out of their houses, spend loads of money to watch films at theatres? As such many of these theatres have already shut down as films in Pakistan have been doing very badly in recent times,” says Mandviwala.

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S Ramachandran

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