Pakistani cinema owners self imposed a ban on Bollywood movies after some extremists in India pushed their producers not to cast Pakistani talent in their movies. But, the initiative backfired and cinema owners faced huge financial losses. To address the issue, Prime Minister recently constructed a special clearance committee to review the import of Indian movies and other related issues. Ms. Maryam Aurangzeb, the Federal Minister for Information is heading the sixteen members committee consisting different stakeholders including cinema owners, producers, and film distributors.
After cinema owners lifted their self imposed ban in December last year, expectations were very high for Amir Khan’s Dangal release in Pakistan but it did not come because of multiple issues from both sides. The movie became the biggest Bollywood blockbuster and earned 700 crores till last week. Now, Mahira Khan’s debut Raees alongside Shahrukh Khan is releasing this next week and we are still unsure about its fate in Pakistan.
“How can we give tax incentives to the films highlighting positive image of Pakistan so that our indigenous film industry may expend.”
To discuss the release of Raees and working procedure of PM’s special committee, anchorperson Shahzaib Khanzada interviewed the information minister in his show on Geo News. The minister was of the opinion that Pakistani film industry needed foreign content hand holding.
“Pakistan film industry as an alternative entertainment, promoted positive image of Pakistan. Our production was at zero but right now, because of business interventions, it is at 73,” she told. “If Pakistan industry wants to sustain, it needs to produce 200 movies per year,” she added.
“When you will reach to 200, you will be sustainable independent industry according to international standards,” Ms Maryam Aurangzeb.
Talking about the PM’s special committee, she told that it is focusing on three topics. “Firstly, what incentives are required for the revival and sustainability of production, which will eventually strengthen the film industry and help it to match international standards.” she told. “Secondly, film financing, what is the mechanism which can benefit a filmmaker, and how can he get loan to produce film. And thirdly, how can we give tax incentives to the films highlighting positive image of Pakistan so that our indigenous film industry may expend,” she added.
Adding to that, she told that this is the first time in the history of Pakistan that the issue has been taken up as policy decision. “How our actor gives a hit in India?,” she questioned. “This proves that our artist community has such potential that if we incentivize this sector, this will not only help economics but also promote the positive image of Pakistan, alternative entertainment and strengthen Pakistan’s indigenous industry,” she hoped.
According to reports, as quoted in the show, around 1700 cinema employees have lost their jobs, and further 25,000 families are on stake. Around 40 percent multiplexes have been shut down and daily shows have been reduced by 35 percent. The cinemas industry has faced 50 crore loss during this period.
Pakistani cinema industry earn 70 percent from Bollywood and Hollywood movies jointly and 30 percent from films made in Pakistan. From September 2015 to September 2016, the industry did 3.2 billion business. Almost half of which, i.e 1.6 billion, was made from Indian movies, 55 million from Hollywood and 90 million from Pakistani films.
We hope that this committee ‘actually’ come out with some practical solutions and resume the import of Bollywood in Pakistan, because, as said by the minister, our industry needs foreign content hand holding.