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Pakistan relaxes laws against Indian films

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Section: International News Geography: South Asia India, Pakistan Topics: film

February 5, 2006

Pakistan relaxes laws against Indian films

by Salvatore Ciolfi

For the first time since the Indo-Pakistan war of 1965, a Hindi film will be screened in Pakistan. The news comes after an amendment to the laws of the Pakistani Censor Board, which had been preventing the screening of all films involving Indian actors or directors.

No final decisions or official announcements have been made, but the Times of India has reported that the film Sohni Mahiwal, a joint production between India and the then Soviet Union, will be the first Bollywood film to hit Pakistani movie theatres in forty years.

Directed by Latif Faiziye and Umesh Mehra, Sohni Mahiwal was originally released in 1984 and stars Indian actors Sunny Deol and Poonam Dhillon. It was submitted to the censor board nearly three years ago.

Despite the ban and fears that Indian movies would have a negative influence on Islamic culture, their popularity in the country has exploded, as pirated versions, radio, and an affordable cable network have made both the films and their music readily available. The Pakistani piracy market, in particular, has mushroomed, generating some $27 million dollars a year. This has come at the expense of local movie theatres, which have seen their audience numbers plummet.

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The Dominion is a monthly paper published by an incipient network of independent journalists in Canada. It aims to provide accurate, critical coverage that is accountable to its readers and the subjects it tackles. Taking its name from Canada's official status as both a colony and a colonial force, the Dominion examines politics, culture and daily life with a view to understanding the exercise of power.

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