The decision of the federal ministry of culture disallowing cinemas here from showing Indian films for two weeks during the forthcoming Eid season comes as a serious blow to moviegoers. However, the decision is welcomed by the local film industry which has been concerned about the influx of Indian films in recent years.
The ministry’s decision seems to have been driven by economics – in favour of the local film industry – since the Eid season is a particularly lucrative period for both the film and cinema industries.
Nevertheless, it is a decision that will deprive Eid moviegoers of a wider and better selection of films to watch. While our local film industry has after decades made a couple of relatively successful films recently, most notably Khuda Kay Liye, a vibrant and growing cinema culture remains a distant dream.
But for our film scene to buck up and prosper, we will need to move away from measures that focus on curtailing Indian movies and work harder at introducing positive steps to put life into the local film industry. In this respect, the culture ministry’s announcement that the film industry will now be allowed access to bank credit is encouraging. The recent introduction of Indian and English movies in local cinemas has renewed interest in an industry that was on the verge of extinction due to technological changes (VCRs, cable television and DVDs) and the remnants of the cultural policies of the 1980s. It is now up to our local film industry to carry that interest forward even further by producing films that match the quality of those produced elsewhere. Government action in the form of tax incentives and revised censorship policies as well as a clampdown on DVD piracy can do wonders for our film industry.