Ministry denies cinemas Eid bonanza
ISLAMABAD, Aug 4: Cinema owners in the country are crestfallen — not only the Ministry of Culture has denied them permission to enliven Eid festival with Indian films but put a ban on the same.
Instead, the cinema owners were offered four Pakistani films for the money-minting season when representatives of the film industry met Minister for Culture Pir Aftab Shah Jilani here on Wednesday.
It did not matter to the minister that the Pakistani films were still in the making.
Neither would he guarantee the quality of the films nor that they would be ready for release by Eid.
A few film exhibitors and senior officials of the ministry objected that the ban on Indian films — which would begin a week before and end a week after the Eid day — was against free market practices.
What emerged as happy news from the meeting was the announcement by Minister Jilani that the cash-strapped film industry would now be allowed access to bank credits.
Speaking in favour of increased film production activities regardless of quality was film exhibitor Nadeem Mandviwala who urged the ministry to extend support by providing funds for 10 films a year.
“It will jump start film production in the country,Â” he said.
He also suggested that a film fund be created, arranged through a surcharge on each cinema ticket. “However, the funds should not end up into the abyss of government treasury where it’s lost forever,” he added.
A barrage of criticism followed over the role of Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) that had failed to curb the curse of piracy that was hurting the local film producers.
The delegation as well as the ministry seemed frustrated by Pemra’s incompetence to curb cable operators who showed imported movies with impunity violating code of conduct.