Pakistan bans Bollywood films as tensions with India rise

The development follows a decision by Indian Motion Picture Producers’ Association to impose a ban on all Pakistani stars and technicians working in India.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

An poster for a Pakistani film with Indian actors is seen outside a movie theater in Karachi

First it was sports, now it's the entertainment industry which has become hostage to the tussle between Pakistan and India.

On Friday, Pakistan banned the screening of Bollywood films in cinemas across the country and the broadcast of all Indian TV Channels was suspended soon after.  

The development came amid rising tensions between the two countries after India claimed it targetted "militants in a surgical strike" across the heavily militarised Line of Control (LoC), the de facto border in the disputed Kashmir region, earlier this week.

Islamabad rejected reports that the Indian army crossed into Pakistan-administered Kashmir to carry out a raid but admitted there were incidents of cross-border firing.

In the aftermath of the skirmish, which resulted in the deaths of several soliders on both sides, the Indian Motion Picture Producers’ Association (IMPPA) imposed a ban on all Pakistani stars and technicians working in India on Thursday.

Pakistan’s Film Exhibitors and Distributors group responded with a similar ban.

"(Following) the IMPPA decision... the majority stakeholders of the (Pakistani) film industry have decided to suspend the screening of all Indian films until normalcy returns," the group said.

"It is deeply regrettable that a film trade body, the IMPPA, has passed a resolution to ban Pakistani stars and technicians from working in India."

The management of Nueplex, a cinema in Karachi, announced their decision to suspended the screening of Indian films on social media.

This is not the first time the entertainment industry in India and Pakistan has been affected by rising tensions between the two countries. 

Sports and the arts are viewed by moderate voices in both countries as a means of improving people-to-people contact. But sporting affairs between the countries, cricket in particular, carry a bit of edge and matches are often billed as 'wars'.

There is a lot of national pride attached to the Indian film industry as well and political parties in the country often pressurise stakeholders to sever ties with Pakistani artistes.

Celebrities of both countries have been slammed on social media for their views over the recent tensions.

Bollywood actor Salman Khan received negative feedback after he stated that Pakistani artists should not be equated with terrorists.

Singer Adnan Sami, British-born but of Pakistani origin who received Indian citizenship last year, has been roasted on Twitter by Pakistanis for praising Indian forces.

TRTWorld and agencies