Pakistan has lifted a so-called ban on the import and screening of films from India which stemmed from political and military tensions between the neighboring countries. Bollywood titles and stars are very popular in Pakistan and a clarification of rules by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry means that there’s likely to be a rush of pics entering the market. Chief among them is Shah Rukh Khan’s latest Raees which has grossed $16.4M in its first week at home and $2.4M in the U.S.
Pakistan originally boycotted Indian movies last fall after an attack in the disputed Kashmir territory triggered clashes. The government maintains there was never an official ban, however. In December, theater owners indicated they wanted to bring back Indian films because box office had taken a sharp hit since Bollywood movies disappeared from screens.
This week, Information and Broadcasting Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb said in a statement that “the Pakistani film industry has been revived and strengthened” by Indian cinema. According to The New Indian Express, importers in Pakistan have to inform the Information and Broadcasting Division of the name and cast of the films and submit documents to the Censor Board before pictures will be given the go-ahead.
Raees, which had stepped off the lucrative Eid holiday last summer to avoid a clash with Salman Khan’s Sultan, is an action thriller about a charismatic gangster/impresario and the policeman who tracks him.
The other films reportedly eyeing entry include Hrithik Roshan-starrer Kaabil and Karan Johar’s Ae Dil Hai Mushkil. The latter film stars Pakistan’s Fawad Khan and Johar had taken jabs that he had been anti-national by employing the actor. Pakistan’s Electronic Media Regulatory Authority had also previously set a ban on Indian content across television and radio in the country. It is unclear where that stands today.