Under the World Trade Organization’s charter, the Indian government still treats Pakistan as the Most Favored Nation for trade. This sudden announcement also endangered projects that were already in production or had finished shooting.Filmmaker Karan Johar’s romantic drama “Ae Dil Hai Mushkil” rounded out its starry cast of Aishwarya Rai (“Pink Panther 2”) and Ranbir Kapoor with Pakistani heartthrob Fawad Khan.Not only do spoken Urdu and Hindi sound extremely similar but also centuries of shared societal values enable subcontinental audiences to identify with a film regardless of its country of origin.
An official from Pakistan’s censor board said to the BBC that the film “depicts Muslims as criminals and terrorists” and is offensive to members of a particular sect, presumably Shia Muslims.
Apart from the obvious flaw in equating depiction with endorsement (a criticism that also plagued Kathryn Bigelow’s “Zero Dark Thirty”), this ruling seems to imply that any work of art that isn’t supportive of Muslims will not find favor with the censor board.
This is likely to induce some self-censorship among artists inside Pakistan as well.
Finally, how this ban will be perceived in India is also a cause for worry.
In retaliation, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority blocked all Indian content from releasing in the country.
The IMPPA’s action is the kind of grandstanding behavior that helps no one while hurting everyone.
For decades, it was one of three languages most Bollywood films displayed their title in, the others being English and Hindi.
Some of the industry’s most celebrated lyricists and scriptwriters were fluent in Urdu, and the language is prominent in some of Bollywood’s most beloved dialogues or songs.
An Indian fan holds a poster of Bollywood actor Shahrukh Khan at the platform of the Hazrat Nizamuddin Railway Station as he was expected to arrive to promote his upcoming movie ‘Raees’ in New Delhi, India At the end of January, Pakistan lifted a ban placed in 2016 on the import of Indian films into the country.
In a step welcomed by supporters of cinema, cultural exchange, and freedom of expression on both sides of the border, the Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif sanctioned the move on January 26, which is India’s Republic Day.
It was due for release just a month after this announcement and was one of 2016’s biggest titles in both India and Pakistan.