By Hindustan Times
A leading Pakistani newspaper on Friday sought a ban on Indian films, warning this was the only way to help the local cinema "develop and thrive."
The Nation said the government should meet a demand made in Lahore on Wednesday by a group of artists, singers and directors that cinema houses should stop screening Indian films.
"This would help the national film industry develop and thrive," the daily said in an editorial.
"There are lots of cinema houses which screen only Indian movies and do not show any interest in playing Pakistani movies. The result is a gradual decline of our own film industry," it said.
It warned that "by not banning Bollywood films being shown in every nook and cranny of the country, we would only be letting the Indians succeed in their ploy of invading us culturally".
A 1965 ban on Indian films in Pakistan was lifted only in 2008. But despite the ban, Bollywood productions were a craze all over the country.
Bollywood stars are a household name in Pakistan. Shah Rukh Khan and Amitabh Bachchan are the most popular actors while Aishwarya Rai and Rani Mukherjee are among the most sought after actresses.
In the mid 2,000s, when the ban was still on, two Pakistani FM channels broadcast Hindi film songs daily. And a film critic told IANS in 2004 that there was no town or village where Indian movies were not seen.
The lifting of the ban in 2008 has legalized Indian films, which until then would mostly be smuggled.
While theatre owners favour Indian films, saying this alone brings them profits to remain alive, Pakistani producers are opposed to Indian movies, arguing that Bollywood is killing them.
The Pakistani cinema industry, based in Lahore (Lollywood), is miniscule compared to Bollywood.
The Nation claimed that according to a group of Pakistan movie directors, "certain self-seeking individuals associated with Lollywood are reaping huge benefits by making huge investments in India".
The editorial said the government should ban Indian films from Pakistani cinema houses as well as private TV channels "that keep broadcasting them."
"The policy of letting India disseminate its culture freely in Pakistan is dealing a serious financial blow to the Lollywood industry and polluting the minds of the youth," it said.