Bollywood movies help revive Pakistan's film industry

Mumbai, Oct 1 (IANS) Pakistani actor Rashid Farooqui says that the country's moribund film industry has got a new lease of life ever since Bollywood movies were allowed to be screened there.

Farooqui, a well-known name in the field of plays and television sector, made his big screen debut with director Mehreen Jabbar's "Ramchand Pakistani". He is here for the release of "Ramchand Pakistani", opening Thursday.

"You see, normally we don't indulge in entertainment during the holy month of Ramadan. But people have made an exception this year to watch Akshay Kumar-Katrina Kaif starrer "Singh Is Kinng". The film is running to packed houses in Pakistan," Farooqi told IANS.

Farooqui said that many cinema halls closed for years are now being re-opened to run Bollywood movies, thus giving a shot in the arm to the country's hard-hit exhibition sector.

The actor also said that he was optimistic Bollywood movies would in the long run indirectly help revive Pakistan's lifeless film industry.

"To start with, Bollywood movies have drawn people to the movie houses again. This has resuscitated the exhibition as well as the distribution sectors. Money pouring in these two sectors would now inspire the local producers to revive their production houses and it would give a boost to our movies," he explained.

Farooqui said it might take time for the trend to take roots.

"Of course, we will not be able to make blockbusters like Bollywood because, compared to India, our population is less, so it would not be practical for us to make mega-budget movies," he said.

But, if Bollywood movies can have commercial successes in Pakistan, so can Pakistani movies have in India and it would be an added bonus for Pakistani filmmakers.

"But we do not have actors like Bollywood stars to attract moviegoers to the theatres. Stars are born when movies are successful, or you can say movies become successful when they have stars with crowd-pulling aura. We have neither at present."

Farooqui is known in Pakistan for his histrionic talent. He candidly said that he could hone his acting talent by watching the movies of such Bollywood actors like Sanjeev Kumar, Om Puri and Naseeruddin Shah.

Is he not impressed by Dilip Kumar and Amitabh Bachchan?

"They are so great that you are in awe of them and not able to observe them dispassionately to be able to dissect their acting talents" Farooqui said.

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