Indian films drawing audiences to Pakistani multiplex

Islamabad, Aug 6 (IANS) After a number of years, Pakistanis are flocking to watch movies on the big screen, thanks to the latest Bollywood blockbusters now being screened in a newly opened multiplex.

Homemaker Kosar Jabeen said Indian films were drawing movie lovers, who would otherwise have watched movies at home on pirated CDs available for just Rs.100 (over $1), to cinema halls.

"I think this (hall) is marvellous and offers a (large) variety," said Kosar about the five-screen multiplex in adjacent Rawalpindi's that features Pakistani, Indian and English movies.

There has been a decline in the sales of pirated CDs, especially of the latest Bollywood films, according to Babar Rasheed, who owns a CD shop here.

"I think the major reason is that people can watch Indian movies on the big screen and can see the original print instead of the poor quality pirated CDs," Rasheed told IANS.

Fahim Marwat, a keen film viewer, admitted that he had watched each and every film that has been released in the newly opened Cinepax multiplex.

"It provides the perfect atmosphere for film viewers. Indian movies have added real colour to the artistic building," he said.

Kamran Rehmat, a senior journalist working with Dawn News, felt that apart from entertainment, the exchange of movies would also promote India-Pakistan relations.

"I believe the exchange of movies can prove instrumental in sustainable peace between the two countries," Rehmat added.

"This is a welcome step and both countries should liberalise their policies of exchanging movies, dramas and songs... its always good to see Pakistani singers like Atif Aslam in 'Kismat Konnection' ... singing for Indian movies," Rehmat told IANS.

He said that death of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan saddened him not only because he was a great singer but because he was the one who started singing for Indian movies and was a kind of Pakistani ambassador to the Indian people.

"He was the icon of peace and love among the people of the two countries," Rehmat said.

Designed by award-winning Mesbur & Smith Architects, the Cinepax complex is the first multi-screen cinema in the twin-cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad.

"I think it's a beautiful place and movies here are very attractive. I think now the screening of Indian movies should continue," said Shifa Fahad, who watched four movies at one go with her husband.

These included Aziz Mirza's "Kismat Konnection", "Wanted", "Kung Fu Panda" and "Ramchand Pakistani", which stars Indian actress Nandita Das.

"Though it's a masala movie, I think 'Kismat Konnection' is number one among the five movies being screened here," Shifa said.

But she wasn't too happy with "baby boy" Shahid Kapur being paired opposite Vidya Balan, who she felt could even be cast as "his mother".

Like a perfect film analyst, Shifa pointed out some flaws in the movie.

"None of the playback singers' voices match that of Shahid Kapur ... and I wish I could have such a lavish lifestyle and drive a racing car like the hero does in the movie without any job and money," she remarked.

She said that Indian and Pakistani film producers could take some lessons from English movies. But she quickly admitted that Indians films, nevertheless, provide great entertainment.

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