Cinema has the remarkable power to transcend borders and cultures, connecting people through storytelling and visual artistry. In the context of the revival of Pakistani cinema, Bollywood, the Indian film industry, has played a pivotal role in 2010s. A steady influx of films contributed to assembling of new cinema chains and creation of a bigger film market in Pakistan. Unfortunately, this trend didn’t last more than decade and Pakistani cinema’s solo flight floundered before even its commercial take off.
Urri Attacks Aftermath
The aftermath of Urri attacks had Pakistani cinema as its one of the biggest affectee. The incident not only placed a sudden full stop to cross border talent exchanges but also brought cinematic exchanges to a standstill. Both the countries placed unofffocial bans of each other’s films and artists. And the current wave of right wing hindu extremism and jingoistic rhetoric fueled by both media, particularly Indian media, just adds fuel to the already engulfing fire.
Despite all the adversaries the interwoven history of Bollywood and Pakistani cinema forms the foundation of their continued relationship. Even with such intense political tensions and the separation of film industries after the independence, the cultural connection persisted. Both cinemas continued to draw inspiration from each other, with adaptations and remakes of each other’s films a commonplace. This historical association highlights the organic synergy between the two film industries.
Diversity of Talent
One of the primary reasons for Pakistani cinema’s need for Bollywood films is the diversity of content and talent exchange. Bollywood produces a wide spectrum of films, ranging from epic romances to gritty action dramas. These films will maintain a steady flow of content to the cinemas and hence keep the market alive. Who can forget the box office mayhem created by films like Dabbang, Dangal, and Sanju to name a few.
The flow of Indian films to Pakistani theater can benefit Pakistani filmmakers and actors can draw upon Bollywood’s rich storytelling and filmmaking techniques to create more captivating content for both local and international audiences. Furthermore, the exchange of talent between the two industries enhances the quality of Pakistani cinema. Bollywood boasts a deep pool of experienced actors, directors, and technicians who can collaborate with their Pakistani counterparts to elevate production standards. Such collaborations often result in unique and culturally rich projects that resonate with a global audience.
Commercial Gains for Local Distributors
Bollywood films enjoy a massive global following, including a substantial viewership in Pakistan. By showcasing Bollywood films in Pakistani cinemas, local distributors and exhibitors can tap into a large and diverse audience base. This not only bolsters revenue but also exposes Pakistani audiences to different cinematic styles and narratives which they are already watching on OTT platforms like Netflix and amazon prime so can’t the content be shown in cinemas?
Moreover, the release of Bollywood films in Pakistan can attract a broader audience. While most Pakistani films have been either experimental affairs or niche offerings Bollywood films are largely appealing to masses and a wide range of audiences. Bollywood flicks can bring the kind of crowd flow our cinemas need immediately and immensely.
The Success of Dangal
“Dangal” provides an excellent example of the market potential for Indian films in Pakistan. This Aamir Khan-starrer, based on the real-life story of wrestler Mahavir Singh Phogat and his daughters, struck a chord with Pakistani audiences. Its success demonstrated that compelling storytelling and strong performances transcend borders.
Global Impact of Bollywood
The influence of Bollywood extends far beyond Pakistan. Bollywood’s impact on international cinema revival extends far beyond Pakistan. It has served as a catalyst for the growth and recognition of cinematic traditions worldwide at many occasions. Indian films, including Bollywood, have helped expand the global market for foreign-language cinema. They pave the way for other countries to showcase their films on the international stage. Iranian cinema, known for its artistic and thought-provoking films, has gained international acclaim with the support of Bollywood-style marketing and distribution strategies. Films like “A Separation” and “The Salesman” found success at prestigious international film festivals and reached a broader audience, contributing to the revival of Iranian cinema on the global stage.
The revival of Pakistani cinema is intimately linked to the influence of Bollywood films. Historical ties, diverse content, talent exchange, and market opportunities make Bollywood an invaluable asset. As a global cinematic powerhouse, Bollywood continues to shape the landscape of world cinema and strengthen cultural bonds between nations, exemplifying the transformative potential of cinema on a global scale. Pakistani cinema has to benefit from Bollywood for its own good if it wants to come out its deep slumber.